Old Dogs Learn New Tricks

With Draw Something, NYC-Based OMGPOP Just Ousted Zynga As the Mayor of Facebook Games

Don't call it a comeback (they haven't been here before).
13674v19 max 250x250 With Draw Something, NYC Based OMGPOP Just Ousted Zynga As the Mayor of Facebook Games

via Crunchbase

OMGPOP, the New York-based casual gaming company founded all the way back in 2006, just had its first big breakout with Draw Something. In fact, according to the AppData leaderboard, which measures apps on the Facebook platform, Draw Something just surpassed Zynga’s Word with Friends in terms of daily active users.

Draw Something has 10.8 million daily active users logged in through Facebook, compared to Words with Friends 8.9 million. OMGPOP, which pivoted from its first concept, iminlikewithyou, in 2009, has released five Facebook games to date. But Draw Something is its first big hit. And how! A few days ago, the company told TechCrunch that Draw Something had passed 25 million registered users, was close to 1 billion ad impressions, and considering a TV show based on the game (which reminds us, where’s that Angry Birds movie, anyway?)

As TechCrunch notes, daily active users isn’t the same as monthly usage, where Zynga’s army of CityVille and Texas Holdem Poker addicts still reign supreme, “But game developers tend to focus on daily usage since it often correlates better with monetization.”

History has taught us with casual games, what goes up, can come down. (Anyone remember the Scrabulous? At one point, it was popular enough to inspire its own rip-off theme song.)

One thing is for certain, however. Facebook should be feeling nervous that the biggest games on its platform are played primarily on mobile devices. Says TechCrunch:

“This does not bode well for Facebook’s future gaming or platform revenues since it can’t earn a share of transactions in native iOS or Android games. Facebook even revised its policy a few weeks ago, saying that mobile web apps running inside a Facebook iOS app may only use iOS payment methods and may not reference or encourage Facebook Credits.”

On the heels of its success, OMGPOP CEO Dan Porter told Kim Mai-Culter that he’s in talks with both potential buyers and investors, but is focused on building Draw Something–good thing, considering recent reports of crashing in its latest iPhone review.

After all, that “heads down” approach, while Zynga’s busy monitoring its stock price post-IPO, may have won them the lead. “I drive by their offices and the employees are always playing pingpong,” reports Betabeat’s newest hire (and SF-resident) Jessica Roy. “You can see through the glass windows. Perhaps that’s why they’re getting bested by OMGPOP.”

Follow Nitasha Tiku on Twitter or via RSS. ntiku@observer.com