Yesterday I revoked Draw Something’s access to my Facebook account and finally deleted the game from both my iPhone and my tablet, after almost a month and a half not playing it. Not because I don’t like the idea of this game–after all, I’ve played it with my friends for a peak of three weeks. Not because the game soon lost its fad among my friends–there are always strangers you can play with. The real reason is explained in the post: its evolvement from an almost perfect number one App store game to one that adds too many unnecessary ingredients which arouse my aversion.
The idea of the Draw Something game is by every means a wonderful one. You choose from one of the three given words and “draw something” to let your friend guess. It evokes your long lost childhood interest and helps you hone your skill at sketching simple ideas. Depending on your style and ability, you can drawing anything you want–ranging from a fake Beckham to writing something simply as “I don’t know, here’s the word literally.” Simple and addictive, isn’t it?
OMGPop has won, in terms of money and influence. The app rocketed to the top of the app store soon after its release, the user base of this game jumped to 50M in only 50 days, and further more, the company successfully sold itself to Zynga at the price of 200 million dollars, in less than two months of the game release. There are also numerous sites dedicated to the game, either helping people guess the words, or hinting on how to draw. This is simply impressive.
OMGPos has failed, however, in terms of an app.
Failure I: Privacy
I noticed that after an update of this game, it tried to re-authenticate my Facebook account. Something unpleasant must have happened, I said to myself. I approved the request, but checked my Facebook settings immediately without drawing or guessing anything.
Not surprisingly, in addition to my basic Facebook account information, this time, the game would like to “post to my timeline on my behalf”. WTH. It is just a drawing game I play with my friends. Why do OMGPop think they can represent me saying what I say on my Facebook timeline?
I revoked the access to posting to my timeline from this game, and the next time I open this game, it asks me to authenticate again. I stopped playing it until some of my friends called me to guess what they’ve drawn. I had to give this game temporary access each time. But I said to myself: dare this game post anything on my timeline, it is gone for sure.
Fortunate for the game, that did not happen. I noticed that each time I finish a drawing or guessed something, there was in addition a textbox asking me to say something. I never did. I realized this is the part the “post to my timeline” feature is for. But I don’t have to. I appreciate my friends’s drawing by trying to draw better, not by broadcasting “awesome” to the world.
Failure II: Advertisement Everywhere
Before playing this game, I do not know any characters from Jersey Shore, I do not know “Someone like you”, I do not know Outcast–well, thanks to Draw Something, now I know it’s a 2010 movie which has only rating 5.2 on IMDb.
Why do I have to know these only because I would like to play with my friends? Maybe Jersey Shore is great, maybe “Someone like you” is great, maybe Outcast is not that bad, but I don’t care when I am drawing. I don’t like to google who whose people are and then draw.
I do not know why OMGPop is so keen to putting ad words in the game. Isn’t it already enough to show me ads each time I have done a drawing or a guess? (I have to admit, OMGPop has worked hard in displaying those ads, sometimes I don’t even see a skip / continue button to let the ads disappear.)
Failure III: Limited Word List
Since I play with more than 40 friends at the peak time, there are many words that I’ve drawn more than once. For some of them, I think I’ve drawn them even more than 10 times. Isn’t it a simpler thing to add more words in the list than to add ads? I feel surprised that the pro version of the game claims more words in the list as one reason to upgrade.
After playing for a while, I saw words that I’ve drawn before appear quite often. This probably is the main reason that the fad of this game gets lost. After all, we are not da Vinci who would like to practice drawing skills by portraiting an egg thousands of times; we are just for fun. (I knew the da Vinci story is fake, but you know what I mean.)
I have to say I see a greedy face of the developers behind the nicely designed UI of this game. They have my personal information on Facebook (which I seldom give access to), they advertise everywhere they can with every means, and it’s even not enough for them after they have had a $200 million sell.
Maybe it’s not OMGPop’s fault. Maybe it’s Zynga’s idea. If this was the case, then good for Zynga. It has tasted its own bitterness by seeing a steady loss of users. Perhaps Zynga can use its even larger user base to revive this game, or it may compensate the potential loss in revenues from other games, but definitely not from me.
Bye Draw Something. Good luck Zynga.
Update: Not surprisingly, Zynga has seen a sharp plummet in their shares in its Q2 report, and even drags Facebook stocks. See the news at Reuters.