Zynga’s biggest acquisition to date — the $180 million deal to buy Draw Something-maker OMGPOP last year — was the one it ended up being the most pilloried for. At its peak, Draw Something was beating Zynga’s longstanding Words With Friends franchise, a sore point for a company that positioned itself as the dominant social gaming company in the world.
After it was acquired, the hit game plateaued then declined — as titles often do in the hits-driven world of the business.
But just because the company took a writedown on the game, it doesn’t mean it is writing it off. (Seriously, sorry for the terrible pun.)
In fact, Zynga is re-investing in the franchise with a sequel that is designed to have a lot more longevity. OMGPOP head Dan Porter and Ryan Seacrest just tweeted a small preview.
From what we hear, it sounds like it will be much more of a social platform where players get to keep and show off their drawings instead of having them disappear into the game.
This way the very best artists can accumulate followings inside the game and the content will become a lot more long-lasting for the players.
It’s a smart move for the company because it may make the game a lot stickier. Plus, it gets Zynga into game genres that are much more creative than its casual sim, Farmville history would suggest.
On top of that, it looks like Zynga’s also involving a lot more celebrities. That’s in keeping with what Porter originally wanted to do with the game when he started exploring TV game show and transmedia opportunities. He has a long and unusual career in the music business and ties to the media world out of New York.
Zynga has a mixed track record with sequels. Farmville 2 has done well, but Cityville 2 and Mafia Wars 2 both flopped.
This is the first time they’ll be doing a major sequel purely on mobile platforms. The original still apparently has between 10 and 20 million players every month, so there’s a base that they can cross-market the title to. Presumably, they’ve gotten a lot savvier about doing early beta testing to make sure users don’t fall out of the game.