PopCap buys ZipZapPlay for Facebook expansion

PopCap Games has acquired ZipZapPlay, a social games company in San Francisco. The acquisition gives PopCap further inroads into the Facebook game space, which it is currently in third place behind Zynga and EA. ZipZapPlay created Baking Life and Happy Habitat -- yeah, we'd never heard of them either. The financial terms of PopCap's acquisition weren't revealed.

ZipZapPlay CEO Curt Bererton (pictured, being eaten by the dragon couch) and CCO Mathilde Pignol will stay on at the San Francisco studio of 17 employees. The company will retain its name and will report to PopCap's social games VP. PopCap expects to have "four or five" games total on Facebook by the end of this year, which includes the already-released Bejeweled Blitz, Zuma Blitz and ZZP's Baking Life.

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TKPopCap Games Acquires ZipZapPlay

Casual Games Leader Expands Key Development Capabilities with Purchase of Established San Francisco-Based Social Games Creator

SEATTLE, Washington and DUBLIN, Ireland - April 29, 2011 - PopCap Games, the worldwide leader in casual games, today announced that it has signed an agreement to acquire ZipZapPlay, a social games company based in San Francisco, California. With the acquisition, PopCap increases its Facebook games lineup, establishes a social studio in Silicon Valley, and positions itself for further growth and continued success in one of the hottest digital games categories. Financial terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.

ZipZapPlay is a venture-backed social games startup with seventeen employees including founders Curt Bererton (CEO) and Mathilde Pignol (CCO), who will continue to direct game design and development at the San Francisco studio. ZipZapPlay's previous titles include Baking Life and other social games. "The team at ZipZapPlay is one of the best in the social games space, and combined with our existing group in Seattle gives us the opportunity to dramatically expand our development resources," said John Vechey, PopCap co-founder and VP of Corporate Strategy and Development, who oversaw the acquisition. "While the acquisition creates immediate cross-promotional and operations benefits, this is a strategic move with huge long-term potential; we believe ZipZapPlay can help us further evolve and expand the definition of social games."

"Adding ZipZapPlay's strong design and development team to our rapidly-growing social games group is a big move for us," said Jason Kapalka, co-founder and Chief Creative Officer at PopCap. "ZipZapPlay is a great cultural fit: a truly creative company that lives and breathes in this space. And their next game is very innovative and exciting - we believe it has the potential to be a step forward in the evolution of social gaming."

"We're elated to join the leading casual games developer and help grow PopCap's presence in the social arena," said ZipZapPlay's Bererton. "PopCap's focus on innovative gameplay and user experience meshes with our own design philosophy. We can't wait to put our heads together with PopCap and start creating the next generation of games for Facebook and other social platforms."

ZipZapPlay will operate as an independent studio in San Francisco headed by Bererton and Pignol and reporting to PopCap VP of Social Games Development Jon David. With the resulting expansion of PopCap's social game development capabilities, the company expects to have four or five games available on Facebook by the end of 2011. PopCap's initial social games, Bejeweled® Blitz and Zuma® Blitz, already attract a total of approximately five million DAUs (Daily Active Users), making PopCap the third largest Facebook game developer, after Zynga and Electronic Arts.

About PopCap PopCap Games is the leading global developer, publisher and operator of casual video games: fun, easy-to-learn, captivating games that appeal to all ages across PC, mobile, social and other platforms. Based in Seattle, Washington, PopCap was founded in 2000 and has a worldwide staff of more than 400 people in Seattle, San Francisco, Vancouver, B.C., Dublin, Seoul, Shanghai and Tokyo. PopCap's games have been downloaded over 1.5 billion times by consumers worldwide, and its flagship franchise, Bejeweled®, has sold more than 50 million units. # # # TK

This article was originally published on Joystiq.