EA Shuts Down PopCap’s Dublin Studio

I love PopCap Games, and I’m not ashamed to admit it.

While some deeply entrenched veteran gamers consider them a mainstream harbinger of doom, the fact is they have produced some of the most purely addictive games of this, or any, generation with titles like the hall of fame “Bejeweled,”Plants vs Zombies,” “Bookworm,” and the glorious “Peggle.” They toe a fine line between “mainstream” (in the dirty word sense) and merely accessible, and their constant goal of gameplay over graphics and fun over flash is inspiring.

Which is why it’s sad to see that they have become the victim of some massive layoffs, as EA (who bought them out for around $750 million last year) announced the shuttering of the team’s Dublin studio. While the move has been long rumored, that’s certainly no condolence for the 96 employees who were laid off due to this move as they join the initial fired employees who lost their jobs when EA took over last year.

EA has been clear on their reason for this move, saying that they are trying to trim down aspects of PopCap that are similar to services they already offer, and the Dublin studio’s efforts apparently did not fit the need of EA in accordance to their plans moving forward. Both EA and PopCap have announced that many of the employees from the shuttered branch will have employment opportunities available at other PopCap locations and at EA operations, which include call center positions.

There’s far too many EA is the evil empire articles out there to still have any effect, and I don’t wish to contribute to them here. I will say this though. You may recall that PopCap gained a reputation early on for offering their games for free trial before purchase to help promote them. Even when they featured their games on Steam, they insisted the free demo still remain an option, as they were that confident in their products, and couldn’t wait to share them with the masses.

It’s just a shame then that such a company that held that philosophy had to fall to something like budget cuts and corporate strategy. Good luck to all of the employees of the former Dublin studio, and to PopCap itself who I hope can recover from this round of bad news and continue to produce at a high level.


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