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					PopCap Games

Bejeweled Case Study
     Mr. Dunford
                                 Task
Read the below slides. Make links between the below areas and the
  information in the slides. Do this by annotating the slides with the
  appropriate point.
• • the issues raised by media ownership in contemporary media practice;
• • the importance of cross media convergence and synergy in production,
  distribution and marketing;
• • the technologies that have been introduced in recent years at the levels
  of production, distribution, marketing and exchange;
• • the significance of proliferation in hardware and content for institutions
  and audiences;
• • the importance of technological convergence for institutions and
  audiences;
• • the issues raised in the targeting of national and local audiences
  (specifically, British) by international or global institutions;
• • the ways in which the candidates’ own experiences of media
  consumption illustrate wider patterns and trends of audience behaviour.
       Overview of Bejeweled
• Bejeweled 2 is the latest version of the
  classic "match-3" gem puzzler, in which
  players manipulate jewels of different colors
  to create horizontal or vertical rows of three
  more identical jewels. Solve handcrafted
  brain teasers in puzzle mode while up
  against the clock or kick back, relax and
  enjoy endless mode. With awe-inspiring
  planetary backdrops, explosive new gems
  and dazzling special effects, Bejeweled 2 is
  more wildly addictive than ever before!
 The Roots…How PopCap Games
           Started
• Founded during Internet bust in 2000
• Founders—Brian Fiete, Jason Kapalka
  and John Vechey.
• Desired to launch casual online games
  into the mainstream marketplace.
• Ignoring the conventional wisdom that
  "success is on the consoles."
            Timeline of Events
• 2004—Maverick Award for Development
• 2004/11—Bejewelled Deluxe Released—Already on
  mobiles, PCs and PDA, the new Bejewelled Deluxe
  features ‘awe-inspiring planetary backdrops, explosive
  new gems and dazzling special effects, Bejeweled 2 is
  more wildly addictive than ever before. The game
  features four unique and entrancing ways to play.
  Besides the newly improved Classic mode, players can
  solve hand-crafted brain teasers in Puzzle mode, race
  against the clock in Action, or kick back and relax with
  the new Endless mode.
• 2004/11—Official Bejewelled website is released
                   Timeline of Events
•   2005/09—$ 1 Million Skill’s Jam Competition—Already on the web, PCs,
    mobiles and other digital entertainment platforms, Bejeweled is one game
    that is featured in this competition.
     – Bejeweled is selected because it ‘is extremely broad in popularity and is easy to
       learn while still being challenging to experienced players’ and is ‘one of the top
       casual games in the world’.
     – Using SkillJam's proprietary tournament technology, contestants can enter the
       championship through one of approximately 400 qualifier tournaments provided
       on www.Skilljam.com, or via SkillJam partner sites such as AOL Games, eBay,
       GSN, MSN Games, and Real Networks
     – SkillJam, a subsidiary of FUN Technologies, is the leading multi-channel provider
       of skill-gaming technology and solutions and boasts more than 100+ skill games
       across all gaming genres, including Puzzle, Arcade, Card and Tile, Word, Trivia
       and Multi-Player games. SkillJam develops and distributes skill-gaming solution
       across Online, Mobile, and iTV platforms, while providing a host of private-label
       gaming solutions for a broad network of partner destination sites in the US and
       abroad, including AOL, MSN Games, and Disney's Go.com.
     – In 2005 alone, SkillJam has signed over 30 skill-gaming deals with leading global
       brands, including Virgin Games and eBay.
              Timeline of Events
• 2005/9—Consumption of Bejeweled and Hall of Fame
   – Bejeweled 2 and Zuma, which have collectively been played by
     more than 20 million consumers for more than 500 million hours,
     are two of the most popular casual games of all time, and have
     dominated the Top 10 lists of Web, downloadable/PC and mobile
     games since being introduced in early 2004.
   – The Bejeweled franchise alone is responsible for consuming
     approximately 2 billion hours of consumer leisure time -- more
     than the U.S. airings of all of the original episodes from the first
     four seasons of the "Survivor" reality television show combined.
