While FarmVille and Mob Wars may no longer be the bee’s knees of Facebook social gaming, Zynga proved they’re still top dog for casual gamers by purchasing OMGPOP, the creator of Draw Something for $180 million, plus $30 million in employee retention payouts. Not a bad payday for OMGPOP employees (39 of them, according to LinkedIn), who just launched the game 6 weeks ago. The massively successful turn-based pictionary-style game took the crown away from Zynga’s own “Words With Friends”, racking up a total of 30 million downloads and over 1 billion drawings since its release. By comparison, all 4 years prior to Draw Something earned them a total of 20 million users.
Why did Zynga open their wallet rather than just making “Sketch Something” or “Draw With Friends”? After all, they’ve made a habit of cloning other games in the past. Was OMGPOP simply too big to ignore? “Other than the talent from its acquisition of Words With Friends developer Newtoy, it doesn’t have enough mobile experts to make this shift”, TechCrunch notes, referring to Zynga acquiring Newtoy over a year ago for $53 million and establishing their own gaming service (outside of Facebook) earlier this month. Buying outright also instantly adds another 30 million users to their 240 million mobile user base, and ramping up in-app purchases can commence immediately, since Draw Something is light on purchasable content (bombs and extra colors are nice, but will not draw out the “big-spender whales the social game industry thrives on”)
So it’s clear that casual gamers will still be getting their fix from Zynga over the long run, and instead of playing a “Draw Something Else” clone, they can ‘draw’ from a unified base. Even if Facebook gaming has peaked out, social games will remain alive and well in ZyngaVille.
Are you playing Draw Something on your phone, and what addition(s) would you most like to see Zynga add (or avoid adding) in the future? If you need some inspiration, check out these 20 amazing sketches done in the game.