Ok, I could endlessly watch Angelina Jolie run through a (tomb) temple with or without friends. Temple Run and Temple Run 2, both created by Imangi, are really not my thing. This, however, is clearly not the trend. Imangi enjoyed over 50 million downloads of Temple Run 2 in just two weeks’ time. They’ve also signed partnership agreements with Disney to bring Temple Run: Brave and Temple Run: Oz to their shared public. Clearly, I’m not in the majority. A majority of people who don’t care for the endless runner genre.
That lack of interest of mine is also not shared by Zynga Inc (NASDAQ:ZNGA) who launched their first foray into the genre today when they released Running with Friends for the iOS today. Well, released in Canada at least. The U.S. Version won’t hit the iTunes Store for about a month.
“We wanted to take our With Friends brand and move it into another category,” said Zynga’s Travis Boatman in an interview with GamesBeat. Running With Friends, did not miss the opportunity to place their game amongst the fun, yet often deadly Running of the Bulls held each year in Pamplona, Spain. The new “runner” is a collaboration between Zynga Inc (NASDAQ:ZNGA) and Eat Sleep Play a console game designer.
“They wanted to move into mobile and partner with us,” said Justin Cooper, Director of Running with Friends at Zynga “They shared our vision of mobile gaming. They were a phenomenal partner, though they naturally tended toward a darker game. We shifted them to what we though was cute and funny.” Just like the actual festival where the inherent danger is often talked down. And there is nothing wrong with this; it’s cute, fun, and challenging and will sell more to what Zynga calls its “purple audience” a near 50/50 gender split.
Just like Scramble with Friends and Words with Friends it’s easy to challenge and message your friends while watching yourself move up and down the leader-board.
Zynga Inc (NASDAQ:ZNGA) is often criticized by many as simply copying the success of others. At least in this case Justin Cooper disagrees “Most of the other experiences we saw were lonely,” Cooper said. “This is a lot more competitive than a standard With Friends game. What’s wonderful about this category is that it is so simple.”
Whether dressed as a ninja, ballerina, or Zombie you will enjoy endless hours of running if you have enough coins, one of the means by which Zynga Inc (NASDAQ:ZNGA) has monetized the game along with advertisements and the ability to pay to turn off said advertisements.