ZyngaCocos2D.com Domain Registered

On May 13, 2011, in cocos2d, by Steffen Itterheim


Appears to have hand registered the domain names ZyngaCocos.com and ZyngaCocos2D.com

It’s from a DotWeekly Discoveries post which was reported by reader indy on my last blog post Zynga and Open Source.

According to WhoIs the domain was registered by MarktMonitor, a company that protects brands and manages domains for large companies, effectively hiding who truly registered the domain. But it’s hard to imagine that anyone but Zynga would register such a domain name.

What does that tell us?

Not much at the moment. People and companies register domains all the time. However, if this domain was indeed registered by Zynga, it at least expresses intent to establish a website or even a brand labelled ZyngaCocos respectively ZyngaCocos2D.

We know that Ricardo is the trademark owner of “Cocos2D” and there has been a registration certificate issued on April 12th, 2011:

Zynga acquired “certain assets of SapusMedia”, that could mean they also acquired the trademark. If so, that means they could exert control over all ports of Cocos2D – either the developers agree to certain terms in order to continue using the trademark, or they will have to remove all trademarks of Cocos2D and rebrand their engines. Which I don’t think they’ll do because a behavior like that would create lots of negative responses and bad PR.

Rebranding Cocos2D?

Given the new domain registration, I believe it is more likely that they simply plan to re-brand Cocos2D (for iPhone) as their own: ZyngaCocos(2D).

I’m sure that some of you will immediately suspect this to become a commercial version of Cocos2D for iPhone but unless they get permission from all contributors, they can’t change the license or would have to remove the code from all contributors who don’t permit them to use their code under a new license. If they do plan to make a commercial version of Cocos2D they would have to essentially rewrite the engine. Or buy out the contributors as well. But it’s not very likely because it would be a difficult process and selling a game engine is not very lucrative – in relation to Zynga’s cash flow of course.

If it is going to be just a simple rebranding of the cocos2d-iphone engine, I’m a bit confused by what they said in the initial announcement after having hired Ricardo and Rolando. They ascertained that the cocos2d-iphone.org website and community will remain independent and administered by Ricardo as he’s done in the past. So that leads me to believe that if there’s a ZyngaCocos2D, it’ll be somehow different and independent from cocos2d-iphone. Unless that was only said to avoid a negative first reaction from the community, and to keep us in the dark.

But I find it hard to imagine that Ricardo would give up his baby only to see it slowly die or let go of it entirely. Now, if you consider Ricardo’s strong connection with cocos2d-iphone and the open source movement and his integrity, I don’t expect a commercial version but one that is open source. And I don’t expect a slowly rotting public version of the cocos2d-iphone engine either, unless ZyngaCocos2D is somehow different from cocos2d-iphone.

I’m really interested now what they’re planning to do. There’s been very little information (in fact: none) revealed about what the future of cocos2d-iphone will look like, and I don’t expect any answers (not even from Ricardo & Rolando) until Zynga make another press release. This leads me to believe there’s only two options:

  1. Something big will happen, and they want to make sure it’s going to be a big bang announcement. Eg Zynga indeed making a commitment to open source game engine development.
  2. We won’t like the news, or there really aren’t any, so they’d rather not stir up a fuzz or create false expectations.

I think I’m going with #1 for the time being while expecting the worst. What do you think is going to happen?

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