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Zynga strikes out beyond Facebook; now you can play on Zynga.com

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By Noel Young | Correspondent

March 2, 2012 | 3 min read

Instead of relying on Facebook, which until now has been the primary playing field for Zynga games, players are to be able to access Zynga's 's popular offerings on Zynga.com.

Play now . . . on the Zynga website

Zynga said a "beta," version of what it calls the Zynga Platform, will "in a few days" allow customers to play five titles—"CityVille," "Hidden Chronicles," "Zynga Poker," "CastleVille" and "Words With Friends"—from its website.

San Francisco-based Zynga said more of its games will become available on the website over time.

Mark Pincus, Zynga's chief executive, said, "We built Zynga.com to give our players more ways to connect with each other and play great social games, whether built by Zynga or other talented developers."

He also reaffirmed his devotion to Facebook, who he said "In 2007 changed the game with their courageous move to open their platform to us all.

" We're proud to be a part of Facebook's ecosystem and we built Zynga.com to complement their pervasive social graph. Zynga.com will be one of the first sites completely integrated with Facebook which has become the world’s social dial-tone."

Zynga's move , as Facebook's initial public offering nears, presents a way to differentiate Zynga's products from Facebook, said the Wall Street Journal.

"The move could also threaten some of Facebook's revenue stream," said the WSJ. "The social network has said that Zynga accounted for about 12% of its $3.7 billion in revenue last year. "

Offering games directly will allow Zynga to interact with customers without relying on Facebook's messaging system - which include notices from competitors' games.

Gamers will also be able to interact with one another without becoming "friends" on Facebook.

Zynga said they would also be creating a service called zFriends, connecting gamers "with more people, beyond your Facebook friends." A live chat system will allow people to swap strategies and send gifts.

Edward Williams, an analyst at BMO Capital Markets, told the WSJ the move was likely a first step for the gaming company to become less reliant on Facebook.

"Zynga building out its own platform is key to its own success," he said.

Facebook didn't immediately comment.

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