Star-Studded Words with Friends Tournament is Zynga’s Latest Stab at Relevancy

Good luck and God bless.

Addiction. (Photo:

Miserable stock price and managerial exodus be damned, Zynga’s still got its celebrity fans. The AP reports that many of them–Edward Norton, Jonah Hill, Snoop Dogg, and Eva Longoria included–have signed up for a star-studded Words with Friends Tournament. They will be competing for a $500,000 donation to the charity of their choice.

Says the AP:

“We had the idea to do a celebrity tournament some time ago when it became apparent that the game was a hit among celebrities,” said Travis Boatman, senior vice president of mobile at Zynga Inc. “It seems like everyone from Katie Couric to Snoop Lion is into the game.”

Two things: 1) Snoop Lion? Are we really cooperating with that? 2) Poor Alec Baldwin, whose dedication got him thrown off a plane, must be feeling really under-appreciated right now.

Oh, and just in case you had any doubts about the promotional bent of this little shindig, Mr. Boatman continued:

“It’s really inspirational for the team to see how ‘Words With Friends has become part of the cultural mainstream, and I think it has struck a chord because it’s not just a game, it’s a way for people to connect and keep in touch with each other.”

Indeed, last year GQ witnessed Zynga’s powers of connection mid-interview:

GQ; Have you guys ever played each other?
Fabolous: Nah, but we got to now. Yo, Big, what’s your handle?
Big Boi: [Hilarious, redacted name]. What’s yours?
Fabolous: [Hilarious, redacted name].
Big Boi: Let’s do it then.

Lest you assume all this indicates that your fave celebs are unexpectedly talented at the English language, it’s worth taking a look at this irate Marketwatch screed, which complains of all the two-letter words accepted and concludes, “If you are not consistently winning at Words With Friends, it is not because you are dumb. It is because you are not dumb enough.”

Sorry, Edward Norton!

Star-Studded Words with Friends Tournament is Zynga’s Latest Stab at Relevancy