March 21, 2012
Draw Something Tops Words With Friends For Social Gaming Crown
Game maker Zynga's Words With Friends, the brainy, popular social game played by millions on their mobile devices has lost its top ranking to newcomer Draw Something, the Pictionary-like drawing game from the designers at New York-based OMGPOP, reports PC Magazine´s Leslie Horn.
The Facebook app tracking site AppData reveals that Draw Something found 12.2 million daily average users (DAU), compared to Words With Friends´ 8 million. However, Zynga still reigns supreme with when it comes to monthly average users (MAU); CityVille averages 46.1 million in this category. Zynga also tops AppData´s developer leaderboard with 246.4 million MAU.Dan Porter, CEO of OMGPOP told Venture Beat that the game has caught fire, “because it is a super social, out of the box, hilarious and totally fresh game that players love, has a sense of humor and lets the players own the game.”
Zynga is most likely not going to let this challenge go unanswered. The two companies have been in talks and GigaOm suggests that the asking price may be in the $200 million range, The Guardian reports.
Any negotiations should be interesting. Zynga certainly has the capability to make its own clone version, a Draw With Friends, for example. Doing so, however, would risk a controversy even bigger than that around its Dream Heights game earlier in 2012, which was accused of being a clone of another indie hit, Tiny Tower.
If an acquisition were to happen, it would be Zynga´s biggest publicly disclosed acquisition to date. Zynga´s track record is mostly in acquiring small teams for a talent-price range of $5 to $20 million, reports Kim-Mai Cutler for Tech Crunch. But it did make a fantastic deal in late 2010 to buy Words With Friends-maker Newtoy for $53.3 million in cash and stock – a price that looks positively low in retrospect.
After buying Newtoy, Zynga was able to double Words With Friends´ daily active users in 120 days. By the time it had filed for a public offering, Zynga had grown its mobile footprint tenfold, largely on the back of Newtoy´s titles.
Draw Something appears to be a genuinely word-of-mouth phenomenon, and one that is appealing to a wide demographic — mums and non-techies through to hardcore gamers judging by my Facebook feed and Twitter timeline.
Porter talked about the appeal of this game in his GigaOm interview, “We´re taking game play and wrapping it in the framework of communication, sharing experiences and playing together,” he said.
“I just wanted this to be something hilarious with no winner or loser“¦ I´m not a game designer and I don´t pretend to be one so I didn´t really think about the rules of making a game.”
“Most designers would have said you need scores or leaderboards but it didn´t feel right so I didn´t do them“¦ We want to make games for people that don´t put games on their phone. That´s how you get to massive scale.”