   – Bejeweled was recently inducted into Computer Gaming World's
     Hall of Fame -- the first puzzle game to be so honored since
     Tetris nearly 20 years ago.
             Timeline of Events
• 2005/9—General Facts Regarding online Gaming
  – The casual games sector -- comprised of family-friendly puzzle,
    word, trivia and arcade-style games -- has experienced
    tremendous growth, with almost 150 million consumers
    worldwide now playing such games on a regular basis.
  – PopCap has helped grow the casual games space, pioneering
    the "try-before-you-buy" business model (now an industry
    standard) and consistently creating the most popular games in
    the category since the company's inception in 2000.
  – PopCap's games are simple to learn and easy to play, yet are
    difficult to master and provide limitless enjoyment.
                        Timeline of Events
•   2005/11—Bejewelled and Zuma featured in Xbox 360 Live Arcade
     – Launched of Microsoft’s New Videogame Console.
     – Allows PopCap’s Bejewelled, successful in the online PC gaming arena, an opportunity to diversify today's
         videogame console content.
     – Available for download via the Xbox Live Arcade area of Xbox Live, the online service available to all Xbox
         360 purchasers.
     – Several other PopCap titles including Feeding Frenzy® and AstroPop® will be added to the Xbox Live
         Arcade service by early 2006.
     – All such PopCap titles are optimized for play on Xbox 360 and feature a number of enhancements and
         capabilities not found in previous versions of the games (see below).
     – Live Arcade for Xbox 360 is designed to be an integrated destination for downloadable games of all types
     – Microsoft says is was ‘a strategic launch partner’ with PopCap
     – Content is casual but challenging
     – PopCap says ‘Bejeweled 2 in particular has never looked or played better than it does in the high definition,
         widescreen resolution mode of Xbox 360.’
     – Additional Enhancements, Functions and Features include:
     1. High-Definition Graphics -- All titles will support the Xbox 360's HDTV display output and widescreen
         resolutions that show off each game's graphics to unparalleled effect
     2. Leaderboards -- Online scoreboards to compare against other Xbox Live Players (interactivity)
     3. Achievements -- Merit badges awarded for predefined accomplishments earned in the game that players
         can proudly display as they navigate the Xbox Live environment (hierarchy)
     4. Gamerscore -- A meta-score spanning all Xbox 360 titles, whereby cumulative accomplishments across
         different game genres/categories are ranked and reflected in one composite "uber-score" to showcase a
         player's overall games experience on the system. (hierarchy)
     5. Enhanced Play Controls -- Using the new wireless controllers that come standard with Xbox 360 System,
         players can now 'feel' the weight of the gems as they're swapped in Bejeweled 2 and sense the "kick" of the
         balls as they're fired in Zuma (tactile, technologies)
                     Timeline of Events
•   2005/10/10—PopCap Releases ‘Stress Relief From an Unlikely Source: 'Casual'
    Computer and Videogames’ Article
     –   Makes link with seasonal stress
     –   Identifies differences between casual games and ‘children's games, which are more likely to
         increase adrenaline levels due to their frenetic, competitive nature and "in-your-face"
         imagery.’
     –   These are ‘"casual" games: word, puzzle, trivia and simple action games such as Bejeweled
         or Chuzzle from PopCap Games, which are already played by tens of millions of consumers,
         www.popcap.com.’
     –   Expert Opinions are used, so are opinions of consumers
     –   Positive Facts and research is used
     –   Distinction is made between ‘traditional’ video games and ‘casual’ games
     –   The article ends with a brief overview of PopCap games, expressing how they are the ‘leader
         in casual games’ and how PopCap now has added a ‘printable/email-able gift certificate to its
         website. The recipient can try out as many PopCap games as they like, then use the gift
         certificate to purchase the one(s) they enjoy most.
