Opinion Brief

Is Draw Something the next Words With Friends?

A new Pictionary-esque mobile game is keeping people glued to their screens. But does competitive sketching have the staying power of classic smartphone challenges?

Doodling is making the jump from the margins to the mainstream. Just five weeks since its release, the mobile game Draw Something has racked up over 12 million downloads and a phenomenal 7.1 million daily active users. It occupies the top free and paid game spot in both the U.S. Apple App Store and Android Market, and is generating 500,000 tweets per hour. Produced by gaming company OMGPOP!, the social app works much like Pictionary: Players are prompted to draw an item (be it a cow, a sandwich, or Beyonce) deemed easy, medium, or hard. If your friend interprets your finger scribble correctly, you earn coins and the option to purchase additional color palettes. Is Draw Something the next Words With Friends?

Yes, undoubtedly so: Combining the challenges of deciphering drawings and unscrambling words, this definitely rivals Words With Friends, says Tina Amini at Kotaku. The game is "unintentionally hilarious" — a painstakingly sketched poodle may look like nothing but a mess of lines. Sure, "you might curse the game for making you feel like you have chubby fingers," but what really makes Draw Something so "incredibly addictive" is a system of taking turns that's more collaborative than competitive — you and your opponent/partner will want to work together to get ahead."Draw Something, even if it looks like a two-year old’s work of art"

Playing on an iPhone is almost too tough: When you're playing on your iPhone's tiny screen, the drawings "can get a bit crowded," says Jason Parker at CNET, "forcing you to do more erasing." Though "the crudeness of the drawings is almost as funny as you try to guess the answer," it's still a flaw that might limit the game's appeal. If you have the luxury, "play Draw Something on an iPad." "Draw Something lets you draw with friends"

This is much bigger than Words With Friends: "If Draw Something can hold our attention now that it's got it, the game could become the most popular thing on mobile since those disgruntled birds," says Josh Constine at TechCrunch. Consider that it only took the game a few weeks to reach 12 million downloads; Instagram, one of the iPhone's biggest photo apps, required 14 months to reach that benchmark. As long as OMGPOP! integrates more social elements into the gameplay, Draw Something will undoubtedly get even bigger than it is — and it's already a "bona fide cultural phenomenon.""A picture's worth 12 million downloads: Draw Something is #1 on iOS and Android"

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