Undisclosed number of layoffs 'necessary in order to stay on course'
Electronic Arts has done another round of layoffs, this time affecting PopCap Games. The publisher declined to comment on the number of jobs affected by the layoff, but told Polygon in a statement that the jobs weren't from the PopCap HD team which was responsible for the recent Plants versus Zombies Garden Warfare. PopCap had been split into two teams in the previous month, one to focus on consoles and PC titles and the other for mobile titles. In a statement, General Manager John Vechey expressed his disappointment over the loss, but said that the layoffs were "necessary in order to stay on course with our future plans for mobile games, live services and new IP."
PopCap CEO, lead designer departing; remaining co-founder new GM
Game developer PopCap, known for titles such as Peggle and the Plants Versus Zombies series, is seeing two of its co-founders depart the company. CEO Dave Roberts and chief designer Jason Kapalka are leaving the studio they helped found, effective the week of January 6. PopCap's sole remaining co-founder, John Vechey, is slated to become the new general manager of the development house.
72-hour promo offers discounted power-ups for Facebook game
Popcap Games, a division of EA, announced a three-day promotion benefitting Autism Speaks, the world's leading autism awareness organization. During the promotion, Facebook Zuma Blitz players can purchase discounted "idols" which grant in-game power-ups to boost player's game performance at a discount, with proceeds going towards the autism advocacy agency.
Google Plus makes game support official
Google ended a string of leaks Thursday afternoon with official game support on Google+. The primarily Flash-based games come from majors in web games and some from Facebook, including Zynga titles like Zynga Poker as well as Rovio's Angry Birds and PopCap's Bejeweled Blitz. In a direct jab at Facebook's tendency to put all updates on the main news feed, Google added that games, their status updates, and their achievements would only show in a Games tab.
EA pushing for a $1B digital business
EA has confirmed that it has established an agreement to acquire PopCap, a game publisher best known for mobile titles such as Plants vs. Zombies and Bejeweled. The buyout will cost EA at least $750 million, which includes $650 million in cash and $100 million in stock. PopCap will also be entitled to additional cash compensation based on EA's future earnings through the end of 2013.
Game released under new label '4th & Battery'
Apple has reportedly rejected the first app released by PopCap's new game label, 4th & Battery. The app, titled Unpleasant Horse, features a dark horse that flies through the sky. Users advance in the game by eliminating birds or blasting other horses into a meat grinder. Apple is said to have blocked the release due to mature content.
Flight Control, Line Rider Racing, Hangman RSS
As the iPad launch looms tomorrow, four new games have been launched for the new Apple platform. PopCap has launched its popular iPhone and Mac zombie fighting game, Plants vs. Zombies HD for iPad. The game pits the user against hordes of zombies using a variety of plants to fend them off. The iPad version adds larger graphics taking advantage of the iPad's display; it also gets exclusive achievements, 18 mini-games and the survival mode. The new iPad version is $10 and available now on the App Store.
Microsoft shows WP7 dev features at MIX10
Microsoft at its MIX10 developer event detailed some of how app development and sales will work for Windows Phone 7. Confirming that it's based on Silverlight and XNA, the mobile OS will fence off third-party apps from true native code but will give them access to all the key features: it will recognize accelerometers, cameras and multi-touch gestures. WP7 will also mirror iPhone development by using background push notification for those not allowed to multitask and include a general location service that any app can use.
iPhone has 2X more apps than Facebook
(Update: Facebook disputes the figure) Apple is rapidly widening the gap between its app platform and Facebook, new data from Flurry found today. Although the gap was relatively small about five months into the app portals' respective lifespans, by the 1.5 year mark Apple now has more than twice as many apps. The iPhone App Store's 140,000 confirmed apps easily outweigh the 60,000 web-based apps of Facebook's social network.
App sells at $3, grosses over $1 Mil in nine days
PopCap's Plants vs. Zombies has set a record for a new iPhone app launch in its first nine days of availability. The new game has sold over 300,000 units in less than ten days on the App Store, topping the units and revenue charts within 24 hours of its launch. In less than ten days, the game has already grossed over $1 million.
Plants vs. Zombies ships
PopCap has launched Plants vs. Zombies, a third-person zombie-shooter with a humorous edge. Gamers protect their lawns from invading zombies by using a variety of zombie-zapping plants. The game provides five different modes of play, including adventure, survival, puzzle, Zen-garden and mini-game challenges. The adventure mode contains 50 individual levels, while over 50 more levels are spread across the other four modes.
100,000+ SDK downloads
Apple has announced that in the first four days following the release of the beta iPhone SDK, over 100,000 downloads have been processed through the Apple Developer Connection, to which people must officially belong before they can use the software. "Developer reaction to the iPhone SDK has been incredible with more than 100,000 downloads in the first four days," reads a statement by Apple's senior VP of Worldwide Product Marketing, Philip Schiller. "Also, over one million people have watched the launch video on Apple.com, further demonstrating the incredible interest developers have in creating applications for the iPhone.”