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Zynga buys  Draw Something  maker Omgpop
Zynga buys Draw Something maker Omgpop
March 21, 2012 | By Eric Caoili

Social game giant Zynga has purchased New York City-based developer Omgpop, along with its recent and tremendous mobile/social game hit Draw Something, and other properties.

Draw Something has exploded on mobile app stores in the last few weeks, receiving more than 35 million downloads on iOS and Android devices for both its paid and ad-supported free versions. It's surged in popularity on Facebook too, where it now has 12.2 million daily active users.

Its recent and rapid growth on Facebook made it the most popular game on the social network, ahead of even Zynga titles like CityVille, Texas HoldEm Poker, FarmVille, and Hidden Chronicles that have dominated the site in terms of audience size for many months.

In a conference call attended by Gamasutra, Omgpop CEO Dan Porter emphasized Zynga's ability to handle titles scaling quickly -- as is the case with Draw Something -- and to reach a wider global audience as primary reasons for why the developer went through with the purchase.

Zynga has been known to quickly acquire up-and-coming social and mobile developers, as was the case with Words With Friends creator Newtoy, which the company snatched up for $53.3 million in late 2010.

While it hasn't revealed financial terms for the deal, All Things Digital reports that Zynga spent $180 million to buy the company, and threw in around $30 million in retention payments as it absorbs the team's staff of about 40 workers. Porter will now serve as senior vice president and general manager of Zynga New York, the studio formerly known as Area/Code.

Launched in 2006 as I'minlikewithyou, Omgpop was previously best known for running a self-titled online casual gaming portal. The developer switched its focus in the last year, though, to mobile and social titles, and found massive success after releasing Draw Something.

The Pictionary-style game generates six-figure revenues per day, and has already made more money in the last five weeks than Omgpop earned last year. The company has produced more than 35 other social titles that Zynga has also acquired.

"I know without a doubt that Zynga is the right partner for Omgpop," says Porter. "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."

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Cordero W
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Hm. You know, I wish some people will protect their IPs a little more instead of selling out to bigger companies for some money. I guess it's something to think about in the short term, but in the long term, you just gave over your work to someone else that could have possibly made you bigger along the road.

Ian Bogost
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But when you take VC investment, what choice have you? An acquisition is the assumed exit.

Cordero W
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I guess you're right.

Darcy Nelson
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I mean, it's not like they're never going to have a good game idea after this one, right? At least that's the hope.

Jeffrey Crenshaw
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I agree with Cordero, though perhaps at a deeper level. It seems like acquisitions are bad in the long term for society. What are we going to do when there is only one company left that bought _all_ other companies (all banks, oil companies, entertainment companies, and all governments) and starts fixing prices and wages? Hyperbole sure, but I can't help but feel uncomfortable at any event that gives Zynga more power.

Evan Combs
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I'm with you guys, I wish people would start taking pride in the ownership of their business and/or products. When people don't you get companies like AT&T and Comcast (amongst many many more) that go out of their way to screw the customer over. As customers we end up with no other options because all of the good options ended up being bought by the competitor.

Michael Nicolayeff
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What could possibly go wrong?