Bejeweled Maker: 2010 Was Most Pivotal in Industry in Last Two Decades
PopCap got its real start in 2001, when it released Bejeweled for web browsers, six years before its current competitor Zynga even established itself as a company. The publisher has ridden the casual wave to resounding success, with revenues reaching $100 million in 2010. PopCap CEO David Roberts spoke to Gamasutra about changes in the industry and where PopCap is headed in the future.
“Last year was the most pivotal in the gaming industry in a couple of decades. The two things that have changed in the casual space, from where we sit, are the iPhone… and Facebook/Zynga,” said Roberts. “The fact is that we had the uphill battle of convincing 50-year old women that they could play games [in our early days]. Now it’s easy.”
PopCap is also one of the few casual gaming companies respected by core gamers, with interesting partnerships like the Bejeweled add-on for Blizzard’s World of Warcraft.
“That evolved over time,” said Roberts. “The press, in particular, was a bit skeptical of us. The credibility really started when Valve bundled that version of Peggle with The Orange Box. We made no money off of that. But it was the start of how core gamers changed their gaming habits.”
Unlike classic game publishers, PopCap is more concerned with evergreen titles having steady sales year after year.
“The thing I love about our business versus the core business is this. In the core business, you’ve got to get big hits out the door. … For us, Bejeweled has been at in the top five of Walmart’s best-selling titles for seven years now. I think we occupied a very interesting space. But the truth is good games are good games,” added Roberts.
Roberts also commented on the recent rumors of PopCap having a public offering. The publisher has been looking into the possibility, but it’s also looking to keep its options open.
“Whenever you [talk about filing] an S12, you’re pretty much guaranteed that someone will come and try to buy you. Our goal is not about an exit at PopCap. It’s about creating this legacy of games that mean as much as Monopoly and Scrabble to the world,” said Roberts. (Source: Industry Gamers)