PopCap games raises $22.5 million

Chris Caceres · October 6, 2009 · Short URL: https://vator.tv/n/b06

Developer of classic title, "Bejeweled" gets cash injection to build and expand into social media

PopCap Games, a multi-platform video game developer, announced it has raised $22.5 million in funding led by Meritech Partners.  Larry Bowman and John McCaw both joined the round.  This is the first round of funding for PopCap games since its inception ten years ago.  

So why take in an investment now?

After all, PopCap says it has maintained profitability since it first started up and has grown to more than 240 fulltime employees headquartered in Seattle with offices all the way in Dublin and Shanghai.  Its games have been downloaded more than 1 billion times, worldwide.  PopCap is also the developer of a very-well known game called Bejeweled, an easy to learn puzzle game that has sold over 25 million units across all platforms.  

While PopCap's games may have that addictive casual and easy to play style, they aren't quite up to date with the rise of social games and new business models in gaming, like virtual goods.  Companies like Zynga and Playdom are making games that connect people with one another through Facebook and other social media platforms, and at the same time, getting those players to buy all sorts of items from poker chips to certain crops for their virtual farms.  PopCap is looking to step into this rising trend of social media gaming and virtual goods economy.

“We’re excited to have additional working capital that lets us be more aggressive with our expansion into social media and reaching new geographies,” said David Roberts, CEO of PopCap.

Rob Ward, managing director at Meritech believes, "Taking the company’s boutique development style and universally appealing product lineup to the top of the video game food chain will be an exciting, potentially industry-changing, experience and we’re happy to be a part of it."

PopCap offers pay-to-play games and a line up of free, ad-supported games as well.  Besides looking to up its games to keep up with new trends, it said it is also looking into potential acquisitions in the social gaming space.  We'll see what kind of new games or upgrades PopCap releases in the near future to try and monetize off of social gaming.

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Zynga is the largest social gaming company with 8.5 million daily users and 45 million monthly users.  Zynga’s games are available on Facebook, MySpace, Bebo, Hi5, Friendster, Yahoo! and the iPhone, and include Texas Hold’Em Poker, Mafia Wars, YoVille, Vampires, Street Racing, Scramble and Word Twist.  The company is funded by Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, IVP, Union Square Ventures, Foundry Group, Avalon Ventures, Pilot Group, Reid Hoffman and Peter Thiel.  Zynga is headquartered at the Chip Factory in San Francisco.  For more information, please visit www.zynga.com.