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“Arrogance is the enemy of a franchise”: PopCap explains why it stepped back from Zuma

Thursday, 25th July 2013 08:43 GMT By Dave Cook

Zuma, Plants Vs Zombies and Peggle developer PopCap Games has explained why arrogance can kill any attempts to establish a long-running hit franchise. The studio knows a thing or two, as it has several hit franchises under its belt.

Addressing attendees at the World Mobile Game Conference in Shanghai, PopCap founder John Vechey explained that the company took the tough choice to walk away from Zuma to pool efforts on Plants Vs Zombies and Bejeweled as the company found it didn’t transition so well to tablets and mobile. Rather than compromise quality, it made a decision to focus efforts elsewhere.

“Those franchises are going to be some of the biggest franchises in the games industry,” he said. “But even then it’s not without risk. When you try to create evergreen franchises you can actually screw it up.

“This is one of the most important things that we have to remember: hubris. Arrogance is the enemy of a long-lasting company. Arrogance is the enemy of a franchise. Just because we have Bejeweled or Plants Vs Zombies doesn’t mean we can do a crappy job. We need to constantly ask ourselves, is this a good product? Is this a good investment?”

Vechey stressed that Zuma simply doesn’t perform well on touch devices and that there was no desire to force it into a wrong-shaped box. “Zuma, in the first ten years of the history of the company, was one of the big franchises at Popcap. This was before Bejewelled and before PvZ.

“The thing is, the market changed and Zuma just doesn’t feel great on a touch device. There’s no way to make that feel perfect. So we as a company had to make a decision to say ‘we’re going to walk away from that even though it’s done great for us’.”

He concluded, “Be honest about where a franchise is in its lifecycle. Be honest about if it’s truly evergreen,” and stated that if studios are only focusing on the short term then they will encounter stumbling blocks down the line.

What do you make of PopCap’s decision? Do you enjoy Zuma on mobile formats? Let us know below.

Thanks GI.biz.

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2 Comments

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  1. Cobra951

    “. . . the company found it didn’t transition so well to tablets and mobile”

    I.e., like most good action games, it needs a real controller, or a real mouse.

    Zuma is what first made me take notice of Popcap. This is all so sad.

    #1 1 year ago
  2. sh4dow

    … says the company that apparently thinks that they’re games are too great for the PC market and keeps churning out one casual bullshit version after the other instead of doing that in addition to creating either sequels or new games that appeal to fans that have been following them because of the original Plants vs. Zombies, Peggle, Zuma and Bejeweled. (and what few sequels they did actually develop for those games)

    When that PopCap guy announced a Peggle sequel at E3, I literally simply thought “Oh go f- yourself!”, after all that crap with the facebook and iOS and whatnot.

    Not that I would actually believe that Peggle 2 will even be released on PC. This will probably be what it looks like: First release on iOS, then Android, then Vita, then whatever console networks.
    “PC? Oh yeah, we have that awesome ‘Peggle 2 facebook edition’ for you!” – Shove it up your f- a**!!!

    (If I may seem a little more on edge than usual, it’s because I fucking loved those games and could never wait until PopCap finally released SOMETHING new. Because as I said… they didn’t do that frequently. So after years of waiting and being frustrated by those bullshit releases/announcements, I only have hatred for them…)

    #2 1 year ago