PopCap Games

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PopCap Games, Inc.
FormerlySexy Action Cool (2000)
Company typeSubsidiary
IndustryVideo games
Founded2000; 24 years ago (2000)
United States
Key people
Matt Nutt (general manager)[1]
ProductsList of games
Number of employees
~400[2] (2010)
ParentElectronic Arts (2011–present)
  • PopCap Seattle
  • PopCap Vancouver
  • PopCap Shanghai
  • PopCap Hyderabad

PopCap Games, Inc. is an American video game developer based in Seattle, and a subsidiary of Electronic Arts.[3] The company was founded in 2000 by John Vechey, Brian Fiete and Jason Kapalka.

Originally founded under the name "Sexy Action Cool", their first title was a strip poker game that served as a revenue stream for future titles.[4] PopCap has developed several games for computers, consoles and mobile devices, with their most popular games being Bejeweled, Peggle and Plants vs. Zombies games. PopCap was acquired and became a subsidiary of Electronic Arts on July 12, 2011.[5]


John Vechey in 2015

PopCap Games was founded by John Vechey, Brian Fiete and Jason Kapalka in 2000. They originally incorporated as "Sexy Action Cool", a phrase taken from a poster of Desperado.[4] Their first title was a strip poker game called "Foxy Poker" and was supposed to serve as a revenue stream for their future titles.[4]

James Gwertzman representing PopCap Games at the 2007 Montreal International Games Summit

Their first game as PopCap was Bejeweled, a gem-swapping game, which was supported on all major platforms and awarded by Computer Gaming World Hall Of Fame in 2002. The company expanded in 2005 with the acquisition of Sprout Games, a Seattle-based casual games developer company like PopCap Games, founded by James Gwertzman. Sprout Games is the creator of the game Feeding Frenzy. The Sprout team helped PopCap to make a sequel to the game, Feeding Frenzy 2: Shipwreck Showdown, with Gwertzman becoming the Director of Business Development at PopCap. In early 2006, PopCap International was opened, based in Dublin, Ireland, working on product localization, mobile games development, marketing, sales and business development.

PopCap began another round of expansion in July 2007 by buying other casual game developers including the creators of an online consumer portal, SpinTop Games. One week prior, the company acquired the Chicago-based development house Retro64, founded by Mike Boeh, which is best known for their retro-arcade action and puzzle titles. After these acquisitions, the PopCap logo was rebranded, dropping the "Games" portion. PopCap's premium games list on their website are mixed with other games from other developers/distributors. PopCap hosted several games on PopCap.com and other websites, online and premium, until 2014, when they stopped offering games from their site.

On April 5, 2011, PopCap announced the creation of a new subsidiary, 4th and Battery, started in order to create "edgier" games.[6] Their first creation was the game Unpleasant Horse. On July 12, 2011, Electronic Arts announced it was acquiring PopCap for $650 million with an additional $100 million stock option.[7]

On August 21, 2012, PopCap laid off 50 employees in North America in a move to address a shift to mobile and free-to-play games and evaluated ceasing operations of its Dublin studio.[5] The Dublin studio was closed on September 24, 2012.[8]

Games developed[edit]

PopCap has developed over 50 games over the past 20 years. Games developed by PopCap include Bejeweled, Plants vs. Zombies, Peggle, and Bookworm.[3]


Bejeweled is a series of tile-matching puzzle video games created by PopCap Games. Bejeweled was released initially for browsers in 2001, followed by five sequels: Bejeweled 2 (2004), Bejeweled Twist (2008), Bejeweled Blitz (2009), Bejeweled 3 (2010), Bejeweled Stars (2016) and more, all by PopCap Games and its parent, Electronic Arts.

Plants vs. Zombies[edit]

Plants vs. Zombies is a tower defense and strategy video game developed and originally published by PopCap Games for Windows and OS X in May 2009, and ported to consoles, handhelds, mobile devices, and remastered versions for personal computers.


Peggle is a series of casual puzzle video games created by PopCap Games. Peggle was released initially for desktop in 2007, followed by three sequels: Peggle Nights (2008), Peggle 2 (2013), and Peggle Blast (2014).


  1. ^ Brightman, James (May 2, 2017). "PopCap Seattle getting downsized". GamesIndustry.biz. Archived from the original on January 18, 2019. Retrieved November 11, 2018.
  2. ^ Crecente, Brian (January 1, 2011). "Ten Years of PopCap Games". Kotaku. Archived from the original on November 12, 2018. Retrieved November 11, 2018.
  3. ^ a b Arts, Electronic (June 20, 2019). "About - PopCap Studios - Official EA Site". Electronic Arts Inc. Archived from the original on March 22, 2021. Retrieved September 20, 2020.
  4. ^ a b c GDC (January 8, 2019), Classic Game Postmortem - Bejeweled, archived from the original on December 12, 2021, retrieved April 30, 2019
  5. ^ a b Edwards, Cliff (August 22, 2012). "Electronic Arts' PopCap Games Cuts Jobs, May Close Office". Bloomberg Businessweek. Archived from the original on November 11, 2018. Retrieved November 11, 2018.
  6. ^ Sliwinski, Alexander (April 5, 2011). "PopCap launches edgy '4th & Battery' label". Engadget. Archived from the original on November 12, 2018. Retrieved November 11, 2018.
  7. ^ "EA to Acquire PopCap Games". Business Wire. July 12, 2011. Archived from the original on May 31, 2019. Retrieved November 11, 2018.
  8. ^ Chapple, Craig (September 24, 2012). "EA closes PopCap Dublin". MCV. Archived from the original on January 18, 2019. Retrieved November 11, 2018.

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