PopCap has teamed up with Taito to branch into the Japanese casual and social games market by combining all their games into one huge meta-game.
Everyone has gotten sucked into a game of Bejeweled. The colors, the blinking lights, in addition to the simple but satisfying match-3 gameplay all make it a masterpiece of modern gaming. But what if you added a layer of role-playing game stats and leveling to Bejeweled, Zuma and all of the many gems that have come from PopCap over the last decade? Would it be fun enough to break into the $1 billion market that is Japanese mobile games? Japanese old-guard publisher Taito and PopCap have signed an agreement to work together to build the Pop Tower, which will be a hub for all PopCap games in Japan. The Pop Tower versions of PopCap titles will not only add levels and new game-modes, but will include a social gaming layer where you'll be able to connect with friends as well as an economy of virtual goods and premium services.
"With Bejeweled and a host of other successful properties, PopCap Games is a casual gaming giant. The social game market is undergoing remarkable growth, and we have high hopes for this partnership," Taito's Senior Vice President of Content, Akihito Shoji said. "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."
The announcement is just part of PopCap's global strategy and is the first venture of its Tokyo office. PopCap has a had a great run catering to American audiences with Bejeweled and other titles and this will be the first test of its global reach.
"Our ambition for Pop Tower is to bring the best of PopCap - core game franchises like Bejeweled and Zuma - to Japanese customers; and hopefully make some discoveries about the mobile social space that we can then share with gamers internationally," PopCaps's announcement read.
I'm interested to see how this plays out. If PopCap can take over Japan with Pop Tower, there's no telling what it can accomplish.