PopCap Acquires Casual Game Companies

GamaSutra reported about a recent PopCap company purchase. PopCap acquired Retro64 – an indie/casual game company operated by Mike Boeh. PopCap didn’t stop there: GamesIndustry.biz news item talks about the acquisition of SpinTop by PopCap.

Making company acquisitions isn’t new thing in the world, but there hasn’t been much talk about casual game company acquisitions in the past. Bigger corporations are watching the casual game space closely, so I would think that there will be more this type of shopping in the future. Big portals want to extend (and keep) their market share by purchasing smaller studios. Maybe even bigger fishes will enter the pond.

This sounds good to me. It sounds like there’s growth in the marketplace.

Juuso Hietalahti


  1. Getting into the casual games market now is sort of futile unless you have a super cool idea for a super cool rule-breaking and new game mechanic/concept. Only those do really create the astronomic returns required to be financially viable. All middle-of-the-road titles are competing for virtual shelf space and don’t really excite potential acquirers. It’ll take a new studio about 2 years to leave any impression on the market at all (that’s if they are really great). So, it’s not simply in and out again.
    I just got out of casual games after selling my company. It was fun as long as it lasted. Now it’s a big boys business. Not really quick turnaround indie material anymore.

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  3. As a indie you still have to make good games at any period :). A good quality game is the first step and I am still working on that first step ;).

  4. No Juuso, I don’t think it works like that. Studio aquisitions are usually made for personelle and IP, so if the key people are leaving, that sort of defeats the value proposition. A good lesson might be to keep the IP, so you have more value down the road, but I think this case is more about the people.

    Truthfully though, aquisitions don’t work and almost always ruin corporate culture.

  5. lmao, I think if that were your plan you probably wouldn’t be making good games as your goals are all wrong and in need of a re-evaluation.

  6. Could be so guys… on the other hand: perhaps this can be a really good opportunity for indies. Perhaps indies can now create a nice company, sell it to bigger company – and repeat.

  7. Patrick is right, although to me this doesn’t change anything at all. The casual game market has already been completely saturated for a long time. This is an inevitable next step in the process — consolidation into bigger and bigger companies to reduce costs and overhead, just as it happened in the mainstream game industry. The casual market started slipping from indies at the start of the decade, and for the last couple of years there have been zero opportunities remaining for indies (someone who makes all or most of their income from publishing through a portal is not an indie).

  8. Its just an innovation-averse corporate structure assimilating other risk-averse cell. This is nothing to celebrate.

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