ZyngaVille

Zynga Tries Again With Draw Something 2, a Celebrity-Endorsed Social Network

Silicon Alley's Cinderella story gets a Seacrest slipper.
Screen shot 2013-03-18 at 5.55.50 PM

(Photo: Twitter/RyanSeacrest)

Celebrity revelations rarely arrive without some behind-the-scenes orchestration, which is what we imagine happened this afternoon when Ryan Seacrest “gave away Zynga’s secret,” by outing the launch of Draw Something 2 on Twitter.

After all, Mr. Seacrest’s production company RS Productions also happens to have acquired the rights to the Draw Something game show.

Dan Porter, the former CEO of OMGPOP and current general manager for Zynga New York, confirmed existence of Draw Something 2, also by Twitter.

It’s unclear whether the original Draw Something will remain in existence. But TechCrunch reports that the sequel will function more like a social network, “where players get to keep and show off their drawings instead of having them disappear into the game.”

We hear that a “gallery” of art was the most requested feature among Draw Something users and that Mr. Seacrest will be just one of many celebrity partners for the new version. That would extend Zynga’s emphasis on social engagement beyond the one-to-one of Draw Something’s original Pictionary-esque game.

This marketing and merchandising-friendly approach also falls in line with a vision of the Draw Something brand articulated by Mr. Porter back when there was a little more strain on his relationship with Zynga. In the past, he’s referred to Angry Birds as a model for Draw Something. Rovio’s game sells everything from plush toys to lunch boxes and, whaddya know, a new animated series.

Last fall, Zynga attributed steep losses in part to a $95.5 million write-down on its $183 million acquisition of OMGPOP. But as Business Insider notes, Mr. Porter’s New York studio “is the only one the company is keeping open after a recent round of office closures.” A little celebrity sheen goes a long way, especially if Draw Something can figure out how to get some of the 10 million to 20 million people who reportedly play the game every month to join its new social network–especially since the Facebook fire hose ain’t what it used to be.

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