Why Zynga Can't Go All-In on Google+

Google's (Nasdaq: GOOG  ) had a big week so far. Early Monday, the company announced a $12.5 billion acquisition of Motorola Mobility (NYSE: MMI  ) . Shortly after, the company made good on rumors that it would add games to its Google+ social network.

G+ gamers don't have many options yet. Among the list are Rovio's popular pork destroyer, Angry Birds, and Zynga's Texas Hold 'Em Poker. Interestingly, neither G+ game offered me option of logging in with the account I've used to play previously -- the iPhone app in the case of Angry Birds and Facebook in the case of Zynga Poker. Each platform version acts as a distinct game.

Google can't be happy about this. Nor can Zynga, nor Rovio. Why should they be? Angry Birds is annoying enough to go through once. I'd rather sit through a Pauly Shore movie marathon than start over on a new platform.

How high the fence goes is anyone's guess, but the design may be worse news for Zynga than for Rovio. The Angry Birds creator has long been working on a way to sync game saves across devices and platforms. Facebook, on the other hand, last month updated its terms for software developers. All signs point to prohibiting syncing of any kind.

"Apps on Facebook may not integrate, link to, promote, distribute, or redirect to any app on any other competing social platform," reads the revised text. (Thanks to TechCrunch and the blog  Vancouver Social Games for keeping a close watch on The Social Network's developer policies.)

"May not integrate"? Facebook may as well say, "Stay here and play … because we aren't going to let you take your progress to another platform."

You might say Facebook is proving itself similar to the Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT  ) of old. Or, more recently, Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL  ) , which is encouraging developers to forgo cross-platform coding tools, making it more difficult to write apps for platforms other than iOS. Either way, it looks like fear and loathing over loss of control. Don't expect gamers to stand for it.

Do you agree? Disagree? Weigh in using the comments box below. And if you're in the mood for more stock ideas, try this free video. You'll walk away with a better understanding of a new computing revolution that's reshaping industries as well as a winning pick from our Motley Fool Rule Breakers scorecard. Start watching now -- it's 100% free.

Fool contributorTim Beyers is a member of theMotley Fool Rule Breakers stock-picking team. He owned shares of Apple and Google at the time of publication. Check out Tim'sportfolio holdings andFoolish writings, or connect with him on Google+ or Twitter, where he goes by @milehighfool. You can also get his insightsdelivered directly to your RSS reader.

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  • Report this Comment On August 17, 2011, at 11:33 PM, momus2 wrote:

    I believe there could be a simple and legal way around the Facebook restriction.

    At any point of a game like Angry Birds, they can provide a unique code allowing to re-enter the game at the same level. The codes should stay active for a while. So if a gamer is at the level-7 say, he can re-enter at the level-7, but also if he wants at an earlier copy/saved level-5 or whatever codes he saved.

    As long as the code is active it could be shared with other people! So this should pass the test of the "game feature" not of integration to other platforms.

    Even though effectively it would be platform independent.

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