Dublin, Ireland– June 22, 2009— PopCap Games, the leading developer and publisher of casual games, today announced that Bejeweled® Blitz, the 1-minute version of its mega-hit franchise Bejeweled for Facebook, has officially launched and is now out of beta. Relying entirely on its own merits, the“social” version of Bejeweled has become a Facebook phenomenon, attracting more than 5 million monthly users after quietly debuting in beta form in late December of 2008. With new users joining at a rapidly increasing rate, Bejeweled Blitz now adds a new friend to the fold every second.
“One-minute Bejeweled was initially an in-house joke,” said Jason Kapalka, PopCap’s chief creative officer,“because who’d think anyone would play a‘casual’ game with such a frenzied time limit? But it turned out the one-minute timer actually made the game more accessible, as a bite-size entertainment for people busy doing other things on Facebook.” John Vechey, PopCap’s head of online and social projects, added,“The social nature of the game felt like the missing link. Playing Bejeweled on your own was always fun, but playing with and against family and friends takes it to another level.”
While PopCap is not providing any details of its future plans for social versions of its other hits such as Peggle™, Zuma®, Bookworm™, Plants vs. Zombies™ and Chuzzle™, the success of Bejeweled Blitz is intriguing. More than 75% of the 5 million monthly active users are female and so far over 1 billion sessions of the game have been served. At this juncture the game, in which players race to score as many points as possible in a 60-second version of the world’s most popular match-3 puzzler, attracts 2 million players daily.
“Social gaming is a catalyst for growth in the games market and in social network services,” said Billy Pidgeon, video games analyst at Game Changer Research.“Giving consumers more communal and connected ways to enjoy video game content with their ever-growing online networks drives awareness and usage of the game in question while also making the gameplay experience itself richer and more compelling. Accessible and entertaining games on social networks are in effect massively multiplayer experiences that appeal to everyone.”
PopCap Games ( www.popcap.com) is the leading multi-platform provider of“casual games”— fun, easy-to-learn, irresistible computer games that appeal to everyone from age 6 to 106. Based in Seattle, Washington, PopCap was founded in 2000 and has a worldwide staff of over 220 people in Seattle, San Francisco, Chicago, Vancouver, B.C., Dublin, and Shanghai. Its timeless games have been downloaded more than 1 billion times by consumers worldwide, and its flagship title, Bejeweled®, has sold more than 25 million units across all platforms. Constantly acclaimed by consumers and critics, PopCap’s games are played on the Web, desktop computers, myriad mobile devices (cell phones, smartphones, PDAs, Pocket PCs, iPod, iPhone and more), popular game consoles (such as Xbox 360 and Nintendo DS), and in-flight entertainment systems. PopCap is the only casual games developer with leading market share across all major sales channels, including Web portals, retail stores, consoles, mobile phones and MP3 players.
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