     –   Following this is a list of where the games can be purchased (Microsoft Games Zone
         (http://zone.msn.com/), Yahoo Games (http://get.games.yahoo.com/), PopCap Games
         (www.popcap.com), AOL Games (http://games.aol.com/), Real Arcade
         (www.realarcade.com)
     –   The next day a correction to the above article is printed. The error was the printing of the
         consumers health issues (from ‘multiple sclerosis’ to ‘onset Alzheimers and occasional bouts
         of severe depression’)
                        Timeline of Events
•   2005/10/30—Disney and PopCap Teamup
     –   Disney Online, leader in kids and family online entertainment, today announced the launch of Disney's
         Game Cafe www.disneysgamecafe.com, the company's first downloadable games collection and Web site
         specifically tailored for a "grown-up" audience.
     –   Site features popular games from Disney, FreshGames, PlayFirst and PopCap
     –   Twenty exciting games with appeal for adults 25-45 who can easily download and play offline with friends
         and family. With plans to add more games in the future, the initial line-up includes Disney titles, as well as
         the popular titles from leading online developers and publishers. PopCap has the most games featured
         (Eleven Games).
     –   Games are available for downloading for $9.95 to $19.95 or a free trial is available by visiting
         www.disneysgamecafe.com.
     –   Disney "We are pleased to expand our downloadable games offering, broadening our appeal to include a
         diverse collection of games the whole family can enjoy,"
     –   Disney "By partnering with the best developers and publishers of downloadable games, we are able to
         expand our commitment to providing high quality online entertainment for both kids and their parents.―
     –   Since Disney Online www.disney.com launched in 1995 it has become the number one kids and family
         entertainment destination on the Internet, with an estimated 77 percent of traffic from adults (comScore
         Media Metrix, October 2005).
     –   Disney Online provides an interactive gateway to family entertainment that features many of the popular
         Disney characters.
     –   Disney Online network is designed to reflect the vision of an "online theme park," providing an interactive
         gateway to all of the company's many Disney-branded internet initiatives.
                      Timeline of Events
•   2005/12/14—PopCap Sponsors Game Award at Slamdance 2006 Gamemaker Awards Night
    Gala
     – PopCap signed an agreement with the organanizers of the Slamdance 2006 independent
         film festival, to be a primary sponsor of the event's Gamemaker Awards Night.
     – At the same time, PopCap and the Slamdance Festival announced the addition of a new
         "Best Casual Game" award to the event's Guerilla Gamemaker Competition.
     – Senior members of PopCap's game design and development teams will serve as judges for
         the new award category and will present the award to the developer whose submitted work
         best demonstrates the virtues of a successful casual game: simple, addictive, and fun.
     – The grand prize winner will be considered for worldwide publication under the PopCap label.
     – 70+ Entries
     – Entrants use PopCap's free casual game framework, which accelerates the development for
         any game. Available for free. This dramatically speeds up the development time for new
         games. This is the same framework that PopCap itself uses to produce its own award-
         winning games. Why this was done, according to PopCap. "By allowing game developers to
         focus their efforts where it really counts, on making the game itself instead of having to start
         from scratch every time, we hope to unlock even more creativity and innovation in this
         exciting segment of the market,"
     – PopCap’s reasoning for signing the agreement. ‘To support the next wave of independent
         game developers. We're really looking forward to identifying and rewarding the top
         independently-developed casual games of the past year.―
     – In addition to publishing their own internally-developed games, PopCap also publishes third-
         party games from independent casual game developers, such as the recently-launched
         Bonnie's Bookstore™ from New Crayon Games.
     – Five weeks spent evaluating the games based on three primary areas: simplicity, addictive
         core game-play, and overall fun.
                         Timeline of Events
•   Continued--2005/12/14—PopCap Sponsors Game Award at Slamdance 2006 Gamemaker
    Awards Night Gala
     –   Slamdance was started in 1995 by a group of upstart filmmakers
     –   Slamdance Film Festival is a year-round organization dedicated to emerging artists and their vision.
     –   Slamdance has established a unique reputation for premiering independent films by first-time directors
         working with limited budgets.
     –   Has launched competitions before, working with fox21, the Guerilla Gamemaker Competition, and the
         Slamdance Media Group, a company comprised of distribution, development and talent-management units.
     –   Now entering its second year, the Slamdance Guerilla Game Competition exists to recognize and reward the
         innovative and exciting work being done by independent game designers, programmers, and artists.
     –   The Competition features Grand Jury and Audience prizes.
