December 22, 2014

Why I've given up on Draw Something...

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If you’re like me, you installed Draw Something around one month back and subsequently found yourself wasting all your free time sketching pictures of sailboats, Tupac, and kites.  I’ll admit it, I was hooked from the beginning and couldn’t stop trying to get coins to purchase new color palettes.  I simply loved the challenge of guessing poor drawings with fat lines almost as much as I enjoyed the hangman aspect.  Flash forward a few weeks and now I don’t even touch it.

As much as I would like to blame other apps like Temple Run or Instagram for diverting my attention, it comes down to a flawed app.  Don’t get me wrong, I quite like the app for its simple, catchy premise.  On the other hand, after extended time with the game, the shortcomings become painfully obvious.  While most of these flaws are expected to be addressed in future updates, the ever-ticking clock is working against OMGPOP/Zynga.  The longer we go without even a minor tweak, the more likely the user base will move on to a new game or revert back to their old faves.

[quote_left] I’ll now go days without playing just because the game becomes “out of sight, out of mind” for me. [/quote_left] What’s wrong with the app?  Quite a bit, actually.  Call me “ahead of the curve” or whatever, but I’ve hit a point where the game doesn’t entice me any longer.  After hundreds and hundreds of drawings and guessing, I have been able to pick up every color palette.  In the process, I’ve seen all of those 900 words that come with the paid version of the app.  I’ve encountered every word in the app’s lexicon and can often guess the word before a drawing is half finished.  Many of my “opponents” have done the same thing, guessing my drawings within seconds.  If you haven’t reached this point, you will soon.  For this very reason, I have stopped putting so much attention to detail in my pictures.

Considering that Android has multi-function capability and can run apps in the background, I’m shocked and appalled that Draw Something does not have notifications.  I’ll now go days without playing just because the game becomes “out of sight, out of mind” for me.  Once I get back into it, I will blow through drawings without much care and collect the coins that come with it.  Then, it’s closed and forgotten.  Wash, rinse, repeat.

Speaking of coins, I have no idea why I even bother with medium or hard words any longer.  There’s no incentive for me to go for the tough stuff  now that I’ve got all the colors.  Bombs, you say?  No thanks, I’ve seen all the words there are and I’ve figured it out.  I don’t have a good answer as to what to do with the coins at this stage but they can, and will, become irrelevant for many players.

Looking at the download graph from the Google Play store it appears that the interest has waned for both the free and paid versions.  I can’t say definitively that this also means the number of active players is on the way down but I get that sense.  Talking with friends, colleagues, and a bunch of folks that I play Draw Something with, however, I do sense a tipping point.  People in my particular circle are not as active as they were two weeks ago, let alone one month back.  On the other hand, maybe OMGPOP and Zynga have seen a rise in daily use and don’t feel the need to rush the updates.

One thing is for certain, the developers need to swing into action quickly with updates to (the Android version of) Draw Something.  The sooner they switch to a cloud-based or expanded list of words the better. Integrating push notifications should be a priority, above both chat and picture exporting.  Failure to act quickly could result in millions of people one day talking about that game that was so hot for fifteen minutes in early 2012.

You Tell Us

Have any of you guys and gals also grown tired of Draw Something?  Do you think your interest level will pick up with new updates?  Is it something with long-term play-ability or has it already expired in your eyes?  I’d love to hear your stories and experiences with the game so please leave a comment below!  Also, please feel free to suggest items or features that could improve Draw Something.

 



  • Finn5975

    I couldn’t agree more.  I almost wish that they would leave the spaces so you know how many letters are in the word being drawn, but eliminate the actual letters.  Then you are forced to watch the drawing occur without having your mind easily identify simply by glancing at the letters given.  

  • Iucidium

    You know what I hate. People who use letters or write the answer.

  • Guest

    What you are recognizing is that apps are a new medium for a fad. A good parallel is any successful board game released over the past 30 years. It is launched, everyone wants to play because it is novel, then the allure fades and people are on to the next thing. 

