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PopCap Teams With Taito For New “Pop Tower” Mobile Social Gaming Service

Seattle, Washington based publisher and developer PopCap Games isn’t known for making good games. They’re known for making great ones: Zuma, Peggle, Chuzzle and the company’s flagship game Bejewelled, just to name a few. PopCap recently announced that they have teamed up with Japanese heavyweight Taito Corp., as they look to increase their presence in the mobile social games platform overseas.

PopCap has teamed with Tatio to provide a dedicated mobile social games service for the Japanese market. PopTower, as it’s being called, will host new versions of hits like Chuzzle, Bejewelled and Zuma, while adding metagame and RPG elements to appeal to a new audience.

“Social games on mobile devices looks set to dominate gaming worldwide and Japan is already ahead of the curve,” commented James Gwertzman, PopCap’s VP for Asia Pacific.

“PopCap is about identifying the curve and getting ahead of it. It’s not about being ‘trendy’ or ‘first’; it’s about being the best; taking the talent and time to create something genuinely innovative. The Japanese game market is the second largest in the world, but historically, few Western companies have succeeded here.”

The service, which will be the first from PopCap’s Tokyo office, is set for release in Japan in the first quarter of 2011.

“The social game market is undergoing remarkable growth, and we have high hopes for this partnership,” added Akihito Shoji, Taito’s SVP of Content.

“Mobile social games are a critical part of our overall strategy, with much of our resources devoted to the design and management of games that are not only fun pastimes, but also foster interaction and communication between players.

“We’re confident that our mobile social market experience and PopCap’s strong casual properties is a winning combination, and one that will deliver a whole new experience to the game users.”

When the service launches in 2011 of next year it will be on the GREE social networking service, a service that boasts more than 21 million members. PopCap has already stated that they have sold more than one million standalone mobile games in Japan, but hopes to boost revenues by entering the social mobile gaming market, which is quickly becoming an extremely lucrative market in Japan.

So the next question is… when do we get it here in North America?

Most likely, not anytime soon. A year, maybe two if I had to guess. Although the telecommunications industry has seen growth and advancement with the popularity of smart phones among North American consumers, Asia and Europe are leaps and bounds ahead of us in mobile technology and networks.

But hey, Bejewelled 3 is coming our soon, that’s something to look forward to, right? There you go, see, it’s not so bad.

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