Game developer Zynga is launching a revised version of its once-popular Scrabble-like web game Words with Friends exclusively for Amazon Alexa today. The new game, called Word Pop, is a voice-based version of the word game that asks players to spell as many unique words as they can from a given six-letter bank across one-minute sessions. Players are scored based on the length of words and the total number of words.
Zynga says the game is designed for any Alexa-enabled device, including Echo speakers and other third-party Alexa devices. You can start a game by saying, “Hey Alexa, play Word Pop,” starting today.
“The beauty of Words With Friends is that even after ten years, we’re still discovering new ways for the franchise to bring joy to players around the world. We’re dedicated to experimenting with services such as Alexa and game modes like Word Pop, which gives players a familiar, yet novel experience,” Bernard Kim, Zynga’s president of publishing, said in a statement.
While Zynga may be best known today as a kind of social game haunted house of the pre-smartphone era, the company still has a sizable number of monthly active users (more than 30 million, as of last quarter) playing newer versions of its games — mostly Zynga Poker and Words with Friends 2 — on mobile devices.
The company still does support the browser and Facebook game format that made it famous, but it’s the success of its mobile titles and its acquisition strategy under CEO Frank Gibeau (who replaced co-founder Mark Pincus) that has pushed the company’s stock price closer to the all-time market high it enjoyed in 2012. That was before mismanagement and a mass user exodus to Android and iOS led to a huge stock decline and a half-decade of recovery attempts. Last week, Zynga announced its largest acquisition, paying $1.8 billion for Istanbul-based mobile firm Peak Games, maker of Toon Blast and Toy Blast.