Casual founder unites with online giant in new Asian business plan

PopCap and NCsoft to invade Korea with free games

Casual gaming giant PopCap will expand its business into Asia after striking a new partnership with local publisher NCsoft.

The two groups will unite to launch PopCap World; an online game portal hat will initially boast 13 PopCap games – each one adopting the free-to-play model.

PopCap World will debut in Korea later this year, featuring popular titles such as Bejeweled and Plants vs Zombies, as well as an all new game – Super Zuma – said to be built “exclusively for Korean players”.

PopCap World is the first product by the group’s Shanghai based game studio, and will be operated by NCsoft. All its games are free to play, with optional, premium paid elements to be added later.

James Gwertzman, PopCap vice president for Asia/Pacific, compared the service to Disneyland.

“When Disneyland first opened,” he said, “it revolutionized the amusement park industry and ushered in the era of the modern theme park.

“In the same way, we believe PopCap World has the potential to redefine casual games in Korea and beyond by offering players the most immersive PopCap experience yet.

“Our announcement today is just the beginning. We are very excited about our partnership with NCsoft – their formidable presence in the online market combined with PopCap’s leadership in the casual and social spaces makes for an interesting recipe that we look forward to serving up to players in Korea – and beyond.”

PopCap games have been downloaded over 1.5 billion times by players worldwide.

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