The Smart Way To Spend $1.3 Billion On A Startup


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Playfish, at one point a social gaming juggernaut next to Zynga, is losing key personnel and hasn’t made a big hit that can truly compete with Zynga’s other big hits like CityVille after its sale to Electronic Arts.But PopCap, EA’s other gigantic next-generation gaming acquisition that it paid $1.3 billion for, remains in a protective bubble in Seattle, a source close to the company tells us.

PopCap is a darling in the mobile gaming industry, and is considered one of the best mobile developers in the world among industry professionals.

PopCap is still working on its own franchises, the most important staff is still there, and it’s working on the next generation of PopCap games, this source said. It actually has access to some more resources and some more talent now, the source said.

(Mind you, that’s how most gaming acquisitions are supposed to happen.)

There’s some cross-pollination between the big teams at EA, like mega-hit developer BioWare and some of EA’s partner studios, and PopCap. But for the most part, PopCap is being left to its own.

PopCap develops big-hit mobile games. It has popular franchises like Bejeweled, Plants vs. Zombies and Peggle. It even has its own line of merchandise to go with those games.

PopCap does also spend a lot of time developing Facebook-connected, social games. Around half of its team is geared toward Facebook games, a source tells us, while the other half is geared toward mobile.

But it doesn’t appear that PopCap will suffer the same fate as Playfish, which felt the brunt of EA’s management.

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