SimCity 5 just launched in the past week for the Windows PC platform, and like most AAA titles we Mac gamers get to wait for our version. And for once I’m not so sad about that, what with all of the server load issues that made game downloads last as long as three hours and queues to play the game in SINGLE-PLAYER MODE up to 30 minutes. All to worship the blessed god DRM. I wonder how that’s worked out for EA? Yeah, not so much.
With the announcement yesterday of layoffs and studio closures at PopCap Games, right after announcing development had started on Plants vs Zombies 2, editor Omaha Sternberg has decided to review the past year since PopCap Games’ merger with EA and whether that merger was a good idea for PopCap and gamers.
EDIT: PopCap Games’ co-founder John Vechey posted an alternative view of the issues in the PopCap Blog.
A little over a year ago PopCap Games made the announcement that they had merged with Electronic Arts, aka EA. Since that time, I’ve wondered just what that actually would mean. Would PopCap exist as it’s own separate entity under the EA banner, continuing to use their unique development practices and independently developing games which EA would then publish? Or would PopCap truly be merged into EA, assuming all of EA’s methods while PopCap personnel become EA personnel?
Events of the past year regarding PopCap Games have seemed to answer my question. And, I’m sad to say, I’m not happy with the answer.
Hosts Omaha Sternberg and Rob Benson talk about Valve, Valve, and more Valve; some Gamescom announcements for the Mac; and Rob’s app addiction. Plus, much more!
The SimCity reboot that EA announced at the GDC back in March has gotten a bunch of new additional goodies at Gamescom today. Among them is the awesome word that SimCity will be coming to Mac in 2013.
SimCity is under development by Maxis, the studio that started the franchise back in the late 80′s. The game has a long history of appearing on the Mac…in fact, every major release of the SimCity franchise has come to the Mac. Maxis expressed their happiness at bringing the game franchise back to the Mac again in both their blog and their twitter feed. No system requirements were released with the news, however.
Electronic Art’s CEO Peter Moore just announced today in a keynote speech at Gamescom that Origin is headed to multiple platforms…including the Mac. Social features, including achievements, challenges, and other new features are in the works. As reported in GamesIndustry.biz, Moore revealed that Origin would be coming to Android, Facebook and Smart TVs as well.
Moore stated that Origin currently has over 500 games with 50+ developers represented, and over 21 million people were now using the service. With the service now coming to Mac, the question now is whether more of EA’s games will be coming to Mac and whether they will be coming through third-party ports or in-house methods.
The little elves over at Electronic Arts, who have been busy porting over some of their more popular iPad games to the big screen, just announced two more Mac games for their App Store lineup. Real Racing 2 and The Game of Life join the growing list of iOS to Mac ports on the Mac App Store.
Chosen Best Sports Game by E3 Game Critics, FIFA Soccer 12 brings to the pitch the new Player Impact Engine, a physics engine built to deliver real-world physicality in every interaction on the pitch. The game includes Precision Dribbling to create a higher fidelity of touch on the ball for better control in tight spaces, more time to make decisions on attack, and more control over the pace of the game. Other gameplay mechanisms include Tactical Defending which places equal importance on positioning, intercepting passes and tackling, and higher AI on NPC opponents.
The system requirements for the Mac version include:
The iOS version includes Manager Mode which allows you to make trades, upgrade staff, and scout for talent. The game features over 22 officially licensed leagues, 500 licensed teams and more than 15,000 players, including Kaka, Wayne Rooney, Gerard Piqué, Karim Benzema and more. You can develop your players and choose the best tactics for them with 360 degree player movement and gesture-driven skill moves.
You can pick up the iPhone/iPod Touch version for $4.99, and the iPad version for $9.99.
EA has confirmed the rumors that PopCap has joined the Collective. Citing studio talent and strong IP, PopCap was purchased by EA for $750 million. The transaction is expected to close in August, 2011.
According to this Gamasutra report, EA will pay approximately $650 million in cash and $100 million in EA common stock to be issued to PopCap shareholders, the company said. In addition, the company may pay additional funds of up to $550 million based on performance milestones through 2013.
Earlier this year, PopCap was leaning towards an IPO. Out of the blue, it seemed, this purchase venture came about. But was it in actuality foreseen? Over the past several years PopCap has been moving into a more global environment, especially China. A clue to why PopCap chose a purchase rather than an IPO can be seen in this statement by PopCap CEO David Roberts:
“We picked EA because they have recast their culture around making great digital games. By working with EA, we’ll scale our games and services to deliver more social, mobile, casual fun to an even bigger, global audience.”
We suspect that PopCap determined that working with a company that already had a strong global infrastructure, especially in Asia, rather than trying to create their own, was a better idea.
The big question on many minds now is how much independence as a studio PopCap will have under EA’s wing? Will EA appreciate PopCap’s development methods and longer cycles? PopCap takes a methodology similar to Blizzard…the game is done when it is done. This is certainly not EA’s view. Only time will tell what kind of an impact on development this will have for PopCap.
But certainly the financial impact is most positive, and being felt now.