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Video games have long been influenced by tabletop games, and recently a few have made the jump back over from video to board game form. PopCap will be the next to get into the act, as it's penned a deal with Hasbro to make "face-to-face" games based on its most popular franchises. The first two will be based on the popular Bejeweled series.
This spring, Hasbro will release "Bejeweled" and "Bejeweled Frenzy." Bejeweled will involve swapping gems on a game board to match 3 or more. Frenzy is a fast-paced card game that has you matching gems to build up your stack of cards. Both games come with an online code; Bejeweled grants a code for Bejeweled 3, while Frenzy gives a code to redeem for four Rare Gems in Bejeweled Blitz.
"Hasbro shares PopCap's vision and commitment to high quality and endlessly enjoyable game play," said PopCap brand licensing director Brennan Townley, in the announcement. "We're thrilled to work with Hasbro to create unique game experiences around PopCapâs intellectual properties that expand our brands in authentic, meaningful ways."
PopCap co-founder John Vechey has defended EA after it won the dubious honour of being crowned worst company in America.
In a blog post Vechey admitted EA had made mistakes in the past, but insisted boss John Riccitiello had made improvements during his tenure atop the gargantuan publisher.
Yesterday EA was voted the "worst company in America" by readers of customer watchdog site The Consumerist. EA and Bank America had beaten a number of other contenders - including Ticketmaster, Apple, GameStop, WalMart, Sony and PayPal - to reach the final round, which the games publisher won with 64.03 per cent of the public vote. Over 250,000 votes were counted throughout the contest.
Reasons cited for its win include nickel and diming customers with post-launch DLC, buying up small developers to snuff out competition and releasing buggy games.
The "business of games is hard", Vechey said, and "the art of games is harder". "Everyone makes mistakes. Yup. EA does not have a perfect past. It's made HR mistakes. It's made huge game design screw ups. It's messed up studios, marketing campaigns and beloved franchises (sometimes all at once). It will do so again. There is no perfect company, and I won't promise perfection from PopCap."
EA bought PopCap in July 2011 for $650 million off the back of the success of Bejeweled, Plants vs. Zombies and Peggle.
Vechey said he was "very glad" EA bought the company he co-founded in 2000. "I believe in EA's leadership. John Riccitiello has a vision for EA that is important. Every year he's been boss, the company has made fewer, better games than the year before. The transition to digital is a hard, difficult road, and John has been leading the company through since he started as CEO."
"Gamers may complain about paid DLC, but there has to be something that sits between Farmville and the $60 price point," he said. "EA has been relentlessly trying to find that balance.
"I'm proud to have my studio sit next to DICE, Visceral, Maxis, Tiburon, Black Box, BioWare and more."
"It was a bit frustrating to read EA winning, but when I look at the list of companies, I only see one or two others that actually inspire any emotion or passion. Apple. Google maybe. I may rant or complain about DirectTV's atrocious customer service, Comcast's flakey connection speeds, Bank of America's ATM fees, or ticketmaster charges, but do I really care? Naw. No matter how angry I've been at them, I ultimately don't care.
But man... you miss my expectations on the ending of an epic three game space opera that I've spent hundreds of hours enjoying - go f yourself - PopCap co-founder John Vechey
"But man... you miss my expectations on the ending of an epic three game space opera that I've spent hundreds of hours enjoying - go f yourself."
EA has bought casual gaming giant PopCap Games in a deal worth $1.3 billion.
The Bejeweled, Zuma, Peggle and Plants vs. Zombies creator will receive $650 million in cash and $100 million in stock. PopCap will be given an additional $550 million in bonuses in next few years for hitting money-making milestones. I'd like that kind of dosh please.
PopCap has 400 staff.
"As some of you may have heard, we recently announced that PopCap Games is being acquired by Electronic Arts, a small mom-and-pop boutique software publisher," wrote PopCap.
"What does this mean for the future? It's simple: 1, EA is being rebranded to Poptronic Arts; 2, Sim Zuma: The SwampLife Edition; 3, Peggle: Dead Space Bjorn's Breakfast; 4, Bejeweled Battlefield Blitz; 5, Plants vs. ZombEAz: NFL Lockout Edition."
PopCap will be able to draw on deeper resources and distribute to a wider audience worldwide. "We're not changing our focus from creating awesome casual games everyone can enjoy," the company said.
Buying the digital clout of PopCap is an impressive statement of EA's intent to aggressively pursue digital gaming.
EA snapped up prominent social gaming outfit PlayFish in 2009, in a deal worth $400 million.
Let's hope Battlefield 3 and Mass Effect 3 can recoup some of that money.
Only one question remains: what will happen to PopCap's exciting new game Johnny Minkley's Meat Ceiling
All downloadable PopCap games are half-price from the PopCap website until Monday, 29th November.
This excludes any bundle deals or game packs.
PopCap, a renowned puzzle maker, is responsible for Plants vs. Zombies (9/10 - Eurogamer), Zuma's Revenge (8/10 - Eurogamer), Peggle Deluxe (9/10 - Eurogamer) and Bejeweled 3 (out on 7th December) - to name a few.
The most exciting PopCap news today, however, is that top secret new game Johnny Minkley's Meat Ceiling has been spotted. An anonymous PopCap insider sent Eurogamer this image from the company's Seattle studio.
PopCap co-founder John Vechey bet Eurogamer TV presenter Johnny Minkley that he couldn't eat an enormous piece of meat in a restaurant. His end of the bargain? To make a game starring Johnny Minkley and meat if he lost.
And he did.