Like many other companies, Zynga is biding its time until real money online and mobile gambling games are legalized in the United States. But by looking at the games Zynga has already introduced in places like the United Kingdom, we can get a pretty good idea of what American players can look forward to when the social gaming giant is able to roll them out on this side of the Atlantic.
The company is currently offering two real-money games, ZyngaPlusPoker and ZyngaPlusCasino, to players in the UK. As the names suggest, the former is devoted strictly to poker, including ring games and tournament play, while the latter features online slots and table games like blackjack, roulette and craps. A single account can be used to play both games, and a variety of methods can be used to deposit funds to make wagers. Both games also have a play money option to allow players to test the waters before committing money, which is a pretty standard feature for online gambling sites.
Zynga has partnered with bwin.party to create both titles, relying on its existing expertise in the competitive online gambling industry. One of the lessons that seems to have already been learned is to make the games accessible in as many ways as possible. To that end, ZyngaPlusCasino has some games that can be played within a web browser, as well as others – mostly games that are more graphically intensive – that require a software download. If all goes according to plan, the Zynga Plus games will be available on Facebook and mobile devices later in the year.
Another thing Zynga already appears to understand is that real-money gambling games can’t be too radically different from what’s already on the market because of the risk of scaring off existing players who already have a certain comfort level. Thus, you’ll see some of Zynga’s trademark themes and visual flourishes in the Zynga Plus titles, but nothing too outrageous in terms of interface or overall design. Chat and other social features are there, which is to be expected. If Zynga knows anything, it’s how to get people to interact.
Early reviews suggest that the games have some bugs that need to be worked out, but the good news for people in the US. is that those will certainly be addressed before the American market is officially opened up. Zynga will have incredible amounts of competition in this space, so it needs to be sure to put it’s best foot forward right from the start, and the Zynga Plus games do look promising. Some people will view the company’s foray into real money gambling with excitement, others with annoyance, but one thing is certain: it’s guaranteed to be interesting.