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


Google's (NAS: GOOG) had a big week so far. Early Monday, the company announced a $12.5 billion acquisition of Motorola Mobility (NYS: 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 (NAS: MSFT) of old. Or, more recently, Apple (NAS: 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.

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At the time thisarticle was published Fool contributorTim Beyersis a member of theMotley Fool Rule Breakersstock-picking team. He owned shares of Apple and Google at the time of publication. Check out Tim'sportfolio holdingsandFoolish writings, or connect with him onGoogle+or Twitter, where he goes by@milehighfool. You can also get his insightsdelivered directly to your RSS reader.The Motley Fool owns shares of Google, Microsoft, and Apple.Motley Fool newsletter serviceshave recommended buying shares of Microsoft, Google, and Apple and creating bull call spread positions in Apple. Try any of our Foolish newsletter servicesfree for 30 days. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe thatconsidering a diverse range of insightsmakes us better investors. The Motley Fool has adisclosure policy.

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Originally published