PopCap acquires studio for 'next-gen social games'

PopCap acquires studio for 'next-gen social games'

By Rob Crossley

May 3rd 2011 at 1:56PM

'Five Facebook releases before 2012' as social dev ZipZapPlay is bought

Washington-based casual games stronghold PopCap has made the surprise acquisition of social dev ZipZapPlay.

PopCap has for years been considered a buyout target itself, though in recent months rumours have spread the Bejeweled company is seeking stock market floatation.

The combined dev workforce has improved PopCap’s expectations for Facebook game releases, with the firm now predicting “four or five games available on Facebook by the end of 2011”.

PopCap co-founder John Vechey said the ZipZapPlay team “is one of the best in the social games space, and combined with our existing group in Seattle gives us the opportunity to dramatically expand our development resources”.

The VC-funded ZipZapPlay, based in Silicon Valley, will keep its brand name, executives and workforce, PopCap said. There was no mention of studio departures, though that cannot be ruled out.

Financial terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.

PopCap said the acquisition positions the firm for “further growth and continued success in one of the hottest digital games categories”.

'NEXT-GEN SOCIAL'

In a prepared statement, PopCap revealed high ambitions to usher in a new generation of social games.

PopCap’s Vechey, who oversaw the buyout, said the buyout was part of a long-term strategy.

“ZipZapPlay can help us further evolve and expand the definition of social games,” he said.

Jason Kapalka, PopCap chief creative officer, suggested that ZipZapPlay is a “great cultural fit” with the Peggle developer.

“Their next game is very innovative and exciting - we believe it has the potential to be a step forward in the evolution of social gaming," he added.

PopCap is internally ranked as the third most popular Facebook developer, with some five million daily active users across its games.

Its games have been downloaded over 1.5 billion times.

"We're elated to join the leading casual games developer and help grow PopCap's presence in the social arena," said ZipZapPlay founder Curt Bererton.

"PopCap's focus on innovative gameplay and user experience meshes with our own design philosophy. We can't wait to put our heads together with PopCap and start creating the next generation of games for Facebook and other social platforms."