Interview: "Words With Friends" Creator On The NY Giants' Pre-Super Bowl Obsession

Interview: "Words With Friends" Creator On The NY Giants' Pre-Super Bowl Obsession

Besides locker room meditation and air travel disruption, have you heard of any other ways people use the game that surprise you?

The big thing that I hear happening now is it's kind of invading schools. So like, you know, colleges and high schools are sort of getting taken over by the game, and just having these rivalries going on between classmates and between all the various parts of the school, teachers and students, and that's awesome. And I wonder if it could turn into a sport or something between schools? We've been tossing around some cool ideas for that, too.

The other thing that I think is just awesome that we hear all the time is how, you know, the game is—obviously playing it is a big part of it, but socializing using the game is another big outlet. Because it's kind of like Words with Friends gives people an excuse to talk—they might not otherwise challenge each other, but they're willing to start a game with each other and keep communication going that way. So it's almost like this sort of lower commitment version of text messaging or email or something.

Have you heard of people using it as a pickup line?

Oh yeah, all the time. We were just making a joke about this the other day because we've heard from our players, "If I'm at a bar, I won't give somebody my phone number, but I'll give them my Words with Friends handle." You know? Like, "Maybe you could start a game with me, and then we'll see how that goes, and then maybe I'll give you my phone number." I don't know if that's an intelligence test or what it is, but it sounds pretty good to me.

Do you think it's a more stimulating or educational kind of game than others kids in high school might be playing together?

Oh definitely. And there was a thread that was just going on where Mark Pincus [Zynga CEO] was actually talking about his, I don't remember if it was his daughter or—

[PR clarifies:] His niece.

Yeah, his niece was playing the game and, you know, she's really young I think, and was just really enjoying it. And you know, then I've got my mother-in-law who's 85 playing it. A game that spans that sort of, just crosses all boundaries of age and demographic and whatever is—it's just phenomenal. And yeah, I think it's absolutely better for those children's minds than some other things that they might be doing. I mean, I think it's pretty amazing, right?

If the Giants win, will you take credit for that?

[Laughing] Yes. At least partially. I think we've got to share a little bit of credit. And we're sending some stuff their way too, just to thank them for being fans of the game. You know, we love that, and we wish them the best of luck at the Super Bowl.

What kind of stuff?

Some t-shirts and other schwag and things like that.

[PR:] We're sending them shirts with the "New York Giants" in the Words with Friends tiles.

Yeah, actually, I saw that yesterday. 

Will you take credit if they lose, too?

[Laughing] Um, yeah, I guess I would have to, if we're being fair about it. Because maybe they were too distracted by the game, and people are going to blame me. I suppose I could take a little credit for that too. 

It could backfire.

Yeah, right? And then I'm sorry, I'm very sorry to all the Giants fans out there if that happens. 

Tags: words-with-friends, zynga, super-bowl-xlvi, football, new-york-giants
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