Draw Something is such a massive success that Zynga bought its developer, OMGPOP, for an estimated $200 million – but like Rovio, OMGPOP had plenty of misses before its one big hit.
“This was our 35th or 36th game. It was a culmination of all of the things we learned from our mistakes,” OMGPOP CEO Dan Porter told VentureBeat.
“I tell investors that if you want to invest in a startup, you have to expect the first couple of games won’t work. The team has to gel. They have to learn how to work together.”
The executive said OMGPOP did “quasi-iterative play-testing” for Draw Something, but also “made a game we wanted to play”.
“We really wanted to basically a risk and try something different. There is a lot of me-too stuff out there. There are a lot of games. We saw a huge opening out there and no one besides Zynga was in that space,” he said.
Porter said the social drawing game took four years to take off, during which OMGPOP fussed over it like a mother hen.
“We have people watching Twitter for all of the comments and if somebody said anything about it, we heard it. You might have four readers on Twitter. But if you say something about the game, we totally read it and totally respond,” he said.
Work continues on the phenomenal hit.
“We can focus on what are the features we can do that will make the game even more social,” Porter said of where the team intends to go next.
“The second thing is you are always trying to make the game run faster. You are always trying to improve it. We can add little things that will make you smile. That stuff is really important to us.”