Online social game star Zynga adds new lure

The startup behind hit online social games Farmville, Zynga Poker, and Mafia Wars on Tuesday ramped up the pay-off for its more than 250 million players.

Zynga used a South By Southwest Interactive (SXSW) festival in Texas as a stage to unveil a new rewards program for its titles, which have won legions of followers at Facebook and elsewhere on the Internet.

Players who sign up online at website rewardville.com can shift winnings such as virtual goods, status or money between different games and even use rewards to help out friends playing other Zynga games.

"With RewardVille, our aim is to delight players by rewarding them with new Zynga-level points, and exclusive limited edition virtual items," said Zynga vice president Roy Sehgal.

"We love that you love our games, so here's your chance to reap some rewards!"

Zynga was founded in July of 2007 in San Francisco by Marc Pincus, who named the startup after his late American bulldog "Zinga."

Zynga boasted more than a quarter of a million players. Its titles include CityVille, FrontierVille, Café World, YoVille, and Vampire Wars.

The company is known for combining philanthropy and business, having raised more than $5 million for charitable causes through game play.

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