“Project Z,” Zynga’s Independent Gaming Network, Announced Today

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We’re here at the Zynga Unleashed event in San Francisco this morning and one product we hear they’re launching, among others, is “Zynga Live” — their long-awaited platform where people can play games without going through Facebook or another social network partner. The name may have been changed since then, but the concept, an independent gaming network, is still the same.

Details are still sparse, but I’m assuming that the difference between this and something like Farmville.com is that Zynga Live would allow access to multiple gaming titles, though it’s still unclear what the exclusivity arrangements are around Zynga’s various titles.

We wrote about Zynga Live in 2010 when Zynga’s relationship with Facebook nearly reached a boiling point over Facebook’s demands for a 30% cut of all of Zynga’s Facebook game revenue.

The question remains as to just how much Zynga’s gaming network will rely on Facebook’s social graph. I’m sure we’ll hear more at the event, stay tuned.

Update: Zynga CEO Mark Pincus confirms. It’s called Project Z, and it’s a part of Zynga’s “direct-to-consumer” strategy — i.e. it’s the company’s first to direct-to-consumer product.  From what I’m hearing it will be its own website separate from Facebook, but you will still need a Facebook account to play the games. Zynga is only revealing that it will utilize Facebook Connect and will be interoperable so that you can start a game on Facebook and resume play at the same point somewhere else.

While the service is not yet available on a browser, Zynga did let players reserve their Project Z “ZTags,” or their universal avatars across all Zynga games at Zynga.com.

Image via: Rafe