Yesterday someone asked me the ubiquitous “what’s working in mobile social games?” question and I thought it was worth pointing out that a lot of the most popular games today outside of the physics genre (by reach and revenue) are social mobile versions of known popular board and parlor games adapted for asynchronous play on mobile devices. Four good examples below:
-Hanging with Friends (Zynga) –> Similar to Hangman (currently a top 10 free game in the US iOS store)
-Draw Something (OMGPOP) –> Similar to Pictionary (currently #1 on free games and top grossing in the US iOS store)
-Words with Friends (Zynga) –> Similar to Scrabble (now Zynga’s largest game with 9 million DAU and a definite money maker)
-Scramble with Friends (Zynga) –> Similar to Boggle (lower profile than the others, but the game has a solid following and is routinely in the top charts for free iOS games)
Oh, and there’s always poker, which I didn’t include here. Browse the top 25 charts in iOS and Android and you’ll see lots of games that are familiar childhood classics or parlor / party games.
I believe the moral of the story is that simple asynchronous games where players know the rules or basic game construct beforehand makes them accessible to a large audience and can be quite sticky. Makes it much easier to engage the casual or mass-market player when there aren’t new rules or mechanics to learn.
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