Zynga New York split into Mobile, Social studios with OMGPOP acquisition — gearing up for mobile publishing

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By AJ Glasser Comments

With today’s OMGPOP acquisition, Zynga New York is split firmly into two studios: Zynga New York Social and Zynga New York Mobile. OMGPOP CEO Dan Porter now heads up the latter as vice president and general manager.

The Zynga New York Mobile studio is made up of both OMGPOP and Astro Ape, which Zynga acquired late last year to work on Dream PetHouse. The OMGPOP team will continue to work on Draw Something for mobile and other future projects — one of which Business Insider confirms as crime-themed game The Street. Draw Something will also officially arrive on Facebook as a playable game sometime “soon,” though it’s clear the developer is waiting for fan feedback before making the complete cross-platform jump.

“Aren’t you going to ask me if it’s going to be Draw SomethingWithFriendsVille?” Porter demanded during a 10-minute follow-up call scheduled after today’s media briefing. “I’m going to answer you anyway — if you don’t like the direction of the game as a player, then hit me up on Twitter and tell me what you think. I read every single thing people write about the game. We want to make games people want to play.”

OMGPOP has a history of trying various game types on different platforms to see what gets traction. On Facebook, its games have ranged from restaurant sim Cupcake Corner to the more arcade-y Pool World Champ. On mobile, it’s been pet sim Puppy World, puzzle game Boom Friends and now, most recently, Draw Something. The developer even has a true cross-platform HTML5 game, Gem Rush. Though each of these titles may have achieved traction in their respective markets at one time or another, only Draw Something stands out as a real hit.

“Every game you release you think is going to be massive or you wouldn’t waste your time making it,” Porter explained. “The only thing you can do to be successful in this space is make a lot of games. Every game we’ve made on Facebook — we basically [took] assumptions, put it out there, learned a ton…  The kinds of things you learn are so subtle. You see what doesn’t engage people. Draw Something has something from literally every game you’ve mentioned.”

As for what will happen to OMGPOP’s other games on mobile and social, Porter said he hadn’t thought about it yet. In the past, Zynga has sunsetted the games of its acquired studios unless said studio was specifically acquired for a particular game — like Newtoy and Words With Friends. Draw My Thing presents Zynga a unique challenge as it both is and isn’t the “same” as its mobile and much more successful sibling, Draw Something.

“We’re still trying to figure it out,” Porter said. “Draw My Thing can be really fun, but we nailed it more [with Draw Something]. All the things that work in the mobile version would [ideally] work in the Facebook version.”

Joining in on the call was Zynga Chief Mobile Officer David Ko, who wasn’t able to tell us much given that the company is in another quiet period during its secondary offering. He did say, however, that Zynga will soon opening up publishing to mobile titles — thought he wasn’t able to say if that would just be for native platforms, for Facebook’s HTML5 platform or for the Zynga.com platform, which currently doesn’t have a mobile games component.

“Our goal is to offer our players our games anywhere,” Ko said. “Due to the nature of the game and how popular it’s become, if they want [Draw Something] on HTML5, we’ll bring it there. We do that with all our games. We launched CityVille on HTML5 as well, but I don’t think anybody picked up on it. We push on that platform even if we don’t make a big splash on it.”