The game app ‘Draw Something’ has been on the market for only six weeks, but listed social gaming company Zynga was already willing to buy the software developers behind the game at OMGPOP for US$200 million. The new app enhances Zynga’s game portfolio, currently spear-headed by the popular ‘Cityville’. Indeed, ‘Draw Something’ has been an inspiration for many in the industry like no other app before. The game is quite simple and only available for mobile devices. In a very short period of time it has set new records in terms of reach for social gaming.
According to ‘The Business Insider’ 4.5 million users play the game simultaneously on an average weekday evening. In the past week alone 1 billion images were drawn. The app ranks number 1 in the download charts of 79 countries. More than 35 million downloads were counted via Apple’s App Store and Google’s Play Store. More than 12 million active users have subscribed to the app. It is estimated that the daily turnover for the game reaches more than US$250.000. Keep in mind that the game has been on the market for six weeks only. For a comparison: A long time ago, AOL needed 9 years to reach 1 million users, Facebook needed 9 months and the game hit ‘Draw Something’ only needed 9 days. Simply breath-taking.
The idea behind the game is pretty simple and highly addictive: Users draw something with their fingers on the mobile device and friends have to guess what it is. It is like a digital Pictionary. The app gives users three choices of different difficulty what needs to be drawn. You can add friends to play with on your own or they are added at random. Over night OMGPOP turned out to be a serious competitor for Zynga. Zynga’s previous game hit ‘Words with Friends’ on the other hand recently lost more and more users. Both companies rely on the same business model: Social freemium games, where users can enhance their app by buying upgrade packages within the game. Take ‘Draw Something’ as an example: The basic version is for free, but those who like to employ more colors or different brushes have to purchase them. The basic version will also display advertisements from time to time.
Surprise success for social game ‘Draw Something’: Pictionary on the smartphone
Zynga’s success is based on games like ‘Farmville’, played mainly by Facebook users. The close cooperation between the game studio and the social media network helped Zynga’s stock prices to grow by 40% since the company’s IPO last December. But many analysts also see the current development as risky undertaking. In order to diversify revenue channels and minimize dependency on Facebook, Zynga launched a new online gaming platform at zynga.com. The acquisition of OMGPOP is also another step towards more independence. Even though the popularity of ‘Draw Something’ might fade in time, New York-based OMGPOP is a busy developing studio that has launched more than 40 games for different platforms since its foundation in 2006. It will not take long until Zynga and OMGPOP will create a new game hit together.