Zynga has just confirmed that it has purchased Draw Something developer OMGPOP.The price is expected to be around $200 million. Zynga’s chief mobile executive David Ko would not confirm the details of the deal during the press announcement.
Here are the highlights from the announcement:
- Draw Something, OMGPOP’s most popular app, has been downloaded more than 35 million times in 6 weeks. Before Draw Something, OMGPOP had about 20 million players across all its games.
- OMGPOP CEO Dan Porter is now VP and general manager of Zynga Mobile in New York. He’ll join the rest of Zynga’s New York Staff and lead the team. Zynga is adding 40 new employees in the acquisition.
- Zynga didn’t buy OMGPOP just for Draw Something. Ko has “always had his eye on the company” and it’s a natural fit for Zynga, he said.
- Expect a lot more social features in Draw Something soon, like taking pictures and chat. Normally mobile games like Draw Something are very resource-intensive, but Zynga’s infrastructure will make it possible to add those features.
Here’s the full transcript of the call:3:14 P.M. “Our mission has always been to connect the world through games. It’s our hope that our games inspire people to put more play in their everyday lives,” Ko said.
3:15 P.M. The last few months have been particularly exciting for the company, Ko says. He’s going through some of the company’s recent announcements.
3:16 P.M. OMGPOP is an awesome developer and publisher of multi-platform mobile and social games, Ko says. You better check out Draw Something if you haven’t played it yet, he says.
3:17 P.M. In just 6 weeks, Draw Something has been downloaded more than 35 million downloads. There were more than 1 billion drawings last week.
3:19 P.M. Draw Something is collaborative and expressive and focuses on relationships between people, which is why it’s so successful, Porter said in an earlier interview.
3:20 P.M. OMGPOP CEO Dan Porter is now VP and general manager of Zynga in New York.
3:21 P.M. Up until Draw Something, OMGPOP had around 20 million registered users across all games.
3:21 P.M. OMGPOP is a 40-person company based in New York. It “took a whiff” with the game and it’s succeeded beyond all its expectations.
3:22 P.M. OMGPOP asked, who can support us and help us grow, and it was clear that Zynga really “got what we wanted to do” and offered amazing resources, Porter said.
3:22 P.M. CEO Mark Pincus and Ko “really got what made this game special,” Porter said. People keep asking for more in the game.
3:23 P.M. “Along with the other studios in Zynga in New York City, maybe we can turn New York City into a hotbed for gaming,” Porter says.
3:23 P.M. Question and answer session starting.
Q: “From the Zynga side, how does the acquisition affect your visions for the Zynga platform?”
Ko: The way we’ve always looked at this with games or teams like Newtoy or Words With Friends, we’ve always wanted to deliver the best experiences for our players. What we’ve seen here for Draw Something is something that’s truly special with players around the world. We want to continue to support this amazing and creative team and help them getting the game out to position players.
Q: Had you your eye on them before Draw Something?
Ko: I’ve always had a tremendous respect for Dan and the team. They’ve always been committed to social and fun and it’s really things we’ve stood for at the company. We’ve been huge fans of them for a long time.
Q: How much did you pay?
Ko: We’re not commenting on the financials today.
Q: Is this the biggest deal to date for Zynga?
Ko: We’re not going to talk about any of the financials or impact today.
Q: Can you guys give me an idea of what kind of different things we’ll see in Draw Something done by Zynga?
Porter: We have a roadmap for the game that’s focused on continuing to make the game social. We get so many requests and feedback for features. We hear loud and clear, out of the gate, people want a better way to save their pictures in the game rather than just screen-grabbing. That’s a super-important feature. The second social feature people really want to see is chat. Then we have a whole bunch of different gameplay features as well. Our number one goal is to always allow people to connect with each other.
Q: Are you planning on changing the name?
Porter: Nope, we aren’t planning to change it to Drawing With Friends.
Q: From a Zynga perspective, it looks like you’re just buying a single game. Should we see it as that? Is this a rather challenging business model?
Ko: For us, it’s really always been about games that share the vision. While that may be many apps that you’ll see grow and become number one around the world, we really look for folks that focus on social and essentially have a mission and a strategy somewhat similar to our own. Like I said earlier, we’ve had a tremendous amount of respect for this team which is highly creative and highly innovative. For me, it’s always been less about the game itself, although it’s great, it’s a combination of the game and the team and having a shared vision of social and sharing that with our players around the world.
Q: How do we know that Zynga will be the one to create hits like this rather than buy them?
Ko: If you look at the company and its DNA, we’ve done stuff over the past. We’ve created games that are social and fun for more than 240 million people around the world and we’re going to continue focusing on that. People want to join the company and then we see teams created by OMGPOP and Dan.
Porter: One of the things about making network-based games like Words With Friends, the amount of network traffic you get when exchanging data between games, it’s just massive. Performance is so critical, so teaming with Zynga is about creativity but it’s also about the most brilliant engineers who can scale games and take performance for players to a really high level. We brought the game that’s fun, our ability to reach players is so amplified in this situation that we’re super excited about it.