Zynga is to create a Chinese version of its CityVille game, despite its platform of choice, Facebook, being blocked in the territory. The game will be played via internet portal Tencent instead of Facebook, where most of its games are played, but which is blocked in China.
Zynga recently filed for a much anticipated IPO but has been criticized for being too dependent on Facebook, its primary distribution platform, which accounts for the overwhelming majority of the company’s users and revenues.
By entering China, Zynga can demonstrate that it is diversifying into foreign markets that have social gaming communities not dependent on Facebook.
According to reports, the new game will be distributed through Tencent’s Pengyou, a social networking platform that was only launched in the past year and has more than 100 million active accounts.
After a soft launch on Pengyou it is very likely that Tencent will eventually offer it to users on its primary gaming platform, Qzone, which has over 500 million active accounts.
The new localised version of the game will be called Zynga City, and is being developed by members of Zynga’s Beijing office.