Zynga and Facebook Dial Their Relationship Back a Notch

For the past couple of years the social network Facebook and the social gaming company Zynga have enjoyed a rather cozy relationship. Zynga games have been a substantial source of revenue for Facebook, and the game maker has relied on the network to drive millions of players to its stable of titles. It's been a good run, but with Zynga-driven Facebook revenue dropping and social gaming evolving, new agreements downgrade the companies' relationship to just friends.

As reported by Inside Social Games (hi, AJ!), after March 31, Zynga gains more flexibility in the games it can offer on its own website. Games launched on Zynga.com will no longer be required to be on Facebook as well, paving the way for real-money gambling games and other items currently not supported on the social network.

This is great for the players, as it's much easier to keep track of rewards via Zynga's site than it is on Facebook. Seriously, it's like night and day.

The downside for Zynga is that it will now be governed by the standard terms of service that other social game creators agree to when integrating Facebook with their sites. Facebook will no longer guarantee social and mobile growth targets to Zynga in exchange for continuing to invest in games for the platform.

The terms of the new agreement also grant Facebook the ability to create its own games, but that's not something the social network seems keen to do at this time.

"We're not in the business of building games and we have no plans to do so," a Facebook spokesperson said. "We're focused on being the platform where games and apps are built."

While the revised agreement opens up new avenues of growth for Zynga, the loosening of ties with Facebook could have an adverse effect of the troubled company's stock. After closing at $2.62 per share yesterday, Zynga stock is currently trading between $2.38 and $2.47.

Leveling the playing field on Facebook can only lead to good things for developers and players of social games. Perhaps one day soon we'll see some fresh names topping the Facebook most-played charts.