Zynga announces new games and Zynga Direct service

Social game developer and publisher Zynga held a big press event today in its new offices in San Francisco. The company took the opportunity to not only announce a number of new games but, as Venture Beat reports, also revealed plans for Zynga Direct, a new social networking service that will allow the company to offer a more direct connection to its gamers rather than going through Facebook.

Zynga gets the majority of its revenues via its Facebook-based games but while this relationship has been highly profitable, Facebook still gets 30 percent of all of the micro-transaction revenue that Zynga generates via its games. While details are still sparse, it sounds like Zynga Direct will be more of a social network for Zynga gamers than a full distribution platform. Zynga Direct, which is called "Project Z" on Zynga's official blog site, is scheduled to launch in the near future. Zynga is letting its gamers reserve their name for Zynga Direct ahead of the launch on its official site.

Aside from Zynga Direct, the company announced a number of new games at its press event. Among them is the latest game in the "Ville" series, CastleVille. This game is set in a fantasy-themed medieval world with music that comes from a full 75 piece orchestra and full choir. No release date for CastleVille was announced. Also revealed today was Hidden Chronicles, which is Zynga's first entry in the hidden objects game genre. Players can find thousands of hidden items in the game and you can even hide your own gifts on the game board of your friends. In addition, Zynga announced that three games, Zynga Poker Mobile Web, Words With Friends and Farmville Express, will be launched on Zynga's HTML5 platform.

Zynga officially launched its newest Facebook game, the sequel Mafia Wars 2, on Monday. Zynga also announced today that the game is also available for people who have signed up to use the Google+ social network

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