Zynga gets more social, more violent

The company said 'Mafia Wars 2' is its edgiest game yet

By , IDG News Service |  Internet

Zynga didn't say when the Project Z website will launch, but it will link to Facebook via Facebook Connect, and people will be able to start a game on Facebook and complete it at the Project Z site, or vice versa, said John Schappert, Zynga's chief operating officer.

It encouraged enthusiasts to reserve their username -- or "zTag" -- for the new website now on Zynga's website.

Zynga is in the business of "big data," said CTO Cadir Lee, meaning it's constantly wading through vast quantities of information about its customers, to understand their behavior. It does this partly to match players with similar skill levels, in games like "Words with Friends," he said.

The company has been known to deploy 1,000 servers in a single week to support new, fast-growing games, he said.

Zynga, which said earlier this year it will file for a public stock offering, is still the top maker of games on Facebook. It has almost 77 million monthly active users for CityVille, although that is down from an all-time high of 111 million, according to AppData.

FarmVille has about 35 million monthly users, also down significantly from its all-time high. But "Adventure World," which went live only last month, is already the number-three game, AppWorld says, with 35.6 million monthly users.

James Niccolai covers data centers and general technology news for IDG News Service. Follow James on Twitter at @jniccolai. James's e-mail address is james_niccolai@idg.com

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