    Trivial Pursuit was an almost perfect model of this, with people playing so often they learned the answers to all the questions. It was more complex than this particular incarnation of Pictionary, but still reached saturation. Do you know anyone who gets together with friends to play Trivial Pursuit all day any more?They can jazz up the game a bit, to keep it going, but like all fads, it fades. These days it just happens at lightening speeds.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Patrick-Steele/727028363 Patrick Steele

    I stopped playing it when the CEO publicly humiliated himself on Twitter by talking trash about a former employee. I can’t support a company that does stuff like that.

  • mrben

    Why does the back key exit the game?!? Why can I guess the other players word, and then go back to the main menu, rather than have to go on and draw mine immediately. :( I’ve only been playing for 24 hours, and already the implementation annoys me

  • Miles Thorne

    I’d like to see a ‘chat’ screen similar to Wordfued. It would be good to make comments and have some interactions even if it’s just WTF was that you just drew!

    • Jameslepable

      I always write a comment when it’s my turn if the guess was so bad etc. Case in point I drew a picture of a fan and some mail and they didn’t even guess.

  • MagicMiguel

    For some reason, notifications must be exponentially harder to code on Android because all of these Zynga games have nice push notifications on iOS, but either lack them completely or do background (battery-sucking) polling on Android.  Or maybe C2DM (Android’s push notification system) is one of the best kept developer secrets?

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  • http://twitter.com/timmyjoe42 tim bennett

    I removed it because it was killing my battery.

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  • C_martin_1981

    Everyone’s comments hit the nail on the head! Word database is small, players cheat by writing words, coins become useless once you have all the colors, there isn’t any competition, updates like notifications/undo/chat came way to late for Android, app layout/workflow was restrictive.

    I deleted it a couple weeks ago after realizing that the only time I played it was on the john

  • claire

    yep I totally agree with this post. i started playing it cos all my friends were playing it. for the first few weeks i was so hooked on it because i really suck at drawing and it was fun just laughing at myself. but after awhile, i stopped playing because it got predictable what ppl were trying to draw and all the words never changed. in fact, so many of my friends stopped playing it altogether too. perhaps every week there could be newer words added in and the older ones taken out. and yes, i agree that there has to be a better reward system. maybe you get to unlock new sets of words. or there could be newer game modes. instead of just drawing words for a friend and working together, there could be competitive gameplay of some sort.

    overall, draw something has quite an interesting concept. it’s a real waste to see something like that grow stagnant. hopefully something can be done to save this game.

  • http://twitter.com/eliesheva liz

    100% agree. By the way, I figured out within 5 minutes if you don’t like the word choices on a turn, just exit and go back in. The words always seemed to easy. People cheating was a pain. And I didn’t even bother going for colors. Why isn’t there a timer? Or some sense of urgency? More of a competition? I think it’s a problem of investment… I don’t feel invested in making my picture amazing or rocking the game.

  • annmarie

    Im just curious when I play draw something can ppl save my profile pic on it at all?

  • mlenord

    Myself and my girlfriend have been forced to stop playing because neither of our devices will show the animation of our previous drawing, nor the drawing we are supposed to receive. Instead, Draw Something skips directly to the options we are to draw for the other person. ??? We no longer are privy to guessing the other persons drawing – we simply are locked into sending drawings that will never be seen, and never getting drawings that were crafted for us. Tried uninstalling and reinstalling – to no avail. Broken app is what we are left with, which = no longer playing.

  • Gail

    All of the above! But even more annoying is the fact that I am getting exactly the same words: king kong or Adele being the highest. How do I stop this? Another 24and I will delete it, it’s driving me nuts. Nice to chat t folk around the world though. Help, I am starting to hate the fabulous Adele lol

  • VP

    I had the freebie DrawSomething initially and enjoyed it. Then the issues started happening so I upgraded to the paid version. It was fine and now I can’t even open the game! What gives, people??
    We need new words and less advertising, plez.

    • Em

      When did draw something first come out

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  • Shane Martin

    I’m always running out of ink and it is so annoying. I see people do awsome work with tons of ink and overlapping colors. I can’t come close because 5 minutes in I’m out of ink and sends the drawing incomplete. It sucks.

  • heiltje

    Came across this post and one year later still have same issue.

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