Was it selected because of Zynga’s departure from Facebook?

Facebook has officially launched its Mobile Games Publishing Pilot Program that aims to help small-time social media game publishers become international brands in exchange for a cut of their revenues. Under the program, chosen developers will get the chance to collaborate with Facebook when it comes to the development and distribution of their games. They will also be given analytics tools in order to fully evaluate the success of their games. One of the most notable titles selected by Facebook was Live Holdem, a poker game developed by Dragonplay. 

Live Holdem, which is also known as Dragonplay Poker, has at least one million daily users according to Facebook. The game is also the number one social poker game on Android according to digital news provider Talk Android. Compared to Zynga’s poker titles, Live Holdem is not that big but the social networking site believes that it is getting there. Unlike the games at partypoker, Live Holdem doesn’t offer any cash prizes or seats at major poker events. What it brings to social gamers is competitive gaming since it is played by real people, not computer bots. The game has two types of game modes: the first ones is the shootout tournament that requires a player to beat all of his/her opponents to advance to the next round; and the second mode is the Sit-and-go wherein players compete in a poker table for only one chance—once you are knocked out of the table, there’s no more chance for you to come back. Live Holdem attracts a great number of visitors because of its private online/offline messaging system and the exclusive Platinum Zone, where top-tier players on the leaderboard. Other features that the Dragonplay boasts are personal avatars, ring games, free daily gold, and lottery draw. 

There is some mystery behind Live Holdem’s selection. The game is pretty much like the Texas Holdem offered by Zynga, one of the biggest social media game publishers that decided to water down its ties with Facebook. Is the social networking site worried about Zynga’s decision to walk away from Facebook’s arms? Does it think that it will be able to get back the million Zynga Poker users by adopting Live Holdem? 

In an earlier press release, Facebook insisted that the social media giant is unfazed by Zynga’s absence. In fact, in its latest financial report—months after Zynga decided to tone down its dependence on it—Facebook posted a 12% growth collected from gaming revenues. Furthermore, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said that other companies are starting to fill the void Zynga has left. 

"With the exception of our largest partner, Zynga, whose growth hasn't been as awesome as everyone had hoped, the rest of the community is actually growing quite well and is quite healthy," Zuckerberg told the media. 

Facebook and Zynga’s sour relationship is not the issue here anymore. The focus is now on independent game developers who are trying to become international brands. Facebook knows well which games should stay under its care. Once Facebook’s efforts in strengthening partnerships with other gaming companies, one thing is going to happen for sure: Zynga Poker won’t be missed in the social gaming world.