Zynga nabs OMGPOP. Smart move?

Zynga has acquired OMGPOP, the maker of hit game Draw Something. What does this mean for both companies?

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    Zynga HQ in San Francisco. Zynga has acquired OMGPOP, a game maker.
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Mobile game giant Zynga Wednesday snapped up OMGPOP, the New York-based developer of a popular title called Draw Something. The price: Approximately $200 million, according to one source. In a blog post today, David Ko of Zynga praised the OMGPOP team and Draw Something, which he said would fit nicely alongside existing Zynga titles such as FarmVille and Zynga Bingo

"Draw Something is an amazing game; I think it’s one of the most social and expressive mobile games ever built," Ko wrote. "It’s intuitive and fun. It brings out creativity, a sense of nostalgia and child-like wonder. And most importantly, it’s inherently social. You learn about your friends and family as you play, and I love that the most requested feature to date has been people asking for the ability to save not just their own drawings, but those of their friends."

Fair enough. But $200 million is a steep price. Surely Zynga could have just built its own version of Draw Something? (For the uninitiated, Draw Something works as advertised: Users draw something, and other users guess what it is. Think: Digital Pictionary.)

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Well, over at TechCrunch, Josh Constine argues that if Zynga had built a Draw Something clone, it would have split the market – no good for Zynga. 

Moreover, Constine continues, "Zynga is in the midst of a major shift from being a web game company to a mobile game company. The company already has 240 million mobile users. Other than the talent from its acquisition of Words With Friends developer Newtoy, though, it doesn’t have enough mobile experts to make this shift. Acquiring OMGPOP fills Zynga’s ranks with proven mobile hitmakers." 

And as Ryan Lawler of Giga Om notes, Zynga isn't just getting Draw Something (although Draw Something is by far the most successful of its creations). It's also getting a team of programmers and 35 addition games, including Puppy World. 

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