An Early Look at Words With Friends for Facebook

By Randy Nelson Comment

Words with Friends is a traditional word-forming board game from Zynga. It launched in beta last month after two years of availability on Apple’s iOS based devices and a shorter stint on Android devices.

As the game launched just today, it hasn’t yet been registered by our traffic-tracking service AppData. Facebook reports that the game currently enjoys 4,426,598 monthly active users.

A play-alike of Hasbro’s classic board game Scrabble, Words With Friends pits two players against one another in a contest to see who can rack up a higher score by creating words out of letter titles on a 15×15 game board. Players are given seven tiles at a time and must place two or more either horizontally or vertically, with all but the first word played required to utilize at least one of the existing letters on the board. Once played, the points assigned to each letter are added to the player’s score. Score multipliers exist in the form of special titles that, if used when forming a word, either multiply the point value of the letter placed on them or the entire word. Some letters, such as “Z” and “X” are worth more than others, and players will sometimes receive a blank letter tile that can be used as any letter they wish. The game ends when the 104 titles available at the outset are depleted.

Social features of Words With Friends on Facebook include the ability to invite friends to play games, and these opponents can be playing using Facebook, iOS or Android devices, making this a true cross-platform title. The game also sends reminders to friends that it’s their turn to play a word, and allows players to gloat on friends’ Walls when they’ve formed an especially valuable word. Like its mobile counterparts, the game has its own chat function, in addition to recommendations of friends to begin games with. Players can have multiple games running concurrently.

Zynga isn’t currently monetizing Words with Friends, and the game exists on mobile devices as either an ad-supported free version or paid version free of any in-app transactions. Since neither mobile version makes use of any power-ups or other such gimmicks, it seems unlikely the Facebook version would add them in order to become monetized in that fashion.

You can follow Words with Friends’ progress using AppData, our traffic tracking service for social games and developers.