     –   This year Slamdance has added the PopCap Casual Game award and two Student Awards to the
         competition.
     –   The 2006 Slamdance Film Festival is presented by Kodak and fox21.
     –   In addition to the above facts and items, the below ‘revised’ facts about the casual game sector was included
         in the press release.

           •   The casual games sector -- comprising family-friendly puzzle, word, trivia and arcade-style games -- has experienced
               tremendous growth in recent years. More than 100 million consumers now play such games on a regular basis and
               according to industry research firms approximately 53 percent of those players are female and two thirds are over age 35.
               While the casual games sector has ballooned to projected revenues of more than $500 million in 2005, many of the most
               innovative games in the category are still created by small teams of developers working independently of large publishers.
                 Timeline of Events
•   2006/01/10—Mac and PopCap Games
    – Immediately availability are three of its top-selling word, puzzle, arcade and
      action games for Mac OS X version 10.4 "Tiger.―
    – The available games are Bejeweled 2, Bookworm and Zuma.
    – PopCap’s Reasons. "We rely on Apple innovation in various stages of the game
      design and development processes and are extremely impressed with what the
      power and tools allow us to create,―
    – "The Mac is a popular gaming platform and Mac owners are among the most
      ardent consumers and creators of entertainment content so we're excited to have
      our top games fully optimized for Tiger."
    – "Apple's use of powerful technologies like OpenGL and our breakthrough Xcode
      development tools make Tiger a great platform for developing eye-popping
      entertainment.―
    – Facts about Casual Gamers is included in the press release
    – Pricing and Availability is included…debut in the Game Pavilion Arcade at
      Macworld Expo this week and are also available at www.popcap.com,
      www.apple.com and other leading entertainment-oriented websites. The full,
      deluxe versions of these games can be downloaded from those same websites
      and played for free for 60 minutes using the "try-before-you-buy" sales model
      pioneered by PopCap. The games are priced at US $19.95 each.
                           Timeline of Events
•   2006/01/11—PopCap and Games for Health Project Team-up for Research Initiative
     –   The Games for Health Project announced a unique effort to gather, evaluate, and share research on the use of digital games and
         cognitive health.
     –   The jointly funded effort will result in a publicly available knowledge-base summarizing both the research and market development
         activities associated with the possible use of digital games for maintaining healthy minds. Initial findings will be made available in
         early Spring 2006.
     –   Health Project’s Reasons. "We know good games activate minds. ‘What we don't know, and what hope to learn in the course of
         this research, is exactly what the role of digital games is or could be in the future, in helping people maintain healthy minds. The
         goal of this effort is to establish a baseline of knowledge -- you'd think it exists but it really doesn't. PopCap's support is going to
         help us accelerate our activity to get a handle on this as a benefit to the entire field of games and games for health."
     –   With an increasingly aging population in many developed countries the field of cognitive exercise is growing. Advocates of
         cognitive exercise say it is equally important for people to exercise their minds as well as their bodies. In Japan, a series of popular
         brain exercise games for Nintendo's DS platform have been major commercial successes. In the U.S. several companies offer
         mental workout products. However, it's not clear what's good and what isn't or how or whether existing underlying scientific
         research has been effectively applied.
     –   PopCap says "We have heard from many customers that they use our games for 'mental workouts' or 'brain exercise' but we're not
         even sure what that means or if it's even relevant,―
     –   And ‘By partnering with the Games for Health Project we'll gain access to existing data and the emerging conduit for partnerships
         between healthcare researchers and game companies. Our plan is to share this work with everyone so we all have the same
         baseline from which we can inform ourselves and our customers -- and perhaps build even better, more beneficial, games.―
     –   The goal of the work is only to summarize past and present efforts. It is not designed to test the validity of any specific
         game (PopCap's or otherwise) for which there is no actual body of existing research. The project may also look at
         existing public perceptions of cognitive exercise and expert opinions on whether digital games offer any specific
         comparative advantages over other sources of cognitive exercise.
