Rather than expressing concern over the entry into the casual market by an industry powerhouse like EA, Kapalka said, “When EA and Ubisoft announce they are going to have casual divisions it increases the legitimacy and visibility of the whole casual field. It helps people to see that it’s a real and serious form of gaming and part of the gaming business.”
Earlier in June, Electronic Arts announced the formation of a new casual games division, called EA Casual Entertainment, with ex-Activision executive Kathy Vrabeck appointed as president. Ubisoft has also stated its intentions to expand its casual offerings, with Pauline Jacquey serving as executive producer of casual games for Ubisoft. Both companies are expected to use existing franchises, as well as entirely new IPs, to drive their expansions.
While EA, Ubisoft and other major players are newcomers to the casual games market, PopCap has been a leader in the field since its formation in 2000. One of very few game companies to focus exclusively on casual gaming, PopCap has filled a market niche which some analysts view as one with great growth potential.
“Our ideal would be that casual games are something that everyone is aware of,” Kapalka added. “We’d love to see casual games magazines and people talking about it on TV. Anything that increases the exposure of the casual market is good for us all.”