PopCap Games

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PopCap Games, Inc.
IndustryVideo games
Founded2000; 19 years ago (2000)
Key people
Matt Nutt (general manager)[1]
ProductsList of games
Number of employees
~400[2] (2010)
ParentElectronic Arts (2011–present)
  • PopCap Vancouver
  • PopCap Shanghai
  • PopCap Hyderabad

PopCap Games, Inc. is an American video game developer based in Seattle. The company was founded in 2000 by John Vechey, Brian Fiete and Jason Kapalka; it was acquired by Electronic Arts in July 2011.


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 (film).[3] Their first title was a strip poker game called "Foxy Poker" and was supposed to serve as a revenue stream for their future titles.[3]

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.

On April 5, 2011, PopCap announced the creation of a new subsidiary, 4th and Battery, started in order to create "edgier" games.[4] 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.[5]

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.[6] The Dublin studio was closed on September 24, 2012.[7]

Games developed[edit]


Developer(s)PopCap Games
Publisher(s)PopCap Games
Designer(s)Jason Kapalka
EnginePopCap Games Framework
Platform(s)Windows, Mac OS
ReleaseAugust 29, 2001

Alchemy is a computer puzzle game from PopCap Games first introduced on August 29, 2001, and initially available only on the Windows platform.[8] In May 2002, a version was made for the Mac platform. That June, a version was released that was available for shipping.[9] That September, a handheld version was released.[10] This title can be played for free online at various websites minus some components, or a full version can be downloaded and unlocked for a fee. On mobile devices, the game can only be played if downloaded for a fee. The objective of the game is to turn a board of squares from lead to gold by placing randomly generated symbols called runes on every square.[11]

Each play consists of a rune of a random color and shape being generated by the computer. The rune must be placed directly adjacent to at least one other rune (either above, below, or to the left or right; runes located at a diagonal to the square have no meaning), unless the board is totally blank. All runes that are adjacent to the square where a rune is being placed must share its color or shape.[12]


  1. ^ Brightman, James (May 2, 2017). "PopCap Seattle getting downsized". GamesIndustry.biz.
  2. ^ Crecente, Brian (January 1, 2011). "Ten Years of PopCap Games". Kotaku.
  3. ^ a b GDC (January 8, 2019), Classic Game Postmortem - Bejeweled, retrieved April 30, 2019
  4. ^ Sliwinski, Alexander (April 5, 2011). "PopCap launches edgy '4th & Battery' label". Engadget.
  5. ^ "EA to Acquire PopCap Games". Business Wire. July 12, 2011.
  6. ^ Edwards, Cliff (August 22, 2012). "Electronic Arts' PopCap Games Cuts Jobs, May Close Office". Bloomberg Businessweek.
  7. ^ Chapple, Craig (September 24, 2012). "EA closes PopCap Dublin". MCV.
  8. ^ Joshua Quittner (January 8, 2001). "Hooked Again". Time.
  9. ^ http://www.macobserver.com/tmo/article/MacPlay_Ships_Puzzle_Game_Bundle_Bejewled_Alchemy/
  10. ^ "Astraware Launches Five New Games for Pocket PC Handhelds; Premier Developer of PDA Games Converts Popular Palm OS Puzzle and Strategy Games for Use On Pocket PCs".
  11. ^ https://news.google.com/newspapers?id=TIgsAAAAIBAJ&sjid=xw4EAAAAIBAJ&pg=6324,4211552&dq=alchemy+game&hl=en
  12. ^ Gelmis, Joseph (October 12, 2001). "Games for all types are free on the Internet".

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