You probably know that Grand Theft Auto is the best selling game, with its 8 million units sold in the first month. What you don't know, however, is that there is one little game that sells much, much better than Rockstar's masterpiece, and it's not Halo, nor World of Warcraft. It is Bejeweled, the casual game developed by PopCap Games, which sold no less than 25 million copies since it got released in 2000.
I know you can't actually compare the performance of Bejeweled with that of Halo or GTA, but it seems interesting to know that there are actually games that sell much better than the aforementioned ones - and, no matter what its price is, or how long it's been on the market, 25 million is a milestone any game in the world would love to hit!
"Considering we tried to sell Bejeweled outright to more than one industry giant back in the early days of our company, and got no takers even after reducing our asking price to $60,000, this little game has done all right for itself," said Jason Kapalka, chief creative officer and co-founder of PopCap, the original designer of Bejeweled and its sequel. "I vividly recall prospective buyers telling us 'It's not even a game,' while showing us the door," Kapalka laughed.
Well, it seems that casual gamers had a completely different opinion and the popularity of the game kept growing (up to a point when a guy proposed to his girlfriend
using a modded copy). Also, Bejeweled is not only the best selling casual game of all times, but also one of the games with most active play hours (which is really strange, considering that it's a casual title!). According to in-house statistics, Bejeweled and its sequel were played for about 6 billion hours - the equivalent of 60 people playing the game 24 hours a day since the last Ice Age 11,400 years ago. Isn't that a bit scary?
So, from now on, I promise not to make fun of casual games anymore. It appears that they are played much more than hardcore titles and they definitely sell more copies. Now I understand Riccitiello's plans to focus EA games more on the casual market...