Report: PopCap CEO To Retire, Co-Founder To Lead

by Mike Futter on Jan 02, 2014 at 08:41 AM

A new report suggests that Dave Roberts, CEO of Peggle and Bejeweled developer PopCap (owned by Electronic Arts) is preparing to retire. In his place will be co-founder John Vechey.

The news comes by way of GamesBeat, who says that the change in leadership will be effective on January 8, 2014. According to the report, this will also herald a shift back to internal development and away from publishing.

PopCap has recently released Plants vs. Zombies 2 on mobile devices and Peggle 2 on Xbox One. The studio is working toward a release of the Battlfield-esque Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare.

It's also suggested that another co-founder, Jason Kapalka, will be leaving around the same time as Roberts. Kapalka will reportedly be shifting into a consulting role. This leaves Vechey as the sole remaining founder at the studio. 

Vechey tells GamesBeat that under his leadership as general manager, PopCap will be investing new intellectual property and returning the studio to where it used to be in terms of development. "PopCap’s mission right now is to create the greatest mobile game studio in the world, and we’re going to do that by only making games that are beloved by players," Vechey says.

PopCap was founded in 2000 by Vechey, Kapalka, and Brian Fiete. In 2012, the studio faced self-imposed layoffs, just a year after being purchased by EA. PopCap later closed its Dublin, Ireland location.

[Source: GamesBeat]


Our Take
PopCap releaseas have slowed a bit, and Plants vs. Zombies 2 has come under fire for excessive monetization. The original title in the series was a paid download, but the sequel emerged as a free-to-play experience.

Peggle 2 came out on Xbox One in December, and will be coming to other platforms in the future. PopCap's biggest challenge in 2014 is to hook and maintain a player base for Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare. 

The title is built on Frostbite 3, which is great. Unfortunately, it's also going to come out under the cloud of Battlefield 4, which is has been plagued by connectivity issues.