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Popfacts: Popcap In Facts

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More fruits from the fulsome Develop 2010 tree now, this time based on the talk by Popcap’s Dave Bishop. He basically turned up and proudly thumped the company chest (albeit in a likeably unassuming way), but based on some of this stuff he’s entirely justified in doing so…

  • They tried – and failed – to sell Bejewelled to publishers for just $60,000 when they first made it.
  • They’re now selling another copy of Bejewelled every 4.3 seconds.
  • 25 million people played Bejewelled Blitz in its first year live.
  • Blitz has 3million daily active users.
  • 33% of all active users play the game every single day.
  • 3 trillion gems have been matched since the game launched.
  • It takes 60 seconds to play a game of Bejewelled Blitz – but the average play session is 43 minutes. Or 43 games, if you will.
  • Peggle took 3.5 years to develop.
  • Plants vs Zombies took three years to develop. It was originally set to be released after two years, “but the guy behind it came to us and asked “I want to add a whole lot of minigames to PvZ, is that okay? It was a tough decision to make, but in retrospect everyone’s glad that they made that decision.”
  • Bejewelled Twist took three years, “but should have taken two. We spent an extra year but it didn’t make it any better in the end.”
  • When they temporarily dedicated Bejewelled Blitz’s profits to the Haiti appeal, they made $80,000 in one day.
  • They’ve been working on various versions of Bejewelled for 10 years now, but it wasn’t until Blitz that they started checking statistics and basing design and player analytics. Previously, it had been purely about “how does this feel?”
  • They’re worried that Facebook could ban Blitz at any point, which is why they now collect email addresses with it. They hope to direct market to customers as a result rather than rely on Facebook.
  • “We have a rolling 12 month roadmap for Bejewelled Blitz.”
  • Founder Jason Kapalka has a 30-page design document of proposed changes to Blitz.
  • Plants vs Zombies’ team was 3 people. There are 20 people working on Bejewelled Blitz. Just to restate: Bejewelled Blitz is a micro-version of a match-3 game that takes 60 seconds to play.
  • On day that Bewelled Blitz’s Facebook page went down, they put up a quickie holding page suggesting people went to popcap.com while they waited. “We had popcap.com’s best revenue day. Now the guy who runs popcap.com keeps begging us to go down again.”
  • “You’ll definitely be seeing more social games based on our existing social franchises.” Mentioned as an example was taunting someone because you saw in the friend freed which Peggle Master they’re using. Speculat-o-tron thus suspects free to play Facebook Peggle – with micropayment add-on powers and whatnot.

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Alec Meer

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Co-founder of RPS. Dungeon Keeper & X-COM 4 Life.

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