Why traditional board game manufacturers are getting their online rivals on board – Features – Gadgets & Tech – The Independent
The big players in board games have traditionally approached their online rivals by crushing them. In 2008, Hasbro successfully sued the Indian developers of Scrabulous, a popular Facebook game inspired by Scrabble, Hasbro’s most famous brand. Four years later, the gaming giant is not only tolerating its latest digital competitor – it’s on the same team.
Words With Friends is just about different enough to be legal, but Christmas shoppers will recognise its debt to the 1948 original. Online, the game boasted 20 million users at its peak, the majority playing on smartphones via Facebook. Now, its maker, the US social gaming firm, Zynga, has swapped pixels for cardboard and signed up with Hasbro. “The popular mobile game comes to life!” says the box, right, which is on sale now for £20 and gives the firms equal billing.
The unlikely marriage will have followed a lengthy engagement but arguably reveals much about the unpredictable and relative fortunes of the digital and physical words. Zynga should have been the toast of Wall Street when it floated less than a year ago but shares in the developer have dropped more than 75 per cent since, and it announced job cuts last month. The popularity of its games, meanwhile has fallen almost as sharply (nearly by half in the case of Words With Friends).
The booming popularity of a two-player game called Draw Something is causing a slump in workplace productivity. Not dissimilar to the board game Pictionary, the free app requires you to express words such as “xerox” or “voodoo” in picture form, with your stubby index finger as the paintbrush and your phone as the canvas.
Thus far, the game has racked up 30 million downloads and more than $100,000 £63,000 in revenue from players buying “bombs”, which allow them to cheat by skipping undrawable words such as “tempest” in favour of easier options such as, er, “door”. At the time of going to press, it was also set to be snapped up by social-network giant Zynga the company behind time-shredding titles such as FarmVille and Words with Friends for $200m.
Strange Random Drawing Quote:
The whole essence of good drawing – and of good thinking, perhaps – is to work a subject down to the simplest form possible and still have it believable for what it is meant to be. – Chuck Jones
- Will Zynga Buy OMGPOP for $200 Million? (socialtimes.com)
- Zynga Buys ‘Draw Something’ Maker OMGPOP for $180 Million (blippitt.com)
- Zynga rumored to acquire Draw Something maker OMGPOP (news.cnet.com)
- Better Than Words With Friends (slate.com)
- Zynga buys Draw Something creator OMGPOP (techradar.com)
- Draw Something is Worthy of Its Massive Success (1up.com)
- Draw Something Sucks, But Here’s Why Zynga Was Smart To Buy and Not Clone It (techcrunch.com)
Online social gamers will have some new clues to resolve when Blackwood and Bell Mysteries launches on Facebook Wednesday.
The new hidden-object game from publisher Playdom and the makers of Gardens of Time — named by Facebook as the site’s top game of 2011 — promises a deeper story starring James Blackwood and Catherine Bell, a British and American detective team.
“The characters and storyline you will find in Blackwood and Bell Mysteries evolve the hidden-object genre and provide players with a more immersive gaming experience,” says the game’s producer, Joey Klein. “Blackwood and Bell should offer a familiar game-play experience to Garden of Time players but with the addition of a deeper narrative and darker mystery theme, which we hope players will enjoy. We have also incorporated more social-play components, such as challenging a friend to solve a timed scene and sharing important evidence with your friends to help solve a case.”
Strange Random Mystery Quote:
“I would rather live in a world where my life is surrounded by mystery than live in a world so small that my mind could comprehend it.” – Harry Emerson Fosdick (American clergyman 1878-1969)
- Blackwood & Bell Mysteries on Facebook puts a magnifier on story (games.com)
- Playdom looks for second hidden object hit with Blackwood & Bell Mysteries (insidesocialgames.com)
- Trendspotting: Why hidden object games are hot on Facebook (games.com)
- Marvel: Avengers Alliance on Facebook packs a wham and a thwhack (games.com)
- Zynga Rivals Playdom’s ‘Gardens Of Time’ With Treasure-Finding Game ‘Hidden Chronicles’ (readwriteweb.com)
- Facebook builds European social games team following startups’ success (guardian.co.uk)
- The Fight For Facebook: Mickey Mouse Takes On Zynga’s Bulldog (readwriteweb.com)
- Zynga’s Hidden Chronicles on Facebook: Our guide to getting started [Video] (games.com)
- Playdom’s Gardens of Time bests Zynga offerings as most-played Facebook game (vg247.com)