Zynga sketches out plan to buy Draw Something firm OMGPOP

Zynga sketches out plan to buy Draw Something firm OMGPOP
Michael French

By Michael French

March 21st 2012 at 7:45PM

Deal believed to be worth $210m, and is part of social giant's wider mobile push

Zynga has moved on the creator of mobile game of the moment, buying Draw Something publisher OMGPOP.

The acquisition is believed to be worth over $200m ($180m buy plus $30m to retain key staff).

Zynga describes the firm's drawing game - dubbed by some 'the most popular on the planet' given its huge number of user logging in via Facebook Connect - as a "cultural hit".

But it also gets 35 other smartphone brands as part of the buy.

Now part of the Zynga family, "OMGPOP will focus on building new mobile IP and strengthening its existing portfolio of fun and creative social games".

OMGPOP is not a new company. It began in 2006 as 'iminlikewithyou', a social network for people to meet and play games, but the company became social gaming website OMGPOP.com in 2009.

Since then it has launched a number of games - but Draw Something has been the breakthrough, moving to a phenomenon on iOS and Android in a matter of weeks. It only launched in February.

Earlier this week the craze was said to be makings $100,000 each day for its creators. By Friday, as many as 3,000 finger-drawn images were being sent each second, according to the New York Times.

"The OMGPOP team has created a game that's fun, expressive and engenders real social interaction," said Mark Pincus, founder and CEO of Zynga, in the official announcement.

"Draw Something has captured the imagination of millions of people around the world. We love the way they've worked playful and relevant culture into their games from Devo to Daft Punk, from Lin to Beckham. We're honored to have the opportunity to partner with and support such an innovative team of creative inventors."

Dan Porter, CEO of OMGPOP added: "Zynga offered us a chance to focus on Draw Something -- they know the power of the game and they planned with us how to let it keep rolling in the same fun, irreverent, social way that it has been. That was really important to us.

"The game will stay true to you and what you love, and it's my solemn vow that the magic of Draw Something will not change. I know without a doubt that Zynga is the right partner for OMGPOP.

"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. If you're a fan, a player of ours, I can't wait to show you what's in store -- it's going to be drawsome."

The move is also part of Zynga's wider push into mobile, where it is putting extra emphasis as it looks to remove dependancy on Facebook alone as its platform.

"At Zynga we're committed to building brands that we're proud of and that our players absolutely love," said David Ko, Chief Mobile Officer of Zynga.

"We want people to play our games and feel a fun and valuable social connection to their friends and family. 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. We're excited about the brands OMGPOP has developed to date and we look forward to supporting the team's creativity and helping scale their incredible games to an even bigger global audience."