EA Spring cleans in PopCap

Discussion in 'Public Game Developers Forum' started by mr_wexer, Aug 21, 2012.

  1. mr_wexer

    mr_wexer Well-Known Member

    Mar 6, 2011
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    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.
     
  2. Rubicon

    Rubicon Well-Known Member

    Feb 22, 2011
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    Lead Programmer, Chief Bottlewasher
    Isle of Wight, UK
    Yep, total agreement. I've not bought an EA game for several years now and won't do so ever again.
     
  3. David Phan

    David Phan Well-Known Member

    Feb 27, 2012
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    President & Producer
    Vancouver
  4. Rubicon

    Rubicon Well-Known Member

    Feb 22, 2011
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    Lead Programmer, Chief Bottlewasher
    Isle of Wight, UK
  5. cmo

    cmo Member

    Jul 30, 2012
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    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.
     
  6. Runonthespot

    Runonthespot New Member

    May 13, 2012
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    london
    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.
     
  7. antony.thai

    antony.thai Well-Known Member

    #7 antony.thai, Aug 22, 2012
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 22, 2012
    Really sad while hearing this, there will be no surprise game from PopCap anymore...
     
  8. Starsman

    Starsman Well-Known Member

    Jul 9, 2011
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    Townson, MD
    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.
     
  9. Rubicon

    Rubicon Well-Known Member

    Feb 22, 2011
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    Lead Programmer, Chief Bottlewasher
    Isle of Wight, UK
    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.
     
  10. mr_wexer

    mr_wexer Well-Known Member

    Mar 6, 2011
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    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?"
     
  11. Sanuku

    Sanuku Well-Known Member

    I know that EA will getting a huge bashing for that but it`s not this time their fault. It`s just simple that the Facebook Bubble is finally starting to bursting and now more and more companies are loosing Money because of that.

    Each Day it`s get more and more expensive for them to pay for those that simple got hired because they thought that the Market would grow at least another twelve - twenty months but the last few Weeks showed clearly that neither Facebook nor a Company like Zynga have still enough potential to let it grow bigger like it did in the last two Years.

    Each Month less and less millions of People are playing on Facebook itself while the market for tablets & mobile devices is growing stronger almost every Year with double figures without breaking down at least for another couple of Years.

    While some did made the Jump already earlier and are now even hiring People or even hole Teams others like Zynga who didn`t made the jump soon enough are now in the position where they are begging Developers on their knees to join them.

    We will definitely see in the upcoming months more lay offs at companies that had their main focus on Facebook Games or teams working on those. The question should be how this cleaning can improve the hole Industry and if those that got cut can survive...
     
  12. Eclectic

    Eclectic Well-Known Member

    1) PopCap are mainly a FaceBook publisher and got caught out when this became far less profitable. As have a number of other publishers. They didn't move to mobile fast enough or with enough products.
    2) Talking of product they only have a very small catalogue. They need more IP.
    3) Possibly they didn't embrace the FTP/IAP business model enough and got left behind.
     

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