The popularity of mobile gaming offers more than a friendly spelling competition on “Words With Friends,” as a new poll suggests romantic sparks are flying between the popular gaming tiles.
A Zynga poll timed for a Valentine’s Day release surveyed more than 100,000 “Words With Friends” users and found that one in 10 players say they have hooked up with someone as a direct result of the game.
That and other findings — as well as a plethora of proof in couples who met through the game — suggests the growing popularity of social gaming lends itself to a virtual dating scene. A game like “Words With Friends” offers a fun, casual interaction that can help two people connect.
Mobile and social gaming offers a way for users to meet others with shared interests, and a new way to connect to real-life friends. Unlike online dating, which makes its purpose clear, chatting while engaged in a friendly competition offers a subtle way to express interest, or even fall in love.
More than 20 million Facebook users play “Words With Friends,” and even more through their smartphones. Users can play with their real-life friends, but a random opponent option is available and the chat function can allow perfect strangers to get to know one other as they face off in the Scrabble-inspired challenge. That feature offers hope for many users, as 40 percent of poll participants say they would meet someone they became acquainted with through the game.
The game’s popularity makes it an easy conversation starter for singles seeking a match. Instead of asking someone out for a drink, an interested party could just drop their “Words With Friends” handle instead of their digits. Zynga’s poll says 24 percent of users have done just that.
Showing off linguistic knowledge, and tossing some wit into wordplay, can double as flirting whether users are playing with real-life friends or random opponents. For many users, the game builds romantic attraction. According to the Zynga poll, 38 percent of users say they’re more likely to get together with someone skilled at “Words With Friends.”
The advent of mobile devices at one time triggered concerns of social isolation, but studies like Zynga’s suggest that’s not the case. For many, picking up a smartphone and playing a game like “Words With Friends” isn’t just a simple way to pass the time; rather, it’s a way to interact with the object of their affection. The poll says 47 percent of users have a crush on one of their opponents.
The increased courtship springing from gaming sources may be a result of more female participation as well. Multiple studies show gaming demographics are shifting to include more females, evening out the pool of potential partners.
Fantasies about “Words With Friends” opponents don’t have to stop at the touchscreen. In addition to the increasing number of couples who meet online, outpourings of specific accounts of “Words With Friends” love stories are growing.
As people connect online, it changes the mode of age-old interactions, including flirting, dating, and life-changing romances. While the online dating industry serves this purpose, there’s nothing stopping a friendly game of “Words With Friends” to turn into something more if users play their game right.