Farmville’s Zynga unveils intentions to launch blockchain-based games

Zynga, best known for its FarmVille and CSR Racing series, has revealed ambitions to create its first blockchain and NFT-based games sometime this year.

Last year, the billion-dollar game studio caused quite a stir in the crypto world by naming 30-year gaming industry veteran Matt Wolf as Vice President of Blockchain Gaming to oversee the company’s drive into the booming market.

Zynga has also unveiled plans to expand its current blockchain gaming team from 15 to up to 100 personnel by the end of this year.

“It’s a studio,” Wolf told Axios, adding that the organization is looking for senior positions such as creative director and “tokenomics designer.”

Plans ahead

Partnerships and acquisitions are part of the team’s expansion goals, which will keep Zynga’s position as a frequent purchaser of game firms.

“Things are really frothy right now,” Wolf stated. “So we’re looking at the cycle and we’re figuring out where we want to jump in, but we definitely have feelers out.”

The initial announcement of Zynga’s NFT plans last year fueled anticipation that the company’s flagship games Farmville or Words with Friends would feature NFTs. Wolf, on the other hand, claims that the present strategy is to segregate its NFT game ideas from its main series, noting possible player confusion.

The firm may also soon be acquired by Take-Two Interactive, the publisher of Grand Theft Auto, who publicly disclosed a $12.7 billion dollar acquisition deal slated to conclude in the first quarter of 2023.

Wolf told Axios that subsequent blockchain-based games will be whole new titles since it “doesn’t make sense” to start incorporating NFTs into existing games like FarmVille right now.

He stated that the new games will resemble Mafia Wars, a now-discontinued social media game in which participants played the role of gangsters and attempted to build up their crime syndicate.

Criticisms from players

Zynga has entered the sometimes-contentious blockchain-based gaming business more aggressively than many other conventional gaming companies. Hesitation has been a common factor among gaming studios, as cryptocurrency-related features have frequently elicited a response from disgruntled gamers.

Some players who have had NFTs integrated into their gaming experience believe that firms are simply searching for new ways to extract money from their users.

Wolf has stated unequivocally that the company’s game developers will always have the ability to opt in or out of any NFT plans, a value he appears to have learned after watching internal objections against the technology at competitors EA and Ubisoft.

Necessary step to jump into NFT

Regardless of the complaints, Wolf regards NFTs and blockchain technology as the necessary next stage in Zynga’s progression, with tokenized systems providing new and more realistic forms of value, possession, and wealth creation for gamers.

“By creating an integrated experience that enables players to become owners in their gaming journey, our goal is to expand Zynga’s audience reach and drive stronger engagement and retention,” he explained.

Wolf told the New York Times that he is well aware of the challenges that NFT-based games face: “It really is all about community… we believe in giving people the opportunity to Play-to-Earn.”

Aside from developing games, Wolf intends to bring together leaders from both established and emerging gaming companies to join a blockchain gaming council to address industry concerns.