It was only two weeks ago that Zynga gave us a peek at its new push into social mobile gaming, with its new release of the hangman-inspired, Hanging With Friends. The company looks like it is now trying to keep the ball rolling, and rolling farther than it has ever gone as part of its global expansion. Today it is launching a new edition of its popular CityVille game franchise, CityVille Hometown. The new twist here is that it marks the first time that Zynga will be releasing a mobile game not only in English but also in French, Italian, German and Spanish.
As with other Zynga mobile games, it will first be launching on the iOS platform for iPhone, iPad and iPod devices, with the first rollouts in the U.S. and Canada today and other markets in the coming weeks.
The download is free, but users need to pay for different virtual resources and “energy” to build and populate their communities. One feature new to this CityVille variant will be the ability to “choose and name” citizens who help them in different tasks in the game.
As with Zynga’s other mobile games, CityVille Hometown lets users connect with their Facebook friends to play along with them. What’s not clear, though, is whether there will eventually also be a Facebook edition of this game that will let users swap from one platform (PC) to another (mobile or tablet).
Given that there are already developers out there who have made unofficial CityVille apps like CityVille Hero — Zynga taking the more of its franchises mobile is somewhat overdue.
But perhaps more importantly, giving CityVille more localized language support will finally start to test the waters for the company to see how potentially big their market for mobile social games can really get.
There is some promise in certain markets, perhaps more than others. Statistics from the app analytics company Flurry found that English consumers used mobile apps the most; French mobile users had the highest level of engagement in mobile games in Europe; and Italy liked social networking the best.