FarmVille game developer opens studio in India

The new studio is the company's largest outside the U.S.

Zynga, the gaming company behind the popular FarmVille app on Facebook, has set up a studio in India to develop games for global markets, a company executive said on Thursday.

The new "Studio-1" is the largest Zynga studio outside the U.S., and has come about a year after Zynga set up a development center in Bangalore.

The studio will develop new features for about eight current games from Zynga including Vampire Wars, YoVille and FishVille, said Shan Kadavil, the company's country manager for India.

In the social gaming market, new features and creative themes have to be added on a weekly basis, Kadavil said.

The studio will take full ownership from a profit and loss standpoint for the eight games, taking responsibility for the conceptualization of new features, development and online marketing, Kadavil added. Down the line the studio may conceptualize and develop entirely new games, he said.

The existing development center in India has focused on developing infrastructure and key technologies required to support the growing number users of the social gaming company.

The center has for example been involved in the development of Membase, an open source database management system, optimized for storing data behind interactive Web applications.

Zynga has 100 people at the development center and the studio, which could be doubled by the end of this year, Kadavil said.

Zynga has also been making some moves in the Indian market, including selling game cards through retail outlets, and arranging meetings of fans of its games. The game cards, which can be used to pay for virtual goods in Zynga games, are expected to help to give a boost to these purchases, as credit cards were not found to be very popular for this purpose in India, Kadavil said.

The company said earlier this month that it arranged with Asian payment services provider MOL AccessPortal Berhad to launch Zynga Game Cards in Asia to provide an easy way for players to pay for virtual goods. Zynga Game Cards will be available for purchase in more than 500,000 outlets in Malaysia, India, Indonesia, Philippines, Singapore and Thailand, it said.

More than 1.5 million people in India play Zynga games daily, Kadavil said.

John Ribeiro covers outsourcing and general technology breaking news from India for The IDG News Service. Follow John on Twitter at @Johnribeiro. John's e-mail address is john_ribeiro@idg.com

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