While Zynga may have won the early social gaming wars, investments in Facebook gaming haven’t totally dried up.
In fact, some startups are hoping that Zynga will end up being more of a friend than foe. That’s exactly what Mob Science is doing in taking $1 million in seed funding to build games tied to Zynga’s new platform and push into supporting third-party games.
Mob Science, which is based just north of San Diego, has made games like inFamous Anarchy, Coffee Bar, Snowball Fight and Willy’s Sweet Shop. They’re relatively small and none have more than 20,000 monthly active users, according to Facebook app tracking service AppData.
But Mob Science is using the cash to focus on a mid-core RPG and hire game designers, product managers and engineers. The Zynga partnership should effectively allow Mob Science to outsource marketing so that the startup can focus on making actual games. On top of having access to Zynga’s 240 million monthly active users, Mob Science gets access to back-end technology, analytics and other viral channels from the gaming giant.
After years of creating its own games, Zynga is trying to break into supporting other studios’ games so that it isn’t as vulnerable to the hits-driven nature of the business. The company launched a destination site for casual games that incorporates Facebook Credits a few weeks ago and it hopes to include third-party titles.
With the round, Joyent co-founder David Young joins Mob Science’s board. The other angels include GameSpy Industries founder Mark Surfas, Joyent chief technology officer Jason Hoffman, Joyent’s executive vice president of corporate development Brian Brown and Steve Tuck, who is the general manager of Joyent Cloud at Joyent.