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EA Spring cleans in PopCap

08-21-2012, 03:11 PM
Joined: Mar 2011
Posts: 243
EA Spring cleans in PopCap

Just heard that EA are closing PopCap studios the Dublin (50) & San Francisco (10) and letting around 50 more go in the Seattle head office.

I really hate it when EA buys these companies and strips them of their IP and then discards the staff... should be used to it by now but it still burns.

EA for ruining so many of my favorite companies over the years... FU

I'd like to wish all the best to the PopCap staff, you've created some fantastic games over the years and set a great standard for casual games.

Check out my upcoming game Juice Jumpers

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08-21-2012, 03:27 PM
Joined: Feb 2011
Location: Isle of Wight, UK
Posts: 1,538

08-21-2012, 04:09 PM
For another perspective, Popcap leadership says it made the call themselves to execute the layoffs and not EA.


08-21-2012, 06:23 PM
Joined: Jul 2012
Posts: 15
No way of telling whether PopCap leadership is being completely truthful about why they reorged. Maybe they're choosing to take the heat for something that EA influenced them to do.

But in my view they're probably telling the truth. I actually have a feeling that some of the growth they're now trimming (e.g. the San Francisco studio) originated in the extra cash EA provided, but leadership may have later realized that they didn't fully consider how to have the new studios produce PopCap-quality work.

This part of Vechey's post is interesting:
We’ve been able to invest in creative new games like Peggle and Plants vs. Zombies because we had a high profit business. That business is challenged, and if we don’t adapt, we won’t be able to invest in new IP. That sounds harsh – but if we don’t stay in business, no more plants, zombies, jewels, frogs or worms.
I'd assumed that PopCap was doing quite well, but it's interesting to reflect that a ton of their business was paid download, a lot of it web-based.

Here in SF we had a similar story with PlayFirst, which published the Diner Dash series. Since the web downloadable biz started to shrink, PlayFirst has been through multiple rounds of layoffs and restructurings, meanwhile struggling to adapt to Facebook and then mobile. Sometimes they seem to be doing well from the outside, but the new business apparently hasn't fully replaced the revenues of the old.

Anyway, here's to an IAP-enabled Plants vs. Zombies 2. Best of luck to them.
08-22-2012, 01:54 AM
Joined: May 2012
Location: london
Posts: 3
The irony of course being we (well, I anyway) don't want more plants/zombies/jewels/worms... Would much prefer some new IP rather than repackaged the same.

Always sad to hear when studios shed spare resources since to me it always feels like the implication is that they'll switch to the "maintain the IP" mode while possIbility of new walks put the door. I appreciate that in this climate however, it's better than all of their IP ending as we know it.
08-22-2012, 04:37 AM
Joined: Nov 2009
Location: Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Posts: 2,062
Really sad while hearing this, there will be no surprise game from PopCap anymore...

Ell Tee
(aka. Antony)

Last edited by Echoseven; 08-22-2012 at 04:41 AM.
08-22-2012, 12:32 PM
Joined: Jul 2011
Location: Townson, MD
Posts: 49
This is strange...

Just for reference, CSR Racing just announced they are making about 12 million a month in the App Store. That game did reach Top 1 grossing for a short time, but since July 14, it has been well under the Top 11 spot, and diving slowly, now sitting at #60 in the Top grossing charts.

Bejeweled Blitz, though, has a consistent position in the Top Grossing charts between 10th and 15th. I dare guess at minimum is making an average of 14 million a month.

And that's just Bejeweled. Plants Vz Zombies is charting at 39 and 46 in the Top Grossing. Hard to average that against CSR Racing, but that's no pocket change either. I would at minimum put between 2 to 5 million a month on that (if the CSR Racing is a good reference point.)

That feeds a lot of mouths and can easily keep a 20k man company running by itself... as long as you are a self-owned studio that only worries about paying the bill and making a small profit, not about market share and reporting large growth every quarter.

So... this does not smell good. Why a company with titles doing as good in the grossing charts as Bejeweled Blitz and Plants Vs. Zombies would require downsizing at all? Why would they need to justify anyone that they want to go into a new IP?

This smells like corporate streamlining to me.

Starsman Games
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08-22-2012, 01:05 PM
Joined: Feb 2011
Location: Isle of Wight, UK
Posts: 1,538
We were level pegging with PvZ during launch month of our previous game. Judging by the price differentials, that must easily be making them over 20 grand a day.

They are plenty cash rich, those poor guys have been thrown out on their ear simply as some corporate shuffling and I despise that wherever I see it. If these guys were good enough before, they still are - give em a project to work on.
08-23-2012, 09:47 AM
Joined: Mar 2011
Posts: 243
I read these posts on another forum, he really hits the nail on the head.

"Popcap has been building its business for the sole purpose of trade sale or IPO. EA's only crime here was to make PopCap an offer that was too good to refuse. Popcap has failed because it invested too much too fast in growth based on porting existing titles and a lot less in relative terms on making new games. On top of this they invested heavily on social media projects that have failed. John Vechey talks in his blog about how the market has changed in the last 12 months but this is just a smokescreen because Dublin was acquired as a mobile development studio and most of PopCap's hires over the past 12 month have been to take on Zynga in the social space.

In making its deal with EA Popcap's management and owners made themselves incredibly wealthy and signed up their employees and "friends" to unachievable earn-out targets. Failure was inevitable. I pity PopCap staff, Ea and EAs investors as they have all become the victims of a single-minded attempt by Popcap owners and executives to make themselves as rich as possible off a company that makes what? 4 or 5 games that makes serious dough?"

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