Thursday, March 21, 2013

(BN) Zynga Ends Requirement for Facebook Login on Web-Based Games

(Bloomberg ) Zynga Inc. (ZNGA) will let users play its Web-based games without having to provide a Facebook Inc. (FB) login, bolstering efforts to reduce its reliance on the world's largest social-networking service.

An updated version of the gaming portal, available to some visitors starting today, will let new users create an account without entering their Facebook name and password, Chief Technology Officer Cadir Lee said today in an interview.

Zynga, the largest maker of games played on Facebook, has struggled as competition has increased and users have shifted toward apps on mobile devices, away from Web-based titles. The company began planning a revamp of last year after renegotiating the terms of its agreement with Facebook, easing requirements for log-ins, payment and advertising, Lee said.

"It's a reflection of the work that we jointly undertook after discussions with Facebook," Lee said. "We both felt like there were some things that just didn't quite work about having an all-Facebook site on a non-Facebook destination."

The new login process could make it easier for Zynga to work with competing social networks including Google Inc. and Twitter Inc., Lee said.

Zynga generates revenue by selling virtual goods within its games -- for example, a gun in "Mafia Wars" or a brick oven in "ChefVille."

The company reported fourth-quarter profit and sales last month that beat analysts' estimates as it cut costs faster than demand fell for virtual goods.

The shares were little changed at $3.35 at the close in New York. The stock has jumped 42 percent this year, compared with an 8.4 percent gain in the Standard & Poor's 500 index.

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