The Rise and Fall of Draw Something

Not too long ago, Draw Something was a social-gaming phenomenon raking in 50 million downloads within the first 50 days of the game’s release. It even beat Words With Friends to become the most popular Facebook game at the time. Zynga (creators of FarmVille) even bought out developer OMGPOP (creaters of Draw Something) for $180 million because of the game’s massive popularity.

However, did Zynga act too quickly? It turns out the rapid rise to fame has hit a plateau and is now heading in a downward direction. The past few weeks have seen a steady decline in the number of users playing Draw Something. In a month’s time, from April 2 to May 2, the game has lost almost four million users according to a report by BBC News, dropping the total number of active users down to 10.4 million.

Draw Something is a Pictionary-esque mobile game that has you draw a picture with the goal being the other person guessing correctly. Each correct answer earns you and your “opponent” coins to buy more colors and other goodies.

Frankly, I’m not too surprised by the steady decline of users playing the game. It’s the type of game that gets old quickly. For me, Draw Something lasted about a week before I deleted it off of my phone. It’s simply the type of game where it needs to be constantly updated with new features in order to keep users interested. If Draw Something stays the same old game forever, there’s no doubt that it will lose its appeal.

We’ll have to wait and see what Zynga will do to combat the steady loss of its users for Draw Something. Is it possible for them to keep the game going strong and staying relevant with frequent updates and newer features? Let us know in the comments.

Image Credit: WebMediaBrands

Draw Something, the fastest-growing social game ever

Since its release in February, Draw Something has been nothing but a social-gaming sensation. In the first five weeks of availability, the game saw over 20 million downloads and currently has well over 35 million downloads. To give you an idea of just how many downloads that is, Instagram has around 27 million users and Foursquare has just over 15 million (which took three years to get). Over one billion pictures have been drawn on Draw Something with 3,000 drawings being uploaded every second. The game is so popular that it beat Words With Friends to become the most popular Facebook game.

If you don’t know what Draw Something is, it’s a two-player-only game where you…yes…draw something and your opponent tries to guess what you drew and vice versa. It’s sort of an interesting twist on Pictionary. You can also earn coins and such, and there’s different settings that you can change and cool statistics that you can look at. It’s the type of game where you have to play it yourself to truly understand it.

Developer OMGPOP surprisingly hasn’t spent a dime on marketing the game since it’s launch on February 1st. The free, ad-supported game is apparently generating revenue of six figures every day. It’s so popular and is generating so much revenue that Zynga, developer of many popular Facebook games including FarmVille, decided to scoop up the game, as well as the entire OMGPOP developing studio last week for a cool $180 million. Twas a smart move on Zynga’s part if I do say so myself. Look for them to be milking the social drawing game for all it’s worth and then some.

The story of Draw Something and developer OMGPOP is quite a remarkable one, going from an almost-broke start-up to an overnight millionaire of sorts. It just goes to show you what the internet and its users are capable of.

Words with Friends is Mobile Gaming Perfection

Saturday night. Relaxing at a friend’s house. Dinner is over, and we are all sitting around the dining table. The room is strangely quiet. Everyone at the table has a look of intense concentration, and the only sounds are the occasional shrills and pings produced by our various laptops and smartphones.

No, this isn’t a strange vision of a scary post-social-skills future. It was just last week – on the Saturday we all finally discovered the phenomenon that is Words With Friends.

Words With Friends is an online word game from Zynga, available for iOS, Android and Facebook. It’s basically Scrabble, albeit with the bonus squares slightly rearranged. It’s been around a while, but seems to be experiencing a surge in popularity.

For anyone who has lived in a cave since 1938 when Scrabble was invented, the game takes place on a 15 x 15 square board. Each player is given seven letters, which they must place on the board to create a word. Each letter is allocated a certain number of points – a single point for “easy” letters such as “A” and “E,” and up to 10 points for the tricky ones like “Z” and “Q.”

Words With Friends on Facebook
Words With Friends on Facebook

Extra points are given if words are played over special squares such as “double word score” or “triple letter score.” Players take it in turns to lay words on the board until the entire pool of letters is used up, and the player with the highest score wins the game.

Words With Friends is exactly the same…but online. Players invite friends, usually via Facebook, and can play multiple games at the same time. Within an hour of discovering the game, we found that many of our friends were already playing, and each of us soon had five or six games on the go at once.

There are no time limits. For those that only log on occasionally, a game of Words With Friends can be something akin to postal chess, with only a few moves happening each day. For people who spend their lives glued to their iPhones and Facebook pages, playing Words With Friends can be both an enjoyable quick-fire challenge and something akin to a fun full-time job!

The beauty of Words With Friends is that it really is the perfect mobile game. The iPod and Android apps can consume long train journeys with ease, but also provide perfect gaming fodder for two-minute waits in supermarket queues.

Words with Friends App
Words with Friends App

The game is supported by advertising. In the case of the Facebook game, this involves looking at an ad for 5 seconds in between moves – this can quickly become tiresome. On the iOS app, the ads appear but can be skipped instantly. For those that want to play a lot (probably anyone with a few Facebook friends willing to get involved) the ads can be disabled for a small fee with the purchase of the full game.

Most people playing in our group have paid the money – which goes to prove that this freemium payment model works for compelling games. Who can begrudge a few dollars for something that provides hours of enjoyment at home, on the train, and even queuing at the airport.

The best thing of all about Words With Friends is that it isn’t simply mindless entertainment. If something’s going to keep you glued to your iPhone screen, isn’t it best that it’s something that focuses the mind and increases the vocabulary?

This point seems to be the key to the game’s popularity. All it really consists of is Scrabble, turn based online gaming (that must have been pretty easy to put together), and a bit of brain training. Yet somehow it ends up being far more than the sum of its parts. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I somehow need to get more than forty points with four As, two Hs and a Q.