Zynga, the San Francisco-based online and mobile game developer best known for FarmVille and CSR Racing series, has announced plans to get into non-fungible tokens (NFTs) and blockchain-based gaming among other expansion plans in the Web3 space. The game developer’s plans for blockchain-based gaming come four months after the firm hired its vice president of blockchain gaming Matt Wolf in November of 2021. Zynga is also said to be looking at expanding its blockchain staff, currently at 15, to about 100 by the end of the year.
Speaking about the firm’s NFT-based gaming plans with Axios, Matt Wolf said that Zynga’s planned blockchain-based games will be completely new games as it “doesn’t make sense” to immediately start adding NFTs to existing games like FarmVille.
He said players can expect the new games to look like Mafia Wars, a now-discontinued social media game in which players took on the role of gangsters and worked to build their own crime family.
Wolf has made it clear that the company’s game developers will always have the option to opt-in and out of any NFT plans — a stance that’s likely a lesson from internal protests against the technology at other gaming companies — EA and Ubisoft.
That said, despite the criticism, Wolf sees NFT and blockchain technology as the obvious next step in Zynga’s evolution with tokenised systems creating new and more realistic forms of value, ownership and wealth creation for gamers.
“By creating an integrated experience that empowers players to own their gaming journey, our goal is to expand Zynga’s audience reach and increase engagement and retention,” he added.
Looking at the larger picture of where tokenised systems lie among gaming communities, Zynga appears to be taking a more aggressive step in the blockchain-based gaming sector than many other gaming companies as cryptocurrency-related features have often drawn backlash from enraged gamers. Some players who have added NFTs to their gaming experience believe that companies are simply looking for new ways to squeeze money out of their customers.