PopCap Games

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PopCap Games, Inc.
Industry Video game industry
Founded July 18, 2000; 18 years ago (2000-07-18)[1]
Founders John Vechey, Brian Fiete, Jason Kapalka
Headquarters Seattle, Washington, United States
Key people
Matt Nutt (GM, PopCap Studios)[2]
Products List of PopCap games
Revenue US$ 100+ million (2010)[3]
Number of employees
About 400[3]
Parent Electronic Arts (2011–present)
Divisions PopCap Vancouver, PopCap Shanghai, PopCap Hyderbad
Website www.ea.com/studios/popcap

PopCap Games, Inc. is an American video game developer and publisher, based in Seattle, Washington, United States, and is a subsidiary of Electronic Arts. It was founded in 2000 by John Vechey, Brian Fiete and Jason Kapalka, and since October 2013 employs about 400 people.[3] Most of PopCap's games are available for a fee and are purchased through Origin or Steam.

PopCap's flagship title Bejeweled has sold more than 50 million units[4] across all major platforms. PopCap games are available for Microsoft Windows, Mac OS, Nintendo DS, Nintendo DSi, Wii, Xbox, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Zeebo, cell phones, PDAs, iPod Classic, iOS, Android, BlackBerry Tablet OS, Windows Phone, mobile devices and in web browsers.


PopCap Games was founded by John Vechey, Brian Fiete and Jason Kapalka in 2000. They wanted to create games, primarily by learning from other Internet gaming sites. Their first game was Bejeweled, a huge-hit 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 hit 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.

On August 22, 2006, it was announced that PopCap Games had entered into an agreement with Valve Corporation to deliver PopCap's games via Steam, Valve's content delivery system. Beginning on August 30, 2006, 17 of PopCap's products became available via Steam. In keeping with PopCap tradition, each PopCap game offered via Steam is available for a free trial period as well as for purchase.[5]

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 now mixed with other games from other developers/distributors.

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] Since the acquisition by EA, the state of 4th and Battery is unknown; its website redirects back to the main PopCap site.

On August 21, 2012, PopCap fired 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.[8] The Dublin studio was closed on September 24, 2012.[9]


Most of PopCap's games run both with or without hardware acceleration, are usually controllable with the mouse, and often feature multiple game modes based on variations of the core game play. The company is best known for their puzzle games, including the Bejeweled series of tile-matching games, the pachinko-like Peggle and the tower defense game Plants vs. Zombies.


According to the official company website, PopCap Games has won at least 25 industry awards, including Computer Gaming World Hall of Fame status for Bejeweled.


Games generally use tracker music as soundtracks, often written by Future Crew members Jonne Valtonen and Peter Hajba. Some exceptions are Talismania, which featured an ethnically Greek soundtrack with a modern twist, Peggle, which featured an easy listening soundtrack (as well as a choral passage of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony), both by SomaTone Productions, Noah's Ark, which featured an Ogg Vorbis stream, and Plants vs. Zombies, which featured an original soundtrack composed by Laura Shigihara.

PopCap Games Framework[edit]

PopCap Games Framework (official name was SexyApp Framework) is the name of a video game development kit for C++, released by PopCap Games. It is designed to let programmers easily and quickly create "PopCap-style" games, and is part of their developer program that encourages game creators to distribute their finished games through PopCap Games. The PopCap Games Framework is licensed under a proprietary free license. The PopCap framework powers casual games such as PopCap's own Bejeweled and Sandlot Games' Cake Mania. The framework only officially runs on the Microsoft Windows platform, although some games have been ported to the Mac using proprietary conversions of the framework. A community-supported effort is under way for porting the framework to Linux as well. One such effort is TuxCap,[10] which additionally makes use of PyCap,[11] wrapping the SexyApp API in a Python layer. A community forum for the PopCap framework[12] has helped developers and improved on the last official release of the framework. As of July 27, 2009, PopCap have finished their developer program. Community efforts to modernise the framework have culminated in SexyKanji,[13] which wraps the SexyApp API around the Gogii Games Engine (formerly the Kanji Engine), introducing support for new features and many different platforms, including Android, and iOS (iPhone/iPad). The Gogii Games Engine is a commercial engine, so developers must pay to acquire a license to use it (unlike the original PopCap framework).


  1. ^ "PopCap Games - About". www.popcap.com. 
  2. ^ "PopCap Seattle getting downsized". Retrieved 19 February 2018. 
  3. ^ a b c Brian Crecente (January 1, 2011). "Ten Years of PopCap Games". Kotaku. Gawker Media. Retrieved December 29, 2010. 
  4. ^ Leigh Alexander (2010-02-10). "Bejeweled Sales Hit 50 Million". Gamasutra. Retrieved 2010-02-10. 
  5. ^ "PopCap Games Now Available Via Steam". 2006-08-30. Archived from the original on 2006-11-12. 
  6. ^ Alexander Sliwinski (2007-04-05). "PopCap launches edgy '4th & Battery' label". Joystiq. Retrieved 2013-04-27. 
  7. ^ "EA to Acquire PopCap Games" (Press release). Electronic Arts. 2011-07-12. Retrieved 2012-06-21. 
  8. ^ "Electronic Arts' PopCap Games Cuts Jobs, May Close Office". Businessweek. August 21, 2012. Archived from the original on 25 August 2012. Retrieved August 22, 2012. 
  9. ^ "EA closes PopCap Dublin". Develop. September 24, 2012. Retrieved September 24, 2012. 
  10. ^ "TuxCap Games Framework | Free Development software downloads at". Sourceforge.net. Retrieved 2013-07-07. 
  11. ^ "Quirky little games for your edification". www.Farbs.org. Retrieved 2013-07-07. 
  12. ^ "(The Unofficial) PopCap Framework Developer Board". Forum.fischeronline.de. Retrieved 2013-07-07. 
  13. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2014-08-03. Retrieved 2010-07-27. 

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