Draw Something Studio Falls Victim to Zynga Cuts

Draw Something Studio Falls Victim to Zynga Cuts

OMGPop logo

Draw Something studio OMGPop was among the studios closed down yesterday by Zynga, little more than a year after it was acquired for a whopping $200 million.

Released in early 2012, Draw Something was an immediate and huge hit, with 50 million downloads just 50 days after launch. That runaway success attracted the attention of Zynga, which quickly gobbled it up for somewhere in the neighborhood of $200 million, but shortly after the acquisition Draw Something's user numbers began to fall off dramatically. An effort to monetize the game with "brand words" didn't seem to accomplish much and now, not much more than a year after its expensive acquisition, OMGPop is no more.

The cratering of Draw Something notwithstanding, the relationship between Zynga and OMGPop never seemed to really click, a situation vividly highlighted by comments earlier this year from Dan Porter, formerly the CEO of OMGPop who became general manager of Zynga New York following the acquisition. Porter said it was "mostly true" that Zynga copies games, a statement that he was quickly forced to clarify in a follow-up blog post in which he explained that he was actually talking about the challenges of running games as a service.

Zynga launched a sequel, Draw Something 2, in April but it failed to match the success of the original. As GameInformer notes, OMGPop's 440 days of existence under the Zynga banner, assuming a $200 million cost, works out to $454,000 per day - and that's not including any other expenses, like salaries. That's hard money to lose, no matter how you draw it.

Source: GameInformer

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It appears Zynga is set to go the way of the Atari 2600. All we need to do is wait for its E.T.: The Game.

So This game didn't make any money at ALL after they bought it?

DVS BSTrD:
So This game didn't make any money at ALL after they bought it?

yep, the fans of the first game said:" here is all my money" with the addition of "bazinga" at the end.

I think OMGPop made something like 22 apps before they made Draw Something, which is arguably their only hit. Zynga should have known better. The owner(s) of OMGPop are laughing all the way to the bank. Hopefully the employees fare as well.

Gosh, I remember when OMGPop was called I'minlikewithyou. Kind of sad. I used to spend so much time on that site.

DVS BSTrD:
So This game didn't make any money at ALL after they bought it?

Nope, free download.

Which kind of highlights how staggeringly stupid Zynga were, spending $200million to acquire a studio who's only product was a free game, not free to play, free.

Where exactly did they see a return on that investment coming from?

Draw something 2 not only contains a shed load of F2P type 'upgrades' clocking in at $10+ each(!!!) but is also unstable as all Hell, it seems to crash if you so much as look at it funny. Draw Something's user base took one look at it and collectively went lol... no.

I remember shelling out for the full app only to stop playing when Zynga got their slimy paws on OMGPOP. They somehow thought it would be a grand idea to force people to sign in with their facebook accounts. Dipshits.

fix-the-spade:

Where exactly did they see a return on that investment coming from?

Advertising, Big Data analytics, Monetisation, etc

Triaed:
Advertising, Big Data analytics, Monetisation, etc

But how do you insert any of those into a title that already shipped without them? Put out an update and hope? Ask nicely? Force people to log in via Facebook (oh, wait)?

Here's a little insight into the last day of OMGPop's New York office:

"Zynga trophies, golden statues that are gifted to employees during quarterly meetings, were strewn. Beer was guzzled as people swapped stories about the good-old startup days. Employees missed sharing one bathroom in a tiny, cramped office while they watched their hit game, Draw Something, explode from zero to 30 million users and get snatched up by Zynga last year."

mechalynx:
I remember shelling out for the full app only to stop playing when Zynga got their slimy paws on OMGPOP. They somehow thought it would be a grand idea to force people to sign in with their facebook accounts. Dipshits.

Technically it was free to play, as in you had to pay for new words and for new paint colours (which admittedly could be acquired through slow and tedious play, similar to LoL).

triorph:

mechalynx:
I remember shelling out for the full app only to stop playing when Zynga got their slimy paws on OMGPOP. They somehow thought it would be a grand idea to force people to sign in with their facebook accounts. Dipshits.

Technically it was free to play, as in you had to pay for new words and for new paint colours (which admittedly could be acquired through slow and tedious play, similar to LoL).

I know. I just felt like rewarding OMGPOP for an outstanding app I already spent hours on. And to get more colors quickly and be rid of ads.

triorph:

mechalynx:
I remember shelling out for the full app only to stop playing when Zynga got their slimy paws on OMGPOP. They somehow thought it would be a grand idea to force people to sign in with their facebook accounts. Dipshits.

Technically it was free to play, as in you had to pay for new words and for new paint colours (which admittedly could be acquired through slow and tedious play, similar to LoL).

If it weren't for the low content rule that escapist enforces constantly, this would just be a stream of expletives.

How does this kind of thing happen? Why did they have money to begin with? Who gave it to them?

Hey, Zynga... I'll make you an under-performing game studio that will close in three days for the same rate. Think of the savings!

This may have been good news for omgpop folk.

In many cases, acquisitions are accompanied with strict contracts tying the employees to the company for years; unless the contracts were downright stupid, letting them go now just meant they got their shares or bonuses or whatever incentive was used, sooner.

Expect new game companies to pop up from the ashes..

Sol_HSA:
This may have been good news for omgpop folk.

In many cases, acquisitions are accompanied with strict contracts tying the employees to the company for years; unless the contracts were downright stupid, letting them go now just meant they got their shares or bonuses or whatever incentive was used, sooner.

Expect new game companies to pop up from the ashes..

I hope so. Then Zynga's failure here will be complete.

webepoop:
Gosh, I remember when OMGPop was called I'minlikewithyou. Kind of sad. I used to spend so much time on that site.

Me too. Ahhh, early teenage memories.

I always found it funny that people were creaming themselves over Draw Something, I was like "This game has been around for years, but now it's an app it's cool?"

 

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