Zynga launched a localized version of its popular Zynga Poker in Hong Kong and Taiwan this week. This new version of the game, called Zynga Texas Poker, is available on Facebook, and while the social network is still banned in most of mainland China, CEO Mark Pincus says this game will give Zynga more access to a huge social gaming audience.
"We are excited to bring poker to Hong Kong and Taiwan and connect local players to the nearly 30 million people around the world who are already active on Zynga Poker," says Pincus.
And how do they expect to do that? By enticing new players with free chips and cold hard cash. Each newbie from Taiwan and Hong Kong will be welcomed with 8,888 free poker chips and the chance to win $880,000 Taiwanese dollars. Eight is a lucky number in Chinese culture, so this is a clear attempt to resonate with a new audience beyond translation.
This new poker game, in addition to Zynga's purchase of Beijing-based XPD Media and recent entry into Japan with help of Softbank, shows that the social gaming giant is serious about finding new players in other parts of the world.
Why should you care? Well, while Zynga is reaching out internationally, that also opens the possibility that we'll see more international social games make their way to us. That might grant us access to a new breed of games, as in name brands that we've been playing on other plaftorms for years. Yup, we're talking to you Square Enix -- you know you're itching to release Final Fantasy on Facebook. If you do that, we're willing to bet that the odds are stacked in your favor.