PopCap Games CEO Dave Roberts has announced his retirement from the successful game development studio, after nine years on the job.The Seattle-based studio has been responsible for worldwide hits such as Bejeweled and Plants vs. Zombies, and will now be run by co-founder John Vechey, effective January 8.
Jason Kapalka, another founding member of EA's PopCap Games, will also leave the studio, albeit still maintaining a creative consultant position.
“PopCap's mission right now is to create the greatest mobile game studio in the world, and we're going to do that by only making games that are beloved by players,” Vechey revealed during an interview with VentureBeat.
“We're focusing on our foundation in 2014 – talent, process, and most importantly, great products, around that mission,” he further stated on his plans for the starting year.
Vechey finally adds that PopCap's new goal is getting out more new IP, formalizing the creative process and getting it to scale better.
The company is facing a notable challenge, adjusting to the free-to-play business model that has become prevalent in the mobile gaming world, with Plants vs. Zombies 2 scoring a huge number of downloads but failing to monetize as well as EA had hoped.
Vechey stated that he planned to instill thinking about monetization in the early stages of game design in order to combat this occurrence in the future, instead of making “premium games with a little monetization on the side.”
PopCap has seen tremendous success in the mobile, casual and social game scene, with its cartoonish hits Bejeweled, Zuma, Peggle and Plants vs. Zombies.
The company plans to ship a first-person shooter multiplayer title in early 2014, combining the strong 3D capabilities of EA's Frostbite 3 engine with the crazy antics of zombies battling vegetation.