PopCap lay-offs addressed “duplicative” roles, shift to mobile focus – Gibeau

By Brenna Hillier
30 August 2012 03:06 GMT

PopCap’s lay-offs are part of the studio’s integration with EA, according to EA Labels boss Frank Gibeau, and also part of the publisher’s new focus on mobile gaming.

“Typically at EA what we do when we acquire a company is we make sure that we go slow initially and really understand the culture of the company,” Gibeau told Bloomberg of recent job cuts.

“And then we look for whether there’s opportunities to integrate the companies – and then we accelerate.

“So with PopCap, what we found is that there are some areas inside PopCap that were duplicative what EA was doing; a lot of central resources, legal, business affairs those types of things so we accelerated the integration there.”

Gibeau said that as well as cutting duplicate roles, the restructuring addressed EA’s belief that mobile gaming is the most important sphere in the casual realm, where PopCap is a major player.

“We also looked at pivoting a little bit harder towards mobile and away from social so we made some adjustments there,” he said.

“My sense is that mobile is pulling a lot of gamers off social and mobile is booming right now. Whether its tablets or smartphones – Android and iOS are clearly the two leaders there. We’re a big player there we’re number one in terms of market share.

“We’re pivoting hard toward mobile because it is the fastest-growing segment of the interactive games business right now.”

On a related note, when asked about rival Zynga’s continuing financial difficulties, Gibeau said the transition from social to mobile is the most likely cause.

“[Mobile]’s certainly probably pulling most of the activity off social, and that’s why you see the flattening in social right now – and frankly where the problem is that Zynga’s encountering.”

The full segment is well worth a watch; at one point, Gibeau describes Frostbite as EA’s ace in the hole for surviving the next console transition.

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