Facebook and Zynga: friends with reduced benefits?

Zynga and Facebook on Thursday updated their relationship status. They’re moving away from their co-dependency, and also from exclusivity — mostly on Zynga’s part. The San Francisco company makes social games that are mostly played on Facebook, and the social network relies on revenue (12 percent of its total revenue last year) from the paying customers of those games.

The Merc’s Peter Delevett points out that both companies had in recent months taken steps to reduce their reliance on each other, so the latest move is no big surprise. And analysts such as Michael Pachter of Wedbush Securities don’t necessarily see it as bad for Zynga: “Zynga now has an incentive to expand the reach of its most popular social games beyond Facebook and Zynga.com and be able to offer additional payment options, likely resulting in additional payers who are not Facebook users,” he said, according to the Wall Street Journal.

However, one of the terms that has changed is that Facebook could, if it wants, develop its own games — potentially becoming a Zynga competitor. The Menlo Park company reportedly says it has no plans to make its own games at this point.

Still, Zynga is seeing a sell-off of its shares today. They were down about 6.5 percent to $2.45 as of this post. The all-time closing low of shares of Zynga, which went public about a year ago, is $2.10, which it reached in October.



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