Zynga is a world renowned company that's known for putting out some of the finest video games out for social media/mobile platforms. The company first sprouted up when it was founded in July 2007 by Mark Pincus, the CEO and Chief Product Officer of the company.
Interestingly, the company gets its name from Mark's bulldog, Zinga (notice the logo?). Zinga's name pays homage to a legendary African warrior queen named Nzingha. Zynga's main headquarters are centered in San Francisco, California, plus they have international offices/studios in Bangalore, Beijing, Dublin, Bielefeld, Germany and Toronto. Their line of games have an international flavor, thanks to he fact that they're playable in up to 19 languages and sold in 28 different currencies. Each of theur games is played in over 200 countries to date.
Bryan Pope from Zynga paid me a visit and showed me the company's slate of games that cater to casual/hardcore gamers - Midcore. We delved into these games while also talking about the rise in gaming amongst folks that are not considered your average gamer.
1. Zynga's Making A Strong Push Towards "Midcore"
Zynga has been known for creating casual games for social media websites and mobile platforms. Now the company is making a move towards a new category of video games - midcore. The official definition is as follows - Midcore games blend the depth of titles played on a PC or consoles, with the approachability and accessibility of casual games that are mobile, free-to-play and social. These games are centered on delivering games that offer a more hardcore gaming experience in bite-sized chunks.
Although they may appear simple at first glance, their deeper mechanics and addictive gameplay lead to gamers discovering their more time consuming elements. Bryan Pope made sure to point out that console gaming entails a dedicated amount of time that's usually devoted to playing such games. Midcore games entail the same hardcore elements of console/PC games, but their quicker experiences help gamers enjoy them in shorter bursts of time.
Zynga is dedicated to making the best midcore games on the market. So much so, they've brought on several great developers to work on their upcoming titles- Mark Turmell (creator of NBA Jam), John Tobias (co-creator of Mortal Kombat) and Ian Cummings (creative director on Madden Football).
2. Solstice Arena is One of Zynga's New Midcore/MOBA Titles
Bryan Pope introduced me to a mobile MOBA game (a genre I've been late to the party on) that Zynga has developed for its midcore movement - Solstice Arena. For anyone who's ever had the pleasure of playing a MOBA game, you already know how this game operates. For those not in the know, take a peek at the official details for the game below:
Fighting With Friends: Solstice Arena is all about fast-paced, 3 vs. 3 fighting on a map that encourages players to make tactical decisions. The goal, similar to many MOBA's, is simple: the first team to destroy their enemy's base wins.
Game Modes: We're launching with three game modes for new and experienced players: Single player (Solo vs. Bots), Real-time Multiplayer (Player vs. Player and Co-op vs. Bots). We use a special matchmaking and queue system that connects players based on skill, level and hero ability. Players can invite friends to play and see who's online in real time.
Speed: We like to call Solstice Arena a "Speed MOBA" because each match lasts about 5-12 minutes, a deliberate design choice that we believe transforms this genre perfectly for the demands of mobile and the average player's busy lifestyle.
No Farming: You'll also see that we playfully describe Solstice Arena as "all fighting and no farming." We've eliminated minions and farming - two staples of traditional MOBAs - in order to distill the core of Solstice Arena around team fighting and put the "Speed" in "Speed MOBA." We think this approach fits perfectly on mobile devices.
Customize Your Heroes: We're offering 10+ heroes at launch, and you'll see a few of them featured in our launch trailer above. All heroes are designed for different styles of play. Those that want to dive deep into hero customization can pursue one of three different ability paths. For those that just want to jump into the next match, we'll recommend items for each hero. We've had a lot of fun designing each hero with various skins, abilities and most of all, personalities. Look no further than Biker Brutus, and get ready for more. We'll have new heroes, new skins and new abilities giving players always something new to master.
Free to Play & Fair to Play: We want to preserve the core progression of MOBA competition, so players will never find themselves in a pay-to-win scenario. Players will need to earn those Hero upgrades, but for those that want to spend money can explore the extensive customization options, including skins and armor.
I had a great time during my first playthrough of the game. I came to understand the basics of attacking enemies, knocking their towers down when the time was right, learning when to hang back during a skirmish and purchasing the right items to upgrade my skills. Check out the official website and get a look at the game for yourself.
3. Battlestone is Zynga's Midcore/Action RPG Mobile Game
Another mobile midcore game that Bryan introduced me too was the action RPG known as Battlestone. I definitely had a great time moving around the 3D environments while hacking and slashing my way to victory. I played the iPad version and utilized my thumb action to make sure to wipe out all types of orcs and mystical elves. If your'e looking to take this midcore game for a spin, read the official description of the game below:
Swipe out Evil! Create a powerful team in this beautiful arcade action game. Collect dozens of unique fighters to drive back the evil of The Void and control the mighty forces trapped in the Battlestones. With the swipe of your finger you can deliver over-the-top attack combinations to fend off hordes of enemies. Discover and train your squad of heroes and seamlessly swap them in battle to use all of their special powers to defeat evil!
- Explore a beautiful 3D world that unfolds before you on your quest
- Touch control combat: intuitive, easy to use touching and swiping attack moves: Create combination attacks with special abilities to take down multiple enemies in a single move.
- Create dozens of heroes: Use the Battlestones you win to summon new and rare heroes with unique powers.
- Customize how you want to upgrade your hero's abilities.
- Swap heroes quickly in battle!
4. Zynga Has Four Other Midcore Games to Offer
Zynga has a couple of other midcore games that everyone should try at least once:
5. Zynga's Games Portfolio is Still Growing...
Zynga's full offering of games is full of quality titles. Check out the full list of everything the company has released thus far:
- Zynga Poker: its the world's largest online poker game; its consistently a top 10 game played on Facebook. 55 million hands of Zynga Poker are played each day and 16 trillion poker chips are won daily.
- FarmVille: it has amassed $1-billion in gross bookings.
- FarmVille 2: 8- million people play it every day.
- Words With Friends: it was named #1 Free Game of All-Time by Apple. 7.5-billion minutes are spent on Words With Friends and Scramble With Friends each month.
- Draw Something: 11-billion drawings have been drawn so far.
- Running With Friends
Zynga wants to remember - All Zynga games are: free, social, and accessible, can be played where you want them, when you want to play.
All of Zynga's games cane be played on these various platforms - iOS, Google Play (Android), Windows Phone, Zynga.com, Facebook, Google+, Google TV and Tencent.