PopCap: Social Gaming's "Golden Era" Is Over


New member
Sep 7, 2010
I didn't think any of the statements I made were all that controversial, but a few people seem to have read too much into them.

I certainly didn't say social gaming was dead (it isn't), just that it's now getting harder to break in, especially for new players. The bar for production value has gone up a lot... games don't look like spreadsheets anymore, and take more time and money to create. Viral channels have gotten tougher to use (or abuse). There's a ton of competition from companies large and small, from 1000+ employee behemoths like Zynga/EA/Disney to the swarms of clone/pirate operators out of China and Eastern Europe. Facebook is starting to take a significant (and deserved) cut of profits via FB Credits, and as advertising becomes more necessary to promote games, another chunk there, reducing juicy margins.

As for PopCap, we're continuing to work on social games-- Zuma Blitz is releasing shortly on Facebook-- but also on other platforms, new and old. We're doing lots of stuff besides Facebook games, like tomorrow's launch of Plants vs Zombies for XBLA.

And as for us "taking our ball and going home," that's just ridiculous. Even if that was something we could theoretically do (which it isn't), we're doing very well in social right now, thank you. If you want to look up numbers on appdata.com, you'd see that by DAU (Daily Active Users, generally considered a more legitimate measure than monthly) Bejeweled Blitz, at 4.4 million DAU, is currently the #6 Facebook app, having just passed Mafia Wars. By DAU, we're the #7 developer overall, just a bit behind Playdom and Crowdstar. And this is with just one game, no advertising, and maybe 30 or so people in our social game department.

So, we'll be sticking around in social, but the point was that the days of the "Gold Rush" may be closing fast.

Jason Kapalka


New member
Mar 25, 2010
I like how he brought up the Facebook game Farm Town in this article. But I would like to point something out about Farm Town and Farmville. Farm Town was out long before Farmville. I played Farmtown a good 4-5 months before someone was like hey since you play Farm Town with me try this one out. Seriously Zynga streamlined what Farm Town was made it easier to play added in the buildings and all that jazz so it wasn't just a clone it was an upgrade as well.


Whom Gods Annoy
Aug 20, 2008
I think part of it is that there's only so many permutations available in the social-games formula. You can get people playing Mafia Wars and FarmVille, but how much of the market is left over for some new game's launch. Much like WoW keeps the audience captive for the MMO market and doesn't leave much room for startups (while itself remaining very profitable), so too does it go with Farmville and its ilk. The games already in existence have their addicts. New games? "But I'm already playing like five of them", the Facebook addict will say. "Sorry, no room for one more."


YOU'RE a pie chart.
Nov 30, 2009
Tom Goldman said:
Though Kapalka says it's "pretty obvious that casual has kind of won" and that "casual is the new mainstream,"

Somebody take Mr. Kapalka to that lovely plave with the padded walls and jackets that make you hug yourself because he's nuts.


New member
Jul 10, 2010
I'm sick of wall spam - I will walk away from games now where the only way to progress is to spam spam spam spam spam spam

Sucked me in briefly - but ye gods I got out quick when mafia wars turned into event a week, mass spam needing 100's of friends expanding stupidly rapidly....I got sick quick and ditched it and I was pretty far on (tidying up the main quest lines)


One day, we'll wake the zombies
Mar 29, 2010
Does that mean we can start rejoicing? I mean, it's always good when anyone enjoys a game, but that huge craze was getting a bit tiring to watch.


It's not that I LIKE you b-baka!
Oct 12, 2011
Oh good. I wonder if the decline in social "gaming" will see the people bored with the likes of Farmville and Mafia Wars actually try real games for the first time in their life.

Wait what this thread is a year old o_O