From social to mobile: Zynga snaps up mobile game maker Omgpop

26/03/2012

Farmville creator Zynga has bought Omgpop, as the Farmville creator looks to expand beyond its Facebook platform and into mobile games. New York-based Omgpop rose into prominence six weeks ago when it released Draw Something, currently the top title on Apple’s App Store. Omgpop was formed in 2006 and already has 35 mobile games on the market. View the trailer for the Draw Something app here:


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The companies did not disclose the purchase price when the deal was announced Wednesday, but VentureBeat reported this week that Zynga and Japanese mobile company Gree were both considering buying Omgpop for about $200 million.

Although Zynga dominates the charts for Facebook games, occupying six of the top 10 titles within the social network, it scores less well in mobile games.

Zynga's Scramble With Friends is the No. 10 title among top iOS paid applications and Words With Friends is No. 42. It launched more than 15 games in the last six months and counted 15 million people who play its mobile games at least once a day. But the vast majority of Zynga's $1.1 billion in annual revenue comes from players on Facebook, prompting Zynga to look to other platforms to grow.

Downloaded more than 35 million times, Draw Something is currently the top title on Apple's App Store. The game, sold for both Apple iOS and Google Android devices, challenges one player to draw a picture of an object while the other guesses what is being drawn.

It is priced at 99 cents, but players can also buy virtual items and additional content.

Omgpop Chief Executive Dan Porter, who will become vice president of Zynga New York, said his company has 40 employees.

“The OMGPOP team has created a game that’s fun, expressive and engenders real social interaction,” said Mark Pincus, founder and CEO of Zynga. “Draw Something has captured the imagination of millions of people around the world. We love the way they’ve worked playful and relevant culture into their games from Devo to Daft Punk, from Lin to Beckham. We’re honored to have the opportunity to partner with and support such an innovative team of creative inventors.”

“I want to thank our players, our fans, everyone who’s ever drawn something. You’ve made this game into something truly special. Zynga offered us a chance to focus on Draw Something – they know the power of the game and they planned with us how to let it keep rolling in the same fun, irreverent, social way that it has been. That was really important to us,” said Dan Porter, CEO of OMGPOP. “The game will stay true to you and what you love, and it’s my solemn vow that the magic of Draw Something will not change. I know without a doubt that Zynga is the right partner for OMGPOP. Our new partners at Zynga know how to innovate at scale, and they’re pushing the limits of social with their mobile games. With the added resources we now have, and the deep gaming experience we can draw from, we can’t wait to continue to surprise our users. If you’re a fan, a player of ours, I can’t wait to show you what’s in store – it’s going to be drawsome.”

“At Zynga we’re committed to building brands that we’re proud of and that our players absolutely love,” said David Ko, Chief Mobile Officer of Zynga. “We want people to play our games and feel a fun and valuable social connection to their friends and family. We think Draw Something is one of the most social, most expressive mobile games ever built with its unique social competition and unmatched player generated content. We’re excited about the brands OMGPOP has developed to date and we look forward to supporting the team’s creativity and helping scale their incredible games to an even bigger global audience.”

OMGPOP began as iminlikewithyou, a social network for people to meet and play games. The company soon after launched its social gaming website, OMGPOP.com in 2009. OMGPOP is best known for Draw Something, one of the fastest growing word games of all time. The game has stormed to success through a combination of creativity and nostalgia paired with pop culture hooks. How would you draw Jeremy Lin, Katniss Everdeen or LMFAO? Draw Something is available on iOS, Android and Facebook.

OMGPOP will remain headquartered in New York (at its totally cool offices) and report to David Ko, Chief Mobile Officer of Zynga.

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