Feb 15, 2011
One of iOS’s biggest games has been Words With Friends. The Scrabble-inspired word game, developed by Newtoy, has been successful enough that it has been a perennial top selling app on the iPhone App Store, including reaching back up to #5 this past week as the Verizon iPhone 4 released. Newtoy has become successful enough because of the game to have collaborated with major mobile publisher ngmoco:) on social farming game We Rule (which has become a lucrative franchise for ngmoco:) on iOS), and this past year, Newtoy was acquired by social gaming giant Zynga, of Farmville fame. A big impetus for this acquisition is to get Words With Friends outside of the confines of iOS, as Words With Friends is now available on Android.
The Android version of Words With Friends is the same Words With Friends that iOS gamers know and love – the same board, same modified word list (meaning all the QI and ZA that you can handle), and of course, the asynchronous multiplayer. This means you can play against your friends or random opponents, with the ability to get push notifications for when it’s your turn. Impressively, this is crossplatform multiplayer between iOS and Android users, and if you’ve played the game on iOS, then your same account works on Android. Unlike the iOS version, where only the device that you logged in to last would get notifications of games, Android will still get notifications of moves.
The game is otherwise identical to the iOS version in gameplay, though the only version currently available is the free ad-supported version. It will be interesting to see the effect that this has on the cottage industry of similar asynchronous multiplayer word games on Android that tried to largely replicate what Words With Friends did on iOS, now that the ‘real’ thing is now on Android. As well, this is a statement about the Android gaming market: it’s big enough to justify seeing some of the biggest titles on iOS make its way to Android, but we haven’t seen any notable titles form on Android and then jump over to iOS. As well, it appears that piracy is such a concern on Android that publishers are preferring to go with the free ad-supported route and apparently bypassing the paid route entirely, as Words With Friends and Angry Birds have both done. But for now, Android users can now take part in the same addiction iOS users have gotten to know over the last year. We’re sorry.