All posts in “mobile games”

Things That Don’t Need to Be on TV: Draw Something

Michelle McCudden is a Client Engagement Director on the Client Strategy & Innovation team at Social Media Group. Follow @mmccudden1

Draw Something took off quickly after its February launch, amassing 50 million downloads in only 50 days post-launch, leading many to call it the “fastest growing mobile game ever”. Its creator, OMGPOP, was sold in March to Zynga for the tune of approximately $200 million based on the strength and popularity of Draw Something. Shortly thereafter, there was a shift. Daily users began to drop. According to AppData, they’re down to just 5 million daily active users, down from 14.6 million at its peak on April 3. This drop continues, despite updates to the gameplay and features.

It’s hard to pinpoint the precise cause of the drop in popularity. Different spectators have attributed it to repetitive gameplay, the ability to “cheat” the system, or simply the novelty wearing off. However, the recent updates have addressed at least a few of those issues (updates included more clues, a new look, the ability to draw from different categories, and notifications), so we may see Draw Something’s numbers rise, though surely not to its highs from this spring.

There’s now a new project in the works, attempting to capitalize on what made it so popular in the first place. CBS recently won rights to a project developed by Sony Pictures Television, Ryan Seacrest Productions and Embassy Row to turn the once immensely popular Draw Something game into a TV show.

Why It Could Work:

  • The conceit of the game was extremely popular, and had broad appeal, a key factor for ratings-based success.
  • Similar shows have seen success. Win, Lose or Draw lasted for three seasons on NBC and in syndication, and attracted some big-name guest stars. (If you don’t remember the show, check out the video below, with guest stars Alan Thicke, Burt Reynolds and Loni Anderson. Even if you do remember the show, the vintage Coke commercial and Loni Anderson’s wardrobe are worth a peek.)

Why It Probably Won’t:

  • America had this show, 20 years ago. Has anyone been clamoring for a Win, Lose or Draw revival?
  • There’s a challenge inherent to translating the gameplay of Draw Something to television—to differentiate it from Win, Lose or Draw or Pictionary will mean successfully translating the experience of drawing something on your mobile device to the screen. That’s not an easy task.
  • Please see: $#*! My Dad Says for our last internet phenomenon translated for TV.

Are you still playing Draw Something? Are you interested in following it to TV?

Social Gaming is the New Black

Gamification and social gaming are two trends that are taking social network communities to an entirely new level.  Although very different animals, the growing popularity and fast-moving industry is catching the eyes of both investors and the technology-savvy public.  As recently as this week, RIM acquired Scoreloop and is pushing to get into the mobile social gaming network.  Why?  The possibility to be a part of another successful IPO (like the recent LinkedIn offering) in the games industry makes the possibly substantial return on investment alluring. Even the most financially-shy investor is watching to see what happens (See Up Next for Tech IPO’s: Social Gaming).

Social Gaming, What’s the Big Deal?

Why are investors ready to jump into the already heavily-crowded gaming industry? Social gaming is about the user experience and competition. Take Farmville for example. You must have a Facebook account in order to be able to play, and can request, compete and socialize with friends to grow your status.  Social gaming is also heavily app-driven, with most social based games available on your smartphone.  Consider how often you may find yourself commuting to work, or waiting for someone, and automatically log onto your phone and start playing a game.  The user investment in a game is generally a minimal cost, of any (typically ranging form $.99 to $2.99 on average) or close to the cost of a good quality coffee.  Keeping in that in mind, it’s still a billion dollar annual business.  Given that gaming is becoming a second nature reaction, start-ups are hoping to catch the interest of investors and get a cut of the pie.  With the prospect of Zynga Preparing to File for IPO [REPORT], the gaming industry is about to take a new step with investors salivating to get a piece of the action.

What About Console Games? Where’s their future?

Console games as a whole are starting to flatline.  Even Call of Duty: Black Ops, which hit record sales upon release, has slowed significantly with interest turning more and more towards online, social and incentive-based game experiences. Strong game titles and potentially repetitive story lines are starting to lose the interest of the gaming community.  However, some companies such as EA games are jumping on the social gaming platform as opposed to fighting against it. With the wildly popular The Sims now coming to Facebook,  players will be able to socialize and fraternize to their hearts content all through their smartphones.

Change in Demographic

The beauty of social gaming is that the demographic is no longer narrow or typical of the gaming community. Both women and men, in multiple age groups are participating by downloading and engaging in game play. The average age for participation is also widening, with children in the United States as young as two playing (see Kids Online Game Moshi Monsters Hits 50 Million Registered Users). This coupled with mobile access is looking to be one of the largest trends in social media for 2011.

Subscribers to our mailing list should keep an eye out for SMG’s mid-year 2011 Trend Report – we’re working hard to compile a social media state of the nation and our point of view on the evolution of the big trends.