4Chan founder Christopher Poole (aka moot) has repeatedly referred to running his site, which receives roughly 20 million visitors per month, as a “hobby”. He’s not making money off a site for sharing images and generating memes, but rather than making 4Chan more family-friendly, he’s trying his hand at a handful of other start ups.
Those projects, Canvas and DrawQuest, revel in the same type of crowd sharing and remix culture of 4Chan, but with greater mass-appeal. DrawQuest, an iPad-only app and the newest addition to Poole’s projects was launched two weeks ago, and already it’s received over half-a-million downloads. That’s not bad for 4Chan-lite.
What sets DrawQuest apart from other drawing apps rests in how users are given a daily challenge. They’re called “Quests”, and they’re given to “Questers”. Those tasks, like “Draw a Superhero” and “Help Sir Knight Get to the Princess” don’t require much technical skill—draw a lasso, googly eyes, whatever you want. You can share those pics with your Questing buds, making drawing social in a way that 4Chan does with image sharing and captioning. With a 9+ rating on the iTunes store, the cartoony princesses and superheroes might be too cutesy for most adults, but that’s not all the app offers. In keeping with 4chan’s open ethos, anyone (read: adults) can draw anything (read: dicks). Hooray!
While we’re not sure how many of these downloads came from 4chan’s inbuilt fanbase or new users, it may be a good sign for the future of social gaming on phones and pads. While popular, these type of games still haven’t captured the public’s imagination to the extent of, say, Angry Birds. It’s too soon to tell if DrawQuest is going to take off, or if it’ll leave Poole with yet another hobby on his plate.
That hobby, 4Chan, has never been about money, but its legacy looks far more interesting than riches anyway: it’s teaching gaming how to be more social. That’s better than being stuck in the middle of an endless saga between birds and pigs.