It has been reported today that Dave Roberts will be stepping down as CEO from PopCap Games effective next week, as the studio responsible for Plants vs. Zombies and Peggle plans to get back to their development roots for 2014. In addition, chief game designer Jason Kapalka will also been leaving the PvZ studio shortly. Taking over Roberts’ position will be the last remaining co-founder of PopCap, John Vechey. Will this usher in a new era for the popular developer of casual games?
If anything, it seems that PopCap’s plans for the future are a little bit mixed right now. On the one hand, Vechey has been quoted in an exclusive interview with GamesBeat as saying “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.” Yet in the same interview, it is also stated that PopCap plans to expand beyond the realm of mobile going forward, in attempt to “get back to the place where we used to be.”
For a while, it was looking like PopCap’s efforts might be shifting to exclusively focus on free-to-play mobile games, but now that’s looking less likely thanks to these recent comments. PopCap certainly had an interesting 2013 as far as game releases were concerned. They first caused controversy by releasing the long-awaited Plants vs. Zombies 2: It’s About Time exclusively on iOS platforms, with an Android release coming a few months after, and PC gamers still anxiously waiting for their turn at the game. And then in an even more surprising move, the highly-anticipated Peggle 2 was released exclusively for Microsoft’s next-gen home gaming console, the Xbox One.
But regardless of what systems they ultimately appear on, more original IPs and sequels from PopCap in 2014 could never be a bad thing: at least if you’re planning on getting any work done this year (I’ve lost days of my life just to Peggle alone!).