DrawSomething: Gotta Draw 'Em All!

You must have seen them around, hunched over their smartphones, whispering secretively as fingers move across screens and laughing wildly for no apparent reason. My guess is that the person […]

You must have seen them around, hunched over their smartphones, whispering secretively as fingers move across screens and laughing wildly for no apparent reason. My guess is that the person who, just seconds ago, you thought was a lunatic escaped from the local mental hospital, is actually just one of 35m people across the world who’ve downloaded the latest app craze; DrawSomething.

What happens if you put down your phone for just a few seconds!

DrawSomething is a phenomenon. It’s a fresh take on the age old game of Pictionary, whereby players working in teams would draw a word for teammates to guess. Correct guesses mean you advance around the board… you get the idea. Created by the nearly bankrupt NY firm, OMGPOP, just 6 weeks ago, DrawSomething is now the No. 1 downloaded free app in 85 countries with a whopping 1bn drawings going through their servers last week.

DrawSomething was also the No. 1 downloaded paid-for app until the latest Rovio offering, ‘Angry Birds Space’ hit the virtual shelves last week.

According to industry tracker, AppData, DrawSomething is used by around 13.3m people A DAY! 

In this age of smartphones, this new app (available from the App Store and Google Play/formerly Android Market) is just about EVERYWHERE! Pubs, airports, buses, even in particularly boring lectures… the world has literally gone bonkers for this new game! The panel of editors and writers here at the Soton Tab are also besotted with this game and, if you scroll down, you can see a snapshot of a game I played with Tom Steadman a few nights ago – a particularly bad attempt at a Furby.

The concept is perfectly simple, you can download the app for free or pay 67p for the full version (giving you a few new words and 600 credits, to spend on acquiring a new set of colours for your palette), log in through your Facebook and away you go.

You’ll be given a choice of three words to draw, the easiest being worth 1 coin, the hardest, 3. You are given a starter colour set of black, red, blue and yellow, with the option of expanding your set by spending 249 credits in the “shop”. But, as a word of warning, especially if you’re playing against a random – which, if you’re anything the addict I am, will come very soon – beware of the coin thieves that not only don’t bother drawing their word, but go for the highest number of coins and write the word instead, willing you to give them the satisfaction (and UNDESERVED COINS!). My rule is once and you’re outta my game, and it’s a quick resign and goodbye from me.

It seems that 85m people can’t be wrong, and it’s no surprise to hear that OMGPOP has been sold to Zygna, the new owner of similarly addictive and time-draining titles such as Words with Friends and Cityville for a whopping $180m (£113m) just last week.

The beauty of the game is that there are a number of spatial variations in words, for example a player in Stockholm might be given the word IKEA, in London it could be snog, and in the US Tebow – a New York Jets American football player.

Whether this new craze will overtake Angry Birds in terms of total downloads remains to be seen but for now, DrawSomething is the word on everyone’s lips, and the app on everyone’s iPad, iPhone, HTC or Samsung. My only question is, when will the tide turn? For some, the bubble has already burst, but this doesn’t stop me from having an Easter holiday free of work while I struggle to wean myself off my addiction of having 18 DrawSomething games running around the clock!

As with any drawing game, there is a huge variety of artistic talent and below, you can see some of the best, middling and downright mediocre offerings from across the globe. Try and guess which one is from ashamed Opinions Editor, Tom Steadman…[HINT – It’s the 3rd one down… apparently of a Furby!].