Dan Porter spent the last three years trying to create viral games. He joined a social gaming company, OMGPOP, in 2008.OMGPOP created Facebook games; the games performed well enough, but engagement was not amazing.
Now Porter and his company are dabbling in social mobile games and they’re finding instant success.
A game they launched 10 days ago, Draw Something, has been downloaded 1.2 million times and users are playing it multiple times per day.
Draw Something is social pictionary for the iPhone. Like Words With Friends, users can connect to people on Facebook. They’re given three words and can choose one to draw. The image is then sent to a friend who guesses what it is.
Draw Something is the #1 free app in multiple European countries and 50-75 drawings are bring produced per second; 5-10 millions are being created per day.
“I’ve done a lot of things in my career but I’ve never seen anything scale like this,” says Porter.
Here’s what happened.
Porter used a little bit of paid marketing to promote the app at launch. He also advertised it on OMGPOP. Both initiatives resulted in the first 40,000 downloads.
When the app hit 100,000 users, word of mouth marketing took over and downloads exploded. Users attracted friends by posting pictures to Instagram and Twitter and downloads started pouring in.
“It’s user generated content people want to share,” says Porter of the phenomenon. “No one goes on Twitter and says, ‘Look how many cows are on my farm.’ But people are going on Twitter and saying, ‘Look at this drawing, it’s cracking me up.'”
The app has also attracted some celebrities and their managers who now want to work with Porter. Some of the words to draw are people like Lil Wayne, and celebrities want to create deliberate Draw Something promotions moving forward.
Porter is taking Draw Something and running with it. He’ll be adding chat features and an ability to save drawings soon.
His next goal? To take down Zynga’s With Friends franchise. Porter’s first mobile app, Puppy World, attracted 1 million downloads and, now that Draw Something has taken off, he’s ready to double down on social mobile games.
Draw Something is best when played with friends. You can log in with Facebook, although Porter finds many users create new accounts.
Like Zynga's games, Draw Something is free but encourages users to purchase virtual currency. Coins can buy you all sorts of additional goodies...
Once you've selected a friend to play against, you're given three words to choose from that are easy, medium and hard.
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