If you’ve been itching to play sports games developed by social gaming giant Zynga, they may actually be closer to launch than you think.
In the past 12 months, the company has made moves indicating social sports games may be under development, like the hiring of EA Sports Creative Director Mark Turmell, who was also the lead designer of NFL Blitz (picture above) while he was at Midway.
Zynga’s latest move: acquiring the domain name ZyngaSports.com.
I did a little domain sleuthing today and found that the domain ZyngaSports.com (Whois) was transferred this week to the intellectual property law firm, Keats McFarland & Wilson, who of course acts as Zynga’s attorneys in IP matters such as that of the Blingville dispute.
So which sports game will be first out of the gate?
It’s anyone’s guess, but if I had to pick it would be Zynga Football.
And yes, Zynga owns ZyngaFootball.com, ZyngaFootball.net, and even ZyngaFootball.org.
It acquired those web addresses in April 2010 with the help of internet brand protection company MarkMonitor, along with over 500 domains based on existing and possibly future games.
The names which were transferred over a two day span in April, are too many to list here in this post, but included domains like animalvillegame.com, bountyville.com, casinoblitzgame.com, coasterville.net, crimevillegame.com, friendempires.com, hotelvillegame.com, ranchville.info, zyngadopewars.com, zyngadragonwars.com, zyngaglamourlife.com, and of course, zyngafootball.com.
While the imminent launch of Zynga Sports is purely speculation, it looks like a very good possibility.
Though not an exhaustive list, you can see hundreds of the domains Zynga acquired in April 2010 here.
Back in late 2009, the game publisher went on a trademarking spree as pointed out by Games.com.
Libe Goad, wrote: “Zynga, the social game publisher responsible for FarmVille, PetVille, Mafia Wars and more, went on a trademarking spree during the month of December, securing 21 names for potential new games. Of course, many of the names follow the end with ‘ville,’ including TreasureVille, FrontierVille, CrimeVille and AnimalVille.”
The complete list of trademarks (which can viewed easily over at Trademarkia) included: Pet Hospital, Poker Blitz, Safari World, Treasureville, Zoo city, zoo island, mafia world, hotelville, hotel world, hospital world, hospitalville, frontierville, frontier world, frontier, crimeville, crime world, casino world, casino blitz, bountyville, animal world and animalville.
What are your predictions for Zygna game titles in 2011?
Will the game developer go with a “ville” name? A “world” name?
Is the company somehow behind the recent buys of Songville.com, Dreamville.com, or Slotsville.com on Sedo? Or maybe RestaurantWorld.com (which was purchased for nearly $8,000 in September)?
The company has plenty of names to choose from, but who owns those names is the question. As I wrote about before, though Zynga might use a certain title for a game, it doesn’t always own the domain (even after launching the game).
Petville.com was launched in 2009 by Zynga, and the company acquired the domain name Petville.com from its previous owners for an undisclosed amount. Visit Petville.com, and a message at the top of the site reads: ‘the content that was previously found at petville.com can now be found at ipawz.com’.
Though Zynga owns Petville.com, Farmville.com and other ville domain names, it doesn’t own Fishville.com – which saw a spike in traffic according to Compete when the site launched in November 2009. It appears Zynga and the owners of Fishville.com couldn’t come to an agreement, but Zynga is doing just fine – its Fishville game owns nearly all the top spots on Google, and the company does own the .net which it uses for the game’s home page.