Draw Something largest mobile game on Facebook by DAU, Zynga still leads canvas game pack

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By Inside Mobile Apps Comments

OMGPOP’s Draw Something is near the top the charts on our AppData traffic tracking service with 10.8 million daily active users, making it the second-largest app on the Facebook Platform by DAU behind Microsoft Live. We’ve been tracking it for the past couple weeks on Inside Social Games and over on Inside Mobile Apps.

Given its meteoric rise, it’s important to note Draw Something runs only as a native mobile app and is not playable on Facebook.com’s “canvas” where most social games reside. On these terms, the largest “Facebook game” is still Zynga’s Words With Friends — which incidentally can be played both on the social network and via native mobile apps. Facebook Platform APIs enable apps running outside the social network to integrate with players’ Facebook data and social graph. Not all apps and games that do this are actually playable on the Facebook.com canvas, though these games still have an official Facebook page where fans can engage with the game’s community. The 10.6 million DAU we’re seeing in AppData is the number of people on Android and iOS that logged into the mobile game via Facebook.

Note that Draw Something’s Facebook stats also don’t represent all of the game’s players because the app also allows users to login with email instead of Facebook. OMGPOP vice president Eric von Coelln tells Inside Social Games that a “large percentage” of users play the game without logging into Facebook at all — which just makes the game’s numbers that much more impressive.

So why is the distinction important? Because mobile and social games are different app ecosystems serving somewhat different and partially overlapping markets. A canvas game on Facebook is usually a different experience from a mobile game on Android or iOS. Users interact with the games using a mouse and keyboard interface, they have different expectations of gameplay experience and Facebook games monetize at different rates even when there’s price parity between a mobile and Facebook version of the same game. Comparing Draw Something to, say, Tetris Battle without a mental asterisks would be comparing apples to oranges unless and until both games became cross-platform experiences for mobile and social.

Most important of all, a game that hits big on mobile is not a guaranteed success on Facebook, and vice-versa. And as TechCrunch rightly points out, what goes up can just as easily come down — and in mobile, games go through the rise-and-fall cycle much more quickly compared to Facebook games.

Incidentally, these are the top 10 Facebook games by DAU as recorded by AppData that are playable on the Facebook.com canvas:

Name DAU
1. Words With Friends 8,600,000
2. CityVille 8,200,000
3. Hidden Chronicles 7,200,000
4. Texas HoldEm Poker 6,900,000
5. CastleVille 6,700,000
6. Bubble Witch Saga 5,900,000
7. FarmVille 5,800,000
8. Diamond Dash 4,600,000
9. Tetris Battle 3,800,000
10. Bejeweled Blitz 3,300,000

OMGPOP says there are no plans to launch a Facebook version of Draw Something at this time.

This story originally appeared on our sister site, Inside Social Games.