Omgpop Asks Players to Draw My Thing
Late last year, Omgpop moved onto Facebook with Cupcake Corner, a restaurant tycoon simulation akin to Zynga’s Restaurant World. Though Cupcake Corner appears to have reached the pinnacle of its popularity and has begun a slow decline, Omgpop shows no signs of following suit. January’s announcement of $10 million in additional investment to integrate with Facebook and iPhone has resulted in bringing what is arguably Omgpop’s most popular title, the tragicomically named Draw My Thing, to Facebook.
Draw My Thing is a fairly straight-forward online version of Hasbro’s Pictionary. Groups of two–to-seven players attempt to guess what is being drawn. Different colors, varying pencil widths, paint fill and other methods of helping the player to complete the image are available but with 60 seconds on the clock it is rare that they are used. If no one has guessed by 30 seconds, the word (not phrase) begins to fill in; if the word is guessed, both the person drawing and those who guessed correctly earn points.
Monetization is achieved through the purchase of the ability to choose a different term to be drawn, buying extended time, or buying hints in the form of letters before they become available to the room. Every three games a Super Tool unlocks – but only for that instance. I was given the option to purchase a t-square (yeah! straight lines with a mouse) for 15 Facebook credits; refuse and the offer becomes unavailable for at least three more games. The immediacy and utility are strong motivators to purchase these Super Tools.
A successful answer to the question of how to match and begin a multi-player synchronous game on Facebook has to date, been out of reach. Omgpop has solved this elegantly with lobbies, hosted by the players, started by the players (small or large groups), and more importantly private games.
Private games are managed using Facebook chat. Upon starting, the player receives notification if any friends are in an active game. From here, the player starting the lobby can invite any friend who shows as available in Facebook chat through one of three ways: friends available through chat appear in a dropdown for bulk invite (though it doesn’t refresh); friends in active games can simply be click upon; a final option copies a link directly onto your clipboard. All of these use Facebook chat for notification either automatically, or in the case of the last by the player pasting a link into chat. The link does not work outside of Facebook.
In its native environment on omgpop.com – not in an iframe – Draw My Thing has a few additional customizations such as a cosmetic choice of pens or the ability to buy a vowel. None are particularly important or detract from the experience on a smaller canvas. The move has been done elegantly, with efficient lobby design and exemplary positioning for micro-purchases. Most impressive is the near linear growth curve of players older than the original audience since launch. What lies ahead for Omgpop and Draw My Thing is not finding an audience, but keeping it.