It’s easy to picture Zynga as riding on some sort of money train, and recently, they started letting third-party developers board that train as well, courtesy of their Zynga Platform partner program. Allowing partners to put their games on Zynga.com, the program seems like a good way for devs to get increased visibility and taste a little more cash themselves.
That certainly seems to be the case for Mob Science, one of the first partners announced for the Zynga Platform – but not in the way you might expect. This extra capital isn’t coming from a bump in virtual goods sales – their games aren’t even on Zynga.com yet. Instead, this money is coming from investors who took notice of their newfound Zynga association.
This morning Mob Science announced that it has received $1 million in seed fuding from Joyent CEO David Young, Gamespy Industries founder Mark Surfas, and other angel investors.
“We were thrilled to partner with Zynga and are really honored to have attracted the support of such remarkable investors,” said Michael Witz, founder and CEO of Mob Science. “Like us, our investors believe that the launch of the Zynga Platform is as momentous an event as when Facebook first launched its own third-party platform.”
When we spoke with Witz earlier this month, he let us know a bit about their upcoming game set to hit Zynga.com, KingWorld, which the company is describing as a “mid-core role playing game.” As excited as he was then, Witz seems even more ready to sing its praises today.
“Our new game is far and away our best and most ambitious game yet, and we look forward to leveraging Zynga’s vast distribution channels and viral capabilities to get it into the hands of millions of gamers. You could say that our goal is to be the ‘Zynga’ of the Zynga Platform.”
It’s a lofty goal, but it’s one Mob Science’s new investors think might just be within reach. “It is clear that they create fantastic consumer gaming experiences, and that they know how to engage with their users and get them to keep coming back,” says Joyent co-founder David Young, who has now joined Mob Science’s board of directors as a result of the funding. “But what really impressed us was their vision for tapping into the Zynga Platform and really pushing the envelope for what social games can be.”
Gamespy’s founder Mark Surfas echoed these sentiments: ““We are seeing a titanic shift in the gaming industry in terms of how and where games are played and distributed, and the launch of the Zynga Platform represents a major opportunity for game developers. I strongly believe in Mob Science’s ability to grow its games via the Zynga Platform and am proud to support their goals.”
The new funds will be used to “invest more aggressively in its product development and to hire key talent including game designers, product managers, engineers and other important positions,” according to this morning’s press release. This is probably a good choice, considering MobScience is still a small 10 person team. If the potential for expansion is as rich as their investors seem to think, they’re probably going to want to bring a few news faces on board to help with the possible growth.
As great as this news is for MobScience, there’s a bigger question at play here. Is partnership in the Zynga Platform like getting a blessing from the pope in terms of angel investment? Are they the cool kid in the cafeteria and an invitation to their lunch table instantly makes you cool too?
Looks like we’ll have to wait and see if similar announcements come from Row Sham Bow and Sava Transmedia over the next few weeks, the other companies first announced in the Zynga Platform partnership program. If they do, then it looks like getting an early spot on Zynga.com is about to become a lot more valuable.