Zynga plus Yahoo equals life after Facebook

Multimillions online gaming giant Zynga inks a deal to bring its growing games library to Yahoo users.

It looks like Zynga, the casual online games developer known for its wildly popular farm simulations, ticking off Facebook, and alleged "lead generation" scams just added another lifeline to its list of audience-expanding deals by cozying up to Yahoo.

Talk about sweet deals, the move would put Zynga's games in front of Yahoo's entire 600 million user base.

TechCrunch broke the story but says details are sparse, that the games won't be available for several months, and that no one knows which games we're talking about yet. That said, look for Farmville (unless there's an exclusivity deal with Facebook, which I'm betting there isn't) and other popular titles like Mafia Wars.

On Yahoo's front page? Integrated with its services? Try both. Yahoo plans to make Zynga's games available through Yahoo Mail, Yahoo Messenger, its casual-angled Yahoo Games portal, and probably the homepage, too. Looks for the Yahoo's US version to go first, with an international followup.

Facebook and Zynga announced last week that they were forging a five-year "strategic relationship." This, after rumors that Zynga was planning to breakup with the popular social networking service and forge its own, dubbed 'Zynga Live'. The kiss-and-make-up deal expanded the use of "Facebook Credits" in Zynga games, a sticking point in reportedly "intense" prior negotiations. Zynga apparently balked at Facebook request for 30 percent of credit revenues. According to TechCrunch, Zynga was able to negotiate a better deal and "walked away pleased with the deal," though Zynga Live is probably still in ready-just-in-case mode.

"Pleased" may turn out to be an understatement, if Zynga walked away without a Facebook exclusivity games clause.

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Matt Peckham

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