Little did the Bettner brothers know, when they quit their jobs at Microsoft Game Studios to form their own company, that their first project would one day be the game of choice for a Super Bowl-contending football team. "Exponential growth looks very, very linear and flat in the beginning," Paul Bettner told Complex. "It was like, 'Oh, we got fifty more users today! Yay!' But Dave and I are looking at that and we're like, we're gonna go out to find real jobs again." But it eventually "just kind of tipped over," he said—John Mayer tweeted about it, Paul and Dave joined Zynga in late 2010, and by now everyone and their grandma enjoys the Bettners' version of virtual Scrabble.
After the Wall Street Journal revealed that the New York Giants have developed a somewhat unusual obsession with the game, we couldn't help but add our own commentary. That's when we realized we just had to find out what the game's creators thought about the whole thing.
Needless to say, Paul Bettner just became a Giants fan. Read on for our interview.
Complex: What do you think about Words With Friends being a Super Bowl locker room sensation?
Paul Bettner: I mean, it surprises me as much as I think it surprises some of the Wall Street Journal readers, and definitely it seemed the author was a bit surprised by it. Because you know, when you picture a locker room, you picture jocks, and kind of—you don't picture this sort of cerebral word game thing going on. I've met some pro athletes and I guess it shouldn't surprise me, because the best athletes in the world are the ones that are just incredibly focused and like, just so smart. They think about the strategy of the game and it's not just about the physical aspect of it. So it kind of makes sense to me that the world's best teams this year would also be pretty good at such a nerdy game.
Giants or Pats?
[Laughing] I've got to go with the Giants now, man. At least until there's another article about the Patriots playing. Like, you know, I don't know how they would top it. Now I'm definitely for the Giants.
What about Alec Baldwin getting kicked off the plane for refusing to stop playing with Tina Fey?
Yeah, when that story came out, it was just incredible, and kind of caught the whole company at Zynga by storm. Everybody was talking about it and super excited, and just kind of like, wow, this is such an amazing moment. And then it just kept going, you know like, I thought that first thing would be the end of it. That Saturday Night Live skit was just the best thing ever, I mean it was hilarious. And then it just doesn't stop, and the Tina Fey thing happened, and then he wins, like, was it the Golden Globes? No, it was the SAG awards, and talked about it there. I mean it's just, it seems to be a big part of his life, which is awesome.
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