     –   The project will run several months during which contributors to the Games for Health Project working with research
         advisors will scour research, interview experts in the field, and examine current products. This work will be compiled into
         a knowledgebase and a summary report will be developed and presented at upcoming game conferences starting in the
         Spring of 2006, as well as made public on the Games for Health web site.
     –   Games for Health is a project produced by The Serious Games Initiative (www.seriousgames.org), a Woodrow Wilson
         International Center for Scholars effort that applies games and game technologies to a range of public and private policy,
         leadership, and management issues. The Project is funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.
     –   The Initiative founded Games for Health to develop a community and best practices platform for games being built for
         health care applications. To date the project has brought together researchers, medical professionals, and game
         developers to share information about the impact games and game technologies can have on health care and policy.
         This includes an effort to catalog the current use of games in health care. For more information about Games for Health,
         see www.gamesforhealth.org.
                       Timeline of Events
•   2006/02/01—PopCap Launches International Operation
     – Based in Dublin, Ireland, the new operations center will serve as a local hub for PopCap's European and
         Asian business activities as well as studio facilities for international games and new title development.
     – PopCap's multimillion dollar investment in international expansion signals how serious the company is about
         supplying premium games in local languages and local venues.
     – PopCap's existing and future overseas partners and customers will receive more immediate and direct
         interaction with the company in every respect, while reducing their costs and shortening production and
         deal-making timetables. Newly-localized games for some European markets will be launched this quarter,
         and international versions of www.popcap.com are expected in the first half the year.
     – through initiatives such as the Digital Hub and has historically been the preferred European center of
         localization for the software industry
     – expansion is our top priority in 2006
     – Among the first games to be made available to overseas audiences are Bejeweled® 2, Chuzzle™,
         Insaniquarium® and Zuma®; primary European languages targeted for rollouts in the first half of 2006
         include French, German, Italian, Spanish, Dutch and Swedish.
     – Asian localizations into Chinese, Korean and Japanese will also be available this year.
     – The casual games industry is the fastest-growing sector of the interactive entertainment industry, with
         enormous growth projected in 2006 and beyond. The broad appeal of casual games across new platforms
         such as mobile phones as well as traditional PCs and videogame consoles is drawing new audiences to
         gaming above and beyond the traditional "hardcore" game player.
     – Industry research firm estimates vary, but even conservative projections see the sector growing to more
         than $1 Billion in 2006, with some estimates as high as $5 Billion by 2009. PopCap is far and away the
         leader in the space, developing and publishing more hit games than any other casual games firm and
         attracting more than 150 million downloads of its games in the past five years
            Timeline of Events
• 2006/02/01—PopCap Primary sponsor of Casualty
  Europe Conference
   – Held in Amsterdam February 7-9
   – Done to celebrate the recent opening of its new
     international offices in Dublin, Ireland with a lead
     sponsorship role at the conference, a conference
     party and senior PopCap executives presenting at the
     event
   – Announcements and Activities include 1) Opening of
     international headquarters 2) European partnership
     meetings 3) PopCap Party (VIP) 4) Speakers
               Timeline of Events
• 2006/03/02—PopCap releases press release titles ‘Female Gamers
  Not Just a Man's World: From 'Bejeweled' to 'Zuma,' Women Are
  Biggest, Most Passionate Players of 'Casual' Computer Games’
   – Contains facts presented in a persuasive way, such as: ‘now played by
     more than 100 million people regularly -- over half of whom are female’.
     ‘Games like Bejeweled, Diner Dash, Bookworm and Chuzzle collectively
     consume more than 3 billion hours of women's leisure time per year’,
     ‘demographics reflect the increasing popularity of casual games among
     women. Of the 7 million monthly visitors to www.popcap.com, 72.8%
     are female, 71% are over the age of 35 and more than 43% are married
     with children.
   – Expert opinions given
   – Platforms available on are noted
   – Emphasis on difference between casual games and "hardcore" games
     are noted
   – Consumer’s opinions noted
   – Prices mentioned
   – Places to acquire mentioned
                       Timeline of Events
•   2006/03/06--PopCap™'s Bejeweled 2 and Zuma Featured on New Ultra-Mobile PCs
     –   several of its most popular games, including Bejeweled® 2, Zuma®, and Bookworm®, have been optimized
         for the new Ultra-Mobile PCs announced today by Microsoft®, Intel®, and other industry partners.
