What’s old is new again. Zynga has slapped a fresh coat of paint on Words With Friends to bring the masses back. Yeah, I still have no idea how you’re going to use that ‘Q’. Good luck with that.
Mobile gaming is starting to show its maturity, with Words With Friends relaunching after five years. Zynga has already rolled out the refresh of its once popular Farmville game. Now iOS and Android users will be able to download the new Words With Friends. There’s a first, something appearing on Android at the same time as iOS.
Since debuting in 2009, Words With Friends is the top free game of all-time on Apple’s App Store. Over 7.7 billion games have been played, and that’s 7.7 billion reasons for a refresh.
Jonathan Knight, VP of Games at Zynga outlines some of the new features. “We want more ways to play,” says Knight. “They want the game to match their lifestyle. Mobile habits are changing. People want to play on their own schedule at any time.”
Easily the most requested feature was Solo Play. People grew tired of waiting on friends, and can now be matched with a computer-controlled opponent that will adjust skill level on how well you perform. If you’re a three-letter word genius, the computer will dial back it’s mastery of the dictionary.
To help you boost your vocabulary, there will be a dictionary and a word of the day function. Game stats will be available to players, as well as personal profiles. This will up the social factor of the game.
Design wise, the game looks sleeker. That’s needed in the world of HD quality displays on smartphones. Zynga developers wanted the game to look smarter, to make the users feel smarter.
This launch, along with Farmville’s relaunch is a part of a major company shift under CEO Don Mattrick. He was Xbox’s former head, and it looks like he’s taking that experience and applying it to mobile. It hasn’t translated well to Wall Street so far, with outlooks being cut. Long-term it could signal a turnaround for a company that was once the darling of the mobile space.
The new version of Words With Friends is available today on Apple’s App Store and on Android platforms.