PopCap's past year: EA or just business?

Discussion in 'Indie Business' started by iGame Omaha, Aug 22, 2012.

  1. iGame Omaha

    Original Member

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2006
    Messages:
    43
    Likes Received:
    0
    Today I posted an article on iGame Radio regarding what I see as the reality of PopCap Games right now after their merger with EA one year ago. My view (and the view of a number of others) is that the Indie development atmosphere of PopCap is slowly disappearing/dying due to EA's involvement.

    John Vechey, co-founder of PopCap, also posted a note in the PopCap blog in which he had a different take on things.

    I was interested in what you guys in the Indie dev community thought about this. Should small studios eschew mergers/buyouts with big publishers because ultimately they can't be Indies anymore? Or are many of us viewing things wrong and PopCap is still able to hold onto that independent status?
     
  2. Applewood

    Moderator Original Member Indie Author

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2004
    Messages:
    3,858
    Likes Received:
    2
    I think you're getting overcomplicated.

    The people who actually owned popcap sold out to EA for a Brazilian dollars. And who wouldn't in the same position. After that, I really don't think they cared a toss tbh.
     
  3. iGame Omaha

    Original Member

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2006
    Messages:
    43
    Likes Received:
    0
    If by "sold out" you mean that they sold their ownership in the company and left, that's not true at all. All three of the founders of PopCap Games still work there in the same positions as before the merger:

    Brian Fiete: Founder, President of PopCap
    John Vechey: Founder, VP Corporate Strategy and Development of PopCap
    Jason Kapalka: Founder, Chief Game Designer at PopCap
     
  4. Applewood

    Moderator Original Member Indie Author

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2004
    Messages:
    3,858
    Likes Received:
    2
    Yep, that's known as golden handcuffs.
     
  5. Morgan Ramsay

    Morgan Ramsay New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2006
    Messages:
    133
    Likes Received:
    0
    I've interviewed both BioWare cofounders and PopCap cofounder Jason Kapalka for my next book. I asked Ray Muzyka how he would respond to the critics who claim EA controls BioWare. He said, "We are EA. We're not separate from EA, but we are BioWare at the same time, too." The same is true for PopCap. EA isn't "involved" with PopCap. PopCap is EA, so your premise is wrong. You can wonder how PopCap would have been different had they never sold to EA, but at that point, you're just speculating.

    If you make a choice to be a starving artist, that's fine, but don't be a snob. Being "indie" for the sake of being "indie" is a luxury that most people can't afford. However, if you can follow in the footsteps of Bethesda Softworks, Insomniac Games, or Stormfront Studios, more power to you. Just ensure that you are rewarded for the legacy you leave behind when you eventually depart for greener pastures.

    When you start a business, you're always beholden to someone. In PopCap's case, the three founders of PopCap didn't set out to change the world. They just wanted to be free from oversight, and the cost of that independence meant pumping out one game every month to sell to portals. The success of Bejeweled altered their business model, but that didn't happen until at least a year later.

    In 2011, PopCap accepted EA's offer. They had been fielding offers since 2002 and even considered taking the company public. PopCap was profitable, but the founders felt like they had been "doubling down our [their] bets at the roulette table for ten years." Success rarely creates certainty, and they had no guarantees that their company would be around to see a greater offer. They wanted to avoid a scenario where they'd forever regret either not holding out or not taking the deal on the table. And the deal on the table was $650M plus $100M in EA stock. Isn't that enough?
     
  6. dewitters

    Original Member

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2005
    Messages:
    128
    Likes Received:
    0
    Yep, an acquisition normally comes with some restrictions:
    - Don't do mayor layoffs within a year
    - Founders need to stay x years after the acquisition

    Since a year has passed now, the layoffs have happened, and soon the founders will part ways with their company. That's just how acquisitions work. If the founders were pursuing some other vision, they wouldn't have sold their company.
     

Share This Page

  • About Indie Gamer

    When the original Dexterity Forums closed in 2004, Indie Gamer was born and a diverse community has grown out of a passion for creating great games. Here you will find over 10 years of in-depth discussion on game design, the business of game development, and marketing/sales. Indie Gamer also provides a friendly place to meet up with other Developers, Artists, Composers and Writers.
  • Buy us a beer!

    Indie Gamer is delicately held together by a single poor bastard who thankfully gets help from various community volunteers. If you frequent this site or have found value in something you've learned here, help keep the site running by donating a few dollars (for beer of course)!

    Sure, I'll Buy You a Beer