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Rival gaming networks compete for developer attention

Social Gaming Network and Zynga, which specialize in games for social-networking sites, announce developer platform launches the same day. P.S., they don't like each other.

The Social Gaming Network, which operates gaming applications like Warbook and Super Snake for social-networking developer platforms, announced on Thursday that it has opened a platform of its own. Developers can now access an application program interface (API) so that they can contribute; the company is set to let developers in on Thursday night and put out more information next week at the Game Developers' Conference.

The Social Gaming Network is owned by, the Web 1.0 veteran formerly known as Freewebs, and currently works with Facebook and Bebo's platforms.

It's the second gaming start-up to put out an announcement about developers this week. Zynga, a similar site recently launched by founder Mark Pincus and funded by Valley luminaries like LinkedIn founder Reid Hoffman and PayPal founder Peter Thiel, announced earlier on Thursday that it would be launching a developer initiative so that game publishers and developers can get their applications on more social-networking sites. Currently, Zynga's games are compatible with Facebook, Bebo, Friendster, and Meebo, with on the way.

Zynga and the Social Gaming Network aren't the best of friends--Social Gaming Network founder Shervin Pishevar has been critical of Zynga's games, which he claims infringe upon existing ones (Sea Wars, for example, is a lot like Battleship), and company representatives have said that they think Zynga's popularity metrics are exaggerated. Both gaming start-ups claim to be "the biggest social gaming network." It might not be HD DVD vs. Blu-ray, but this is a rivalry that could get ugly.