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Make Me Smart with Kai and Molly

Electronic Arts buys PopCap Games

John Moe Jul 13, 2011
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STEVE CHIOTAKIS: Video game publisher Electronic Arts says it’s gonna buy PopCap Games in a $1.3 billion deal. EA is looking to broaden its market in another type of gaming experience.

And Marketplace Tech Report host John Moe is with us live to talk about that. Good morning John.

JOHN MOE: Hey Steve.

CHIOTAKIS: What does PopCap have that EA Games wants?

MOE: Well, it’s got a lot of cool games. The games that they make are pretty popular, pretty fun. They have “Bejeweled.” They have “Plants vs. Zombies.” They’re pretty well regarded for making good stuff. And EA specializes in the console games. The big ticket items, like Madden series — the stuff the hardcore gamers like. PopCap makes more casual games, things you could buy for $1 or $2, play them on your phones, and say you have companies that can pool their talents. And now EA is better prepared to battle the growing power of Zynga, that’s the casual game maker that does “Farmville” and “Cityville.” But really I think this is just how, like the GAP has both Banana Republic and Old Navy — it has high-end and low-end. And so EA is covered.

CHIOTAKIS: What does this say, John, about gaming industry and for traditional game makers?

MOE: Well, here’s what it comes down to. We’re either seeing a shift or a expansion. Casual games are blowing up. “Angry Birds” for instance, which isn’t a PopCap game but is a very popular casual game, has been downloaded 250 million times. Zynga is blowing up with its games and these games are cheap, they’re easy to figure out how to play. They’re easy to have fun with. Console games aren’t growing nearly as fast. So either people are leaving the console and moving towards the casual of things they can do on their phones, or the gaming world is expanding. We’ve been hearing about this for a long time — how soon everybody’s mom will be playing games too.

CHIOTAKIS: Yeah.

MOE: And it seems like Electronic Arts just wanted to be ready for either scenario.

CHIOTAKIS: Marketplace Tech Report host John Moe. John, thanks.

MOE: Thanks Steve.

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