EA has bought casual gaming giant PopCap Games in a deal worth $1.3 billion.
It's fair to say that gaming on Macs has hardly been Apple's number one priority over the years. But whether it intended for it to happen or not, the vast success of game sales on its various iOS devices has given the Cupertino giant reason to try and tap into Mac gaming as well.
Rather than simply bolt yet another section onto its increasingly clunky iTunes App Store, Apple decided to open a standalone Mac App Store on January 6th, complete with around 200 games to choose from. Most of them are absolute junk, obviously, but there are plenty that are worth checking out if you happen to have a half-decent Mac.
You might reasonably ask why anyone should care. After all, Valve got there first with its Mac game store on Steam, and has a growing selection of over 80 games vying for your attention. The answer to that is price. Following the lead of the aggressive pricing strategy on the iTunes App Store, many titles – whether casual or hardcore – are significantly cheaper on the Mac App Store than you'll find them elsewhere.
PopCap's giving away free copies of Peggle Nights to anyone that signs up to receive the company's newsletter.
With more than 50 million copies sold worldwide, Bejeweled is PopCap's biggest-selling game. Then there's Plants vs. Zombies, Peggle, Zuma, Bookworm... All success stories in their own right. The company's only been around for 10 years but from a foundation of three has grown into an operation of over 250 people, producing games that transcend traditional demographics and trends.
PopCap Games has announced Peggle Nights is on the way for Xbox Live Arcade.
It'll include all the levels and challenges from the PC and Mac versions of Nights, plus the option to play the new content in the exclusive XBLA multiplayer modes.
To be specific you get 60 new Adventure mode levels, 60 new challenges, new Peggle Master Marina, extra style shots and three new Achievements worth 50 gamerscore points.
I like to think PopCap was surprised when Peggle Deluxe made the leap from casual moneyspinner and guilty pleasure to industry-wide disease. I like to think that, when Valve joked that The Orange Box was delayed because everyone was playing Peggle, the PopCap staff fluttered a paper fan to their shy faces, and giggled. "Little old uncool us?" I continue to imagine them saying. "There must be some kind of mistake."
It's easy to underestimate PopCap and the year it spent painstakingly creating a version of pachinko that would work outside of the arcades. It wasn't just the basic bagatelle mechanic that made everyone fumble about in their trousers. It was that cocktail of psychological components that makes casual gaming such a lie of a phrase.
Here are the basic rules, for newcomers. A level is full of pegs. Fire a ball into the pegs, and the pegs light up. Blue pegs are basic 100-point fodder. Orange pegs are the ones you have to clear to progress. Purple pegs give a score boost, and green pegs activate the special power of the character you're using. Bonuses are awarded for slides, trick shots, and blind luck. Once the ball drops out of play, the lit pegs disappear, and you shoot another ball. You only have control over two things: which direction you launch your ball, and when you launch it. It's so suffocatingly basic, you'd need something special to bring it out of mediocrity. And PopCap delivered.
The sequel to acclaimed PC puzzler Peggle has arrived, and is available now from the official PopCap website.
The game can be downloaded and trialled for free, and then bought for GBP 14.95 after you decide that yes it really is rather addictive might as well get the full version seeing as they've fired me and she's left me now anyway.
Peggle Nights takes place across the stylistically-themed dream worlds of the 11 Peggle masters. New to the game are 60 Adventure mode levels, 60 Challenge mode levels, Peggle Master power-ups, plus additional style shots, achievements and other specials.