Smartphone games like Draw Something rose fast because its social approach and fell because … yes, it’s social approach.
In this Forbes article Zynga Nightmare Continues Tero Kuittinen tells us how the popular smartphone game company Zinga is struggling to keep people playing Draw Something.
Zynga recently acquired OMGPOP, a small company that created the game Draw Something. This game in a matter of days became a hit and was played by millions of people.
But here it seems that what easy comes easy goes. People are stopping to play Draw Something.
Tero argues that
Not only may it be impossible to predict the future success of games based on the first months of sales. But the quality of upgrades may ultimately turn out to have a decisive role in determining long-term success of a title.
From my point of view Tero gets part of this wrong.
He gets right that predicting the success of a game is difficult. It is not a precise science.
What he gets wrong is that upgrades played a role in the long-term success of games. In the case of Draw Something or WordFeud, their social approach is responsible for killing the game.
How smartphone games like Draw Something rise?
I read in Mashable that this game is getting hot. Next thing I do is to download the app and try to play with it. But I need a friend to play against. It’s not a single player game.
So I spam my friends with invitations, some of them will accept and spam forward to their contacts.
Draw Something grew socially because in order for a person to play, two have to download the app.
The same applies to stopping to play. If one player quits, the other cannot continue playing. In the extreme case, if one person stops playing, two will end up deleting the app.
And here lays the reason for the rapid decline on Draw Something. After a 2 hour spree of non-stop drawing, we get caught up by the busyness of our daily life and after a while we forget we were playing with a friend. We get bored and delete the app.
The same cascading effect of that makes people to massively download the smartphone games, also makes people massively uninstall them.