OMGPOP, creators of the hot mobile app Draw Something, was acquired for $200 million by casual gaming giant Zynga in late April, but since the acquisition the number of daily users across mobile versions of the popular drawing game have mysteriously dropped off. According to figures from WebMediaBrands, the mobile app is seeing nearly 4 million fewer daily users than it was back in April.
During a 30 day span ending on May 2nd, daily Draw Something users declined from 14.3 million to 10.4 million. This drop in users follows a period in which the app had been declared the fastest selling mobile game of all time. Is it Zynga’s stank that has drawn away so many avid users, or have players just grown tired of the same old thing?
Zynga has certainly earned a negative reputation in some circles, but the name alone is not likely enough to keep avid users away from their titles. Mobile apps like Zynga Poker and Scramble With Friends continue to be some of the top grossing games on Apple’s App Store. Recent implementations by the company, however, are not likely to help the situation.
Just this past week Zynga introduced sponsored topics in the game, where players will now be able to draw NHL teams or Doritos and Coca-Cola products for their friends. With the great deal of repeating topics that crop up it is admittedly nice to get a few new words to draw about, but the blatant advertising is probably not going to remedy any users already wary of Zynga’s looming corporate hand.
Despite the company’s unpopular image, it may be the general lack of innovation to the simple gameplay that has worn away a number of players’ attention. The repetitive back and forth of drawings, on top of the aforementioned limit of topics, has undoubtedly become a stale experience for the users that have stopped returning for their daily dose of Pictionary-esque gameplay.
Now that the honeymoon is over, Draw Something will need to add some other kind of persistent element (aside from the useless, sluggishly accumulating coins) that will keep players engaged and returning to the game day after day, or at least tweak the gameplay just enough to recapture the interest of apathetic users. I’m going to go ahead and suggest experimenting with costumes and roleplaying. Hopefully OMGPOP and Zynga will find out what works best for them.