Posted by Julia Apr 2, 2012 Category: social entrepreneurism // Stories
Appropriation goes a long way — in art and in technology. Last week, Omgpop’s app that takes its inspiration from a classic board game paid off in an extremely lucrative deal with social media gaming giant Zynga. After the explosive success of its social game Draw Something, Zynga bought the small, struggling start-up for nearly $200 million. Omgpop was sitting on several flopped products, teetering on the edge of an empty bank account just a few months ago.
It’s the second analog-turned-digital hit that Zynga now owns, the first being the hugely popular Scrabble spin-off Words With Friends.
No one would expect most iPhone-toting college kids to hang out between classes and play Pictionary or Scrabble, but it’s another story when the games exist as extensions Facebook and smartphones. Our world has long gone digital and so have our board games. With even more dynamic energy, our social world has gone digital.
The reinvention of Pictionary didn’t just mean going digital, it meant going social. Like Words With Friends, Draw Something’s hit used the reputation of a simple, well-known game (everyone already knows how to play Pictionary) and powerful free marketing by requiring players to participate through social media. Draw Something’s success sprang from the visibility users gave it on Facebook and Twitter. Easy to use and familiar, yet newly social and digital. The combination seems spot-on; Omgpop released Draw Something less than two months before Zynga bought the entire company.
The opportunity for reinvention seems endless in technology. How many ideas are forgotten because their creators peg them as too unoriginal? Too simple? Think again: think simple and think about taking something old (maybe even out-dated) and using tech to make it new.
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