PopCap’s first mobile social game service to launch in Japan early next year
PopCap Games, worldwide leader in casual and social games, today announced a partnership with TAITO Corporation (TAITO®), a wholly-owned subsidiary of Square Enix Holdings Co., Ltd to launch Pop Tower™, a dedicated mobile social game service for the Japanese market.
Pop Tower will house custom-built social adaptations of PopCap’s stellar global game brands including Bejeweled®, Chuzzle® and Zuma®, and will tie them together with an all-new metagame with RPG elements, tailored for Japanese audiences. Not only will the Pop Tower edition of each game feature all-new game modes, they will also include social elements that allow users to interact with friends. The playing experience will be further expanded upon through a wide array of in-game virtual goods and premium service options.
This new game service is the first product released under the supervision of PopCap’s Tokyo office, and is representative of PopCap’s focused global strategy, which has already generated major announcements in China and Korea in recent months. In August, PopCap confirmed a strategic partnership with one of China’s largest social networking sites, RenRen, and in September, PopCap announced an agreement with NCsoft, leading provider of online games, to bring PopCap’s first online multiplayer game service, PopCap® World, to Korea.
Today’s announcement marks another major milestone for PopCap in terms of its global online and social strategies. The company has already sold more than 1 million units of its single player mobile games in Japan, but Pop Tower marks PopCap’s arrival into the mobile social gaming space, which generated over $1 billion in revenue in 2009.
A veteran of the game business from the earliest days of the arcade industry, TAITO has made a seamless transition to the mobile, connected world of today. TAITO was one of the first major game companies to enter the burgeoning mobile social game market, releasing more than a half dozen successful titles to date. James Gwertzman, PopCap’s Vice President for Asia/Pacific, said:
Social games on mobile devices looks set to dominate gaming worldwide and Japan is already ahead of the curve. PopCap is about identifying the curve and getting ahead of it. It’s not about being “trendy” or “first”; it’s about being the best; taking the talent and time to create something genuinely innovative. The Japanese game market is the second largest in the world, but historically, few Western companies have succeeded here.
PopCap believes the way to succeed globally is to think and act locally. We’ve set up a local team in Japan, and are very excited to collaborate with TAITO, one of the most dynamic Japanese companies in the social mobile space today. Our ambition for Pop Tower is to bring the best of PopCap – core game franchises like Bejeweled and Zuma – to Japanese customers; and hopefully make some discoveries about the mobile social space that we can then share with gamers internationally.
PopCap – along with flagship franchise Bejeweled – is widely regarded as a founding father of the casual games industry. Over the past 10 years, the company has solidified its reputation as a games pioneer by innovating new game genres exemplified in games such as BAFTA-nominated, Plants vs. Zombies™. PopCap is one of the few game developers/publishers that has successfully adapted itself to an ever-increasing variety of new gaming platforms and technologies.
Most recently, the company has gained notice for its success in the mobile and social spaces: it’s first iPhone game, Bejeweled 2, has been in the top 20 App-store apps since its July 2008 launch, while the company’s first social game, Bejeweled Blitz, launched in December 2008, is one of the top games on Facebook with over 4 million daily active users (DAU).