The Origins of Words with Friends

In November 2008, a newly formed team of ex-Ensemble Studios (creators of Age of Empires, Halo Wars) employees got together and released a chess game for the iPhone. NewToy's first game, simply called Chess With Friends, featured asynchronous online play, meaning that players don't have to be online at the same time to play together.

The game received high praise from critics, but it was its successor that really captured the world's attention and became a staple of iPhone gaming. Words with Friends took Scrabble's well-aged formula and turned it on its head. To date, millions have downloaded the game and its free, ad-supported version from the App Store, and there have been no signs the Words with Friends craze will end any time soon. In this exclusive interview, Paul Bettner, cofounder of NewToy, speaks with us about the early days at NewToy and what led to the creation of Words with Friends.

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