Blames Changing Market, Not EA
PopCap co-founder John Vechey has reached out to confirm that they've had to make 50 staffers redundant in order to stay in business. Taking great pains to explain that EA took no part in the decision, he laid out plans to adapt in the face of the growing free to play and social markets, which "challenged" their traditional premium-priced app business model.
"Free-to-play, social and mobile games have exploded in popularity," Vechey explained in a recent blog post. "That happened fast. Surprisingly so. The change in consumer tastes requires us to reorganize our business and invest in new types of games on new platforms. It's a completely different world from when we started."
"To stay in business, we need to manage costs, improve efficiency and maintain a profit. 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."
"The decision to reorganise was 100 per cent made by us, with no pressure from EA," Vechey hastened to add. "Some of the people affected by the reorganization may be retrained and reassigned to other jobs in the EA studios. If we didn't have EA behind us, the cuts would have been worse."
We knew that something was amiss when Popcorn Dragon, a content-complete app that we played at an EA showcase last summer, failed to materialise. Perhaps we can expect Plants vs Zombies 2 to be free to play?