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PopCap: The Complexity Of Being Casual
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PopCap: The Complexity Of Being Casual

June 20, 2008 Article Start Previous Page 6 of 7 Next

Switching gears here... what do you think of the PC downloadable versus browser-based thing? When people talk about more universal delivery platforms, it seems like browser really has a lot of appeal. What do you think?

JV: For us, it's both. We started with browser-based games, as a company, and both are very important for us. The fact that we have millions of people playing the browser version of Bejeweled every day.

DR: Twelve seconds.

JV: Every twelve seconds or something, right? It helps to sell it at Wal-Mart and the downloadable format.

DR: It made mobile sales.

JV: Yeah, for us, it ties into the ecosystem. We want a lot of people playing our games, and with advertising, that's the way we monetize the browser-based games, and it helps us, because I think without that, we wouldn't be able to have as much success as it did. It's a really key component of our overall strategy.

As far as only making games for the browser, it's probably a mistake for us, because we're a multiplatform company. The online browser is a platform, just as the download to your PC is a platform. We often look at how to make both of those experiences better.

Do you think multiple platforms is good for the industry? There's been debate about, "If there were one delivery platform, then people could have common tools" and things like that.

JV: You can say that about the motion picture. It's like, "Man, if we just had TV..." But clearly, as a consumer, you don't want just TV. There's TV, movies, DVDs...

Yeah, but you use the same equipment to make all three of those.

JV: I guess that's true.

DR: We come at this from a bit of a different bias, because I think the hardcore space is almost looked at as a challenge, because you have different development environments and are looking to make a consistent, giant, almost cinematic game experience across multiple platforms.

It's a very big challenge. For us, the challenge is different. We're about trying to get the game in front people who might not have seen it or been able to play it at other places.

JV: Or have a new interaction with it that you can't have on a different platform.

DR: We really do look at it as an opportunity to get it in front of a different class or kind of person. It is hard. There is no doubt about it that it's harder just to make an iPod game based on... Peggle on iPod was not an easy challenge. We had a lot of struggles with how to get the control structure going, the graphics to work, and lots of things like that.

PopCap's Peggle

But just because it's not easy doesn't mean that it's not a good thing for us or for the customer, so we're big proponents of it. We're probably spending more time doing less least-common-denominator development and more focused enhancement for an individual platform, to make sure it's the best experience that we've ever done.

You mentioned that you're looking at the other console platforms for downloadable development stuff. Did you have to hire a lot of console people to make this work?

JV: Yeah, we had to look for people with console experience. I mean, we're very much a company who believes that experience is important, so one of the challenges was, "Okay, how do we find people who have console experience but think like casual game developers?"

DR: We do a mix. For some of our console stuff in particular, we'll look at outside companies who are really good at something or collaborate with other companies.

You'll see, actually, in a couple of announcements that we'll have later on in the year where we've done some pretty cool collaborations with a company that really, really knows the space really well, and we think the collaboration will hopefully make it more interesting.

JV: We have the coolest collaboration ever, I promise.

Uh oh. That's on tape, there.

JV: I'll maintain that it will be one of the top ten collaborations.


JV: In games.


JV: It's really awesome.

I see.

JV: Blizzard Peggle! For the phone! I'm just kidding. But it is cool.

It's on par with that?

JV: I think so. Well, nothing's on par with that. (laughter) I would love to see Blizzard taking Peggle. Not on the phone, though.


DR: World of Peggle?

GC: We'd have to call it WoP, though. I don't like that. I don't like where that's going.

I forgot about that one. Old derogatory slang is hard to keep track of.

Article Start Previous Page 6 of 7 Next

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