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EA on PopCap acquisition: 'Don't break it'

Some are wondering if being part of the EA empire will somehow change PopCap for the worse. EA CEO John Riccitiello addressed the concern at an investors' conference call.

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There are always concerns when a large company--especially one as large as EA--absorbs a beloved independent game developer. PopCap is by no means small fish--its $750 million price tag is evidence enough. However, some are wondering if being part of the EA empire will somehow change PopCap for the worse. EA CEO John Riccitiello addressed the concern at an investors' conference call.

"It's already a rapidly expanding, margin-expanding business before we got there," Riccitiello said. "So on one level, don't break it."

PopCap currently employs about 450 people, and will benefit from joining a large corporation like EA, Riccitiello promises. "Some of their most important designers and creators and producers are stuck to perpetually work on language localization, individual handset adaptations, individual carrier adaptations. It's a lot of work... It's very unproductive work for great designers." EA's global operation affords PopCap to work on creating games, not necessarily porting them. "We have teams in places like Romania and India to do that work for EA's creative organizations so that creators can create. The issue is... sometimes there are a number of big revenue opportunities inside of PopCap, but they don't realize anywhere near as quickly as they could because they're servicing existing needs to push code for the next 25 handsets for Android. EA taking that up to low-cost locations frees them to realize against that opportunity."

The acquisition of PopCap will not only add revenue to EA, it will significantly impact their reach in the growing mobile and social space, and expand the reach of EA's other mobile and social games. "There are strong network effects... Just like a social network, one app points to another app... We'd literally double our footprint in a number of these platforms by adding EA and PopCap together, we can point back and forth to each other. That's a direct and important revenue driver." For example, after you're done playing Plants vs. Zombies, you may be able to easily boot up a game of Risk: Factions.

Beyond the synergistic opportunities afforded by today's announcement, EA will be able to strengthen their own platforms--specifically, Origin and Pogo.com. "There's no question that the addition of PopCap IP onto those platforms will make both platforms incrementally more attractive, bring more gravity to them."

Andrew Yoon was previously a games journalist creating content at Shacknews.

From The Chatty
  • reply
    July 12, 2011 3:40 PM

    Andrew Yoon posted a new article, EA on PopCap acquisition: 'Don't break it'.

    Some are wondering if being part of the EA empire will somehow change PopCap for the worse. EA CEO John Riccitiello addressed the concern at an investors' conference call.

    • reply
      July 12, 2011 3:52 PM

      Well that's good to know. Everyone can stop worrying now.

    • reply
      July 12, 2011 3:56 PM

      They are already talking about pushing some development off shore. If i was one of those 450 employees I would be a little concerned right now. EA dont have the best track record for looking after their employees.

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      July 12, 2011 3:57 PM

      They always say this.

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      July 12, 2011 4:01 PM

      This just in: Plants vs. Zombie 2 will be an Origin exclusive.

      Not really, but I don't doubt that it will be.

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      July 12, 2011 4:06 PM

      Fuckin EA.

    • reply
      July 12, 2011 4:37 PM

      Heh. Nice dig against Android.

      And yeah, all future Popcap games will require Origin to be installed.

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      July 12, 2011 5:52 PM

      Yeah, EA, we've heard that before.

      Thanks for (soon) fucking up yet another one of the best developers out there.

    • reply
      July 13, 2011 11:10 AM

      [deleted]

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