Fixing Draw Something…

There’s been a lot of discussion around Draw Something and Zynga’s purchase of the game.  Forbes recently reported that the game saw a 5M drop in Daily Active Users.   This is a problem but Forbes seem to focus mainly on the belief that users are tired of the game.  Gigaom has a more complete review with the acknowledgement that there are some technical issues with the game and the transition to the Zynga hosting.  I think the article down plays the issue and I think the following need to be addressed:

  1. Stability.  I know several people with the game that are completely unable to play or load it.  The game just crashes and they can’t play at all.  They don’t receive notifications and the game is unusable.  A quick search on Twitter shows several people suffering from this problem and it seems to effect the free version more than the paid version. 
  2. Turn Notifications.  The turn based notifications rarely work properly.  I often notice that after a turn I have to refresh my games (pulling down) so that my wife can see my latest drawing.  This seems to be a problem across many Zynga games but Draw Something is definitely worse than Words with Friends.  Often without notifications I go days thinking it’s the other person’s turn.
  3. Word List.  I’ve played about 100 games, mainly with my wife, and we’ve noticed a lot of repeat words.  This is simply stupid, we shouldn’t be getting duplicate words with such a small number of games. Zynga has announced a sponsorship program for words but I think overall the word vocabulary needs to be greatly improved.
  4. Game Mechanics.  The game is supposed to force you to use bombs to eliminate letters or choose different words.  In my experience neither of these is relevant.  You can skip a turn ( by not guessing ) or get different words by simply closing the app.  This breaks a lot of the game mechanics, and probably one of Zynga’s revenue sources.

My belief is that these issues are having a huge impact on the game, especially for people that simply can’t play because the game is crashing.  I think its too early to tell how badly Zynga has over-paid for the Draw Something game, but my feeling is that Draw Something with its co-operative play could be a real hit if executed well.

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