After four years of development, Popcap lit up Seattle Monday night with the launch of Bejeweled Twist sparing no expense to show off their new casual game. It took four years to complete but Popcap isn’t going to release a game until it’s perfect. You won’t play it until they believe it is a game their mom would love.
“Popcap builds games for people, not demographics,” says CEO David Roberts. At the launch the founders, John Vechey, Brian Fiete and Jason Kapalka talked about the casual game market while the “Gem Girls” walked around looking sexy and flashy. Roberts talked about the casual game industry and forecasts it growing to become an $8 billion market — not too shabby for USD $19.99 games.
Downloads of Bejeweled, of course, show no signs of stopping and Popcap explained that 40% of their revenue comes from the old concepts of “Diamond Mine.” Phil Spencer, Microsoft Game Studios’ General Manager, hopped on stage and explained how Microsoft saw Popcap’s vision in their Diamond Mine flash game and suggested a rename to Bejeweled, the founders hated the name but took the big companies suggestion on the change.
Since then, we’ve had many folks attempt to clone and replicate the success in Popcap’s flagship product. Complete with open bar, Gem Girls, camera flashes and glitter this game launch shows the growing casual games industry the great power and momentum of “simple” casual games.
Nothing about Bejeweled Twist is simple. The game play of Bejeweled Twist aggregates all the knowledge Popcap has acquired over the last seven years to design one blockbuster title. From classic Bejeweled to Chuzzle to Peggle, the game takes pieces of each successful title and combines the game play, sounds, graphics and modes into a product that will bring casual gaming to a new level. Bejeweled Twist is going to be the new bar to reach in the industry in terms of addictive game play and a unified casual vision.