OverviewThe PopCap story begins in the snowy wastes of northern Alberta, Canada, where Jason Kapalka grew to manhood, fighting polar bears and wild moose for survival. He would amuse friends and family around the tribal campfire with tall tales and simple games, such as "Pin the Tail on the Muskrat." When Silicon Valley called, it was with a heavy heart that Jason left the tundra for sunnier climes… but he knew that the Americans hungered for the gaming wisdom of the far North.
While Jason joined TEN, the Total Entertainment Network (which would later become Pogo.com), the other core members of PopCap were experiencing their own rites of passage in the tornado-blasted trailer-parks of Indiana, where John Vechey and Brian Fiete first met during an out-of-control 'kegger' party. Finding kindred spirits, they soon turned their attention away from the bleak landscape of rusted-out cars that surrounded them, to the fairy-dust world of online gaming, where their elfin spirits could find solace and inspiration.
The result was Hoopy Entertainment and ARC (Attack/Retrieve/Capture), one of the first online-only action games, which caught the eye of Jason, now a producer at TEN. After brutal manipulative 'negotiations,' TEN acquired the rights to ARC, and Jason was assigned to help whip it into shape. Finding in the mulleted Hoopys a spark of talent and inspiration, he fanned this flame as ARC was launched on TEN.
Sadly, as TEN's business model changed every three months or so, ARC was soon swept by the roadside as family java games became the priority. Jason moved on to Bingo and Backgammon, while the Hoopys sold out to Won.net, moving to Seattle, where they were forced to cut their mullets and drink from glasses.
Years passed as they all toiled in their separate tasks, but they had never forgotten the almost-mystical link that had been forged. And so, one fateful day in 2000, a dark pact was formed, and the three sealed in blood their commitment to build mass-market online Java games playable right from a browser. And so PopCap came to be.
The company has enjoyed much success since its founding, stemming from the popularity of many of its casual games such as the Bejeweled and Plants vs. Zombies franchises and became known throughout the gaming world. This success led gaming juggernaut Electronic Arts to buy the company for $750 million on July 12, 2011, an acquisition that could become the biggest of its many to date if all payouts in the deal are made.
Established studios and divisions
- PopCap Games International, Ltd. (2006-2012)
- Shanghai PopCap Software Co.,Ltd. (China - circa January 2008)
- 4th & Battery (internal division of PopCap Games for experimental games - circa April 2011)
- Sprout Games, LLC (August 2005)
- SpinTop Games (July 2007)
- Gastronaut Studios LLC (February 2009)
- ZipZapPlay, Inc. (April 2011)
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TriviaThe so-called deluxe versions of PopCap Games were originally the downloadable versions for which the user needed to pay. The regular version, without deluxe in the title, was then offered in Java, playable through the browser, to give users a taste through a portion of the game.
Many of the games attributed and credited to PopCap are not developed by the company itself. Many came from Sprout Games, which was eventually acquired by PopCap, which then re-released the titles as Deluxe versions under its own name.
Related Web Sites
- PopCap Games, Inc. (official website)
- PopCap Games executive interview: Don’t be stupid, have fun (interview with two executive of the company, on GamesBeat (21st April 2008))