Respected US and Japanese developers team up; Dublin studio making mobile version of casual best-seller, too

PopCap teams with Q Entertainment for Peggle DS

In the second day’s closing keynote of this week’s Casual Connect conference in Seattle, PopCap confirmed that after successful spells on PC, Mac and iPod the game will soon hit retail via a Nintendo DS adaptation, with a mobile version due too.

The DS version of the game is being put together by PopCap in association with Japanese firm Q Entertainment, the studio founded by Sega Rally designer Tetsuya Mizuguchi and responsible for Lumines.

The game, described by VP of game platforms Greg Canessa as “not a port, but an adaptation with new and exclusive features” will offer new levels designed by the team at Q. The game will hit retail by the end of the year.

It’s PopCap’s first DS game – but won’t be the last. Two of its hidden object games are also landing on DS later this year.

“We are super excited,” said Canessa. “It’s just the beginning of great things to come for PopCap and Nintendo on the DS platform.” An official announcement is due out tomorrow, Friday June 25th.

The confirmation comes after PopCap founder John Vechey accidentally let slip the game was heading to DS at the Casual Connect Amsterdam event in February – but back then it was not know PopCap had turned to a prestigious Japanese studio to handle the handheld version.

Also, CEO Dave Roberts confirmed another game that “we haven’t announced but everyone knows we’re doing” – Peggle for mobile. The game, developed by PopCap’s mobile games studio in Dublin, Ireland, is near-complete, he said, with the game to be available for 400 handsets in eight languages. No specific launch date was given however.

The announcements of the new versions of the game concluded a talk which ran through the sales progress of Peggle since its launch in February 2007. It was PopCap’s first new IP game in two years and has had a slow burn, but increasingly potent sales success which Roberts attributed to a mix of factors including: smart choice of platforms; the use of a free web trial version; embracing a retail release of the game; selling the game online to hardcore gamers via developer Valve and its Steam platform; and, most importantly, good gameplay.

“We fundamentally believe that better games means better business,” said Roberts, saying that games firms “will regret it” if they forget that ‘important rule’.

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