     –   Two of PopCap's Ultra-Mobile PC-optimized titles will also be showcased in the Microsoft and Intel booths
         (#A38 Hall 4 and #C46 Hall 2, respectively) at CeBIT, the world's largest IT and technology trade show being
         held this week in Hannover, Germany.
     –   Trial versions of these games will be preinstalled on Ultra-Mobile PCs from several leading original
         equipment manufacturers (OEMs); customers will be able to purchase the full version of these games
         directly from Microsoft via its MSN Games online portal. Future Ultra-Mobile PC-enhanced games will be
         available for download directly from PopCap
     –   Microsoft’s reasons ‘anytime, anywhere nature’ of the platform and game
     –   PopCaps reasoning: allows the ‘highest quality mobile gaming experience’
     –   Also, ‘Full-featured mobile devices like the UMPC are ideally suited to casual games, with their portability,
         digital entertainment focus, and wireless connectivity. Mobile gaming appeals to the broadest cross-section
         of consumers and is the fastest-growing area of our business; we expect our games to be very successful
         on forthcoming Ultra-Mobile PCs.―
     –   And: The availability of PopCap's hit games on the Ultra-Mobile PC further establishes PopCap as the
         leading provider of casual games, anytime, anywhere.
     –   Revised Consumer Facts: PopCap's flagship title, Bejeweled, has been installed on more than 50 million
         mobile phones in the US alone in the past two years, and now the Ultra-Mobile PC delivers a brand new
         platform that combines the versatility of the PC with the connectivity of a mobile phone in a very small,
         completely portable form. PopCap's casual games are also available for play on PCs and Macs, the Web,
         the Xbox video game system from Microsoft, seat-back in-flight entertainment devices on leading airlines,
         and more.
     –   Revised Consumer Facts: Bejeweled 2 and Zuma, which have collectively been played by more than 75
         million consumers for more than 1 billion hours, are two of the most popular casual games of all time, and
         have dominated the Top 10 lists of Web, downloadable/PC and mobile games since being introduced in
         early 2004. The Bejeweled franchise alone has captured approximately 2 billion hours of consumer leisure
         time, and Bejeweled was recently inducted into Computer Gaming World's Hall of Fame -- the first puzzle
         game to be so honored since Tetris nearly 20 years ago.
               Timeline of Events
• 2006/03/14—PopCap Opens San Francisco Game Development
  Studio
   – In San Francisco, California
   – Done to complement the company's existing game development
     facilities in Dublin, Ireland and its Seattle, Washington headquarters.
   – The new San Francisco studio will serve as a regional hub for PopCap's
     growing game design and development activities, tapping the wealth of
     software engineering and artistic talent found in the area.
   – Dave Rohrl, former Senior Producer at pogo.com, Electronic Arts'
     casual games service, will serve as general manager of the new
     PopCap San Francisco studio.
   – The San Francisco studio will focus on all stages of game development
     from concept to launch, and is expected to grow from 5 initial staffers to
     approximately 15 in the coming months.
   – New Consumer Fact: Attracting more than 175 million downloads of its
     games in the past five years.
                   Timeline of Events
•   2006/03/21—Findings of Cognitive Health Research of Digital Gameplay
     – Cooperative Study Sheds Light on Value and Potential Applications of
       'Casual' Computer- and Videogames for Cognitive Exercise
     – The full research findings are being presented today as part of the Serious
       Games Summit track at the Game Developer's Conference being held in San
       Jose, California
     – Findings/Health Porject ‘there is growing consensus that defined cognitive
       exercise can play a critical role in healthy aging. As part of that role, it seems
       clear that puzzle games, strategy games, and games which aren't as spatially
       oriented can play a significant role in that effort,"
     – Summary Research
     – The research has shown that studies of people who maintain healthy cognitive
       loads (e.g. playing chess, doing crosswords) appear to have lower incidence of
       dementia, Alzheimer's Disease, and other cognitive ailments. Importantly two
       other risk factors included social activity and traditional physical exercise.

				
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