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‘Draw Something’ no longer such a big draw

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Once the belle of the mobile gaming ball, smash hit Draw Something appears to be running out of ink.

A recent report by Appdata shows an alarming drop in players of the blockbuster social drawing game, with the number of Daily Active Users plummeting from 14.3 million in April to 9.2 million as of May 7 (Note: Appdata tracks Facebook logins, not total users.)

First released in February, the Pictionary-like app was downloaded over 50 million times in its first 50 days, topping both the free and paid app charts on iOS and Android. So explosive was its growth that by the end of March, Draw Something developer OMGPOP was purchased by social game kingpin Zynga for a whopping $200 million, thrilling the 40 or so OMGPOP employees while leaving the rest of us scratching our heads over what seemed like a surprisingly brash move.

It might turn out to be a lot worse than just brash. Zynga's stock has dropped precipitously since the March announcement of the OMGPOP purchase, perhaps due to investors wondering what, exactly, the company was thinking.

The rest of the games industry is wondering the same. EA boss John Riccitiello took a shot at Zynga during a recent investor call, saying that EA would never 'buy a brand or an instant one-hit wonder.' And some analysts were unconvinced it was a smart move at the time.

"I'm frankly really surprised Zynga would go out and spend this kind of money," Sterne Agee analyst Arvind Bhatia told Reuters when news of the acquisition broke.

The sad truth is that Zynga's purchase and the game's loss of players is likely just coincidental. The flavor-of-the-month nature of the App Store often leads to rollercoaster-like rides for apps up and down the charts; much of this could be attributed simply to people growing bored with the game (or, more likely, finding it too time-consuming to keep playing).

But Zynga isn't taking news of the player exodus sitting down. To generate some extra revenue, the company is reportedly selling words to advertisers. The NHL, for instance, bought words like 'puck' and 'hat trick' to coincide with the Stanley Cup playoffs. Brands are expected to feature big as well — don't be surprised if you have to draw 'Pringles' soon.

If, that is, you're still drawing at all.

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