30 million downloads. 15 million people use it each day. It’s kicked Angry Birds right off their Number 1 perch. And it’s made its developer OMGPOP very, very rich indeed – according to TechCrunch’s Josh Constine, rich to the tune of the $200 million (give or take a few) that Zynga has apparently paid to buy OMGPOP.
It’s called “Draw Something” and it’s an interactive gaming application, based on a very simple concept: one player sketches out clues using their smartphone or tablet and the other tries to guess what the drawing represents.
Even though I’m no Picasso, oddly enough, I’m finding it really addictive, so I wasn’t surprised to find out that it only took five weeks to become the biggest game on Facebook.
So it’s fun, hugely popular, interactive and free. So what’s the problem then?
One of the commentators on the MacRumors forum explains:
“Let’s face it, a ton of people play this game. And frankly I’m wondering/worried about how much data it potentially uses. I’m deciding which data plan to go with (Either 1GB/20$ or 2GB/30$), my usage will be incredibly light on the go, mostly email and web browsing, no video. But I do worry how much data this game could chew through due to how it sends a video of each play. Any guesses/estimates of how much data a round of this game takes?”
Using another app “My Data Manager”, I ran a few tests to make the calculations and discovered that an average session consumed between 160-1,000KBs.
Since I play against 3-5 people every day (yes, I did mention that I’m addicted…) and approximately 10 games with each one, I calculated that I’m using up approximately 11 MB a day – this means I’m using over 300MB a month, just by playing “Draw Something”.
Players are starting to notice the drain on their data and are trying to find out more information all over the Internet:
Take “Lesley5”, who already put two and two together (and realized it added up to a lot):
“My daughter uses Draw Something on her iPhone 4S… admittedly we are in Australia, but do you know generally, if she`s not on free WiFi, will it use up much data? We have received a horrendous phone bill this month”
“How much data/internet does Draw Something use? I’m only on a 250mb data plan and I’m afraid to play/draw something without wifi because I don’t know how much data it uses...”
Lucky for Bob that he asked before starting to play, because if he was using the app as much as I do, he would have easily exceeded his data plan by the end of the month.
Apps like this,which are being released with no information about how much data they use up, are very bad news for the consumer’s pockets. This lack of information has to change – my guess is service providers will start to work harder to educate customers about measuring data usage, and also to proactively warn them when they’re reaching their limits. That’s because even if they’re relatively simple apps, when you add up the subsequent capacity demands, they’re also bad news for 3G networks struggling to deliver. And yet another reason for looking to wifi to reduce some of the load from mobile networks. As Informa’s Thomas Wehmeier explains:
“Wi-Fi should no longer be viewed solely as a complement to mobile networks, but increasingly should be looked at as a potential disruptive substitute”
In the meantime, keep drawing and having fun, but do keep an eye on your data usage too.
BLOGGER: SHAI SHAMIR