Zynga buys startup behind hit "Draw Something" game

Mar 21, 2012
Social games star Zynga on Wednesday said it has bought the young company behind a playful "Draw Something" application that rocketed in popularity in recent weeks.

Social games star Zynga on Wednesday said it has bought the young company behind a playful "Draw Something" application that rocketed in popularity in recent weeks.

Zynga did not disclose how much it paid for New York City-based OMGPOP but unofficial estimates valued the deal at approximately $200 million.

"We want people to play our games and feel a fun and valuable social connection to their friends and family," said Zynga chief mobile officer David Ko.

"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."

OMGPOP and its 40-person team will become Zynga's New York office and be led by the six-year-old startup's chief executive Dan Porter.

"With Zynga it is about creativity, but it is also about the most brilliant engineers that can scale games," Porter said in a conference call with reporters.

"We brought 'Draw Something' this far, but now to do things like put it in 20 languages amplifies the situation."

OMGPOP's drawing game for smartphones or tablet computers became a rage in recent weeks, unseating Zynga titles 'Words with Friends' and 'Cityville' from longtime thrones at the top of charts for mobile "apps."

Industry tracker AppData reported that 13.3 million people a day used "Draw Something," a game in which players take turns sketching images on smartphone or tablet screens and then guessing what the drawings represent.

There is an ad-supported free version of the game, and an ad-free app that sells for $1.99.

"A little over six weeks ago we released 'Draw Something' and it has been an incredible and wild ride ever since," Porter said.

The game "app" has been downloaded more than 35 million times and players draw a total of a billion pictures each week, according to Porter.

"Draw Something" is the most popular word game mobile application in 84 countries, according figures from Apple's online App Store.

"Zynga really got what made this game special," Porter said. "This has the potential to be a great partnership."

Zynga stock price rose more than two percent to $13.72 after the acquisition was announced.

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