Dots became a cultural phenomenon seemingly overnight. Despite launching exclusively on the iPhone, the game had 3 million players who collectively played 100 million “boards” by the end of May, the last month for which such data is available. Quartz published a lengthy Dots “strategy guide” that promised to change obsessive players’ lives by helping them reach a higher score and earn whatever bragging rights are afforded to someone good at identifying colors and making simple shapes. It’s only a matter of time before someone decided to name their kid after the game, as they have with Facebook and hashtags.
Now, two months after its launch, Dots is coming to Android.
Betaworks CEO John Borthwick challenged PandoDaily’s Sarah Lacy to a Dots-off during last night’s PandoMonthly event. (Sarah declined, despite my argument that such an occurrence would be some kind of performance art.) He happened to be holding what appeared to be an Android smartphone, which was a bit… curious. A person familiar with Betaworks’ plans later said that Dots will be launching on Android and is currently slated for release within the coming weeks.
Borthwick readily admits that Dots, like “Draw Something” or “FarmVille” before it, might be a flash in the pan. “I think that the gaming business, and games, similar to music, have always been subject to fads,” he said during last night’s event. “When your kid grows up there are going to be new games that he or she will play.”
The trick, he argued, is counteracting the faddish nature of gaming with more stable, long-term businesses that can benefit from short-term boosts without closing their doors when the users inevitably leave. Betaworks is one of those companies, because it doesn’t rely on any one product or strategy — it takes a “studio approach” by building new products, acquiring and changing old ones, and investing. Borthwick has a master plan, and there’s room for Dots somewhere in there.