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EA to acquire casual game giant PopCap in $750 million dollar deal

EA to acquire casual game giant PopCap in $750 million dollar deal  (photo)

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Electronic Arts has long been a leader in the video game industry, thanks to perennial best-sellers like its “Madden NFL” series and franchises that target the hardcore like “Dead Space” and “Battlefield.” But they’ve also been trying to dominate into the casual and social gaming sectors in a similar way, with much less success. They’ve been on a buying spree of late, snapping up smaller entities like social dev studio Playfish and indies like Firemint and Chillingo.

But, PopCap’s a truly big fish to reel in. Aside from the insanely rich valuation, the Seattle studio’s cranked out three of the most successful and ubiquitous casual games ever, in the forms of Bejeweled,” “Zuma Blitz” and “Plants vs. Zombies.” You’d be hard-pressed to find a mobile device that doesn’t have an iteration of “Bejeweled” or “PvZ” available for it and the web versions “Bejeweled” and “Zuma” have stolen away millions of hours away from people who could care less about a first-person shooter.

EA sees this as a part for their shift towards a digital strategy that anticipates direct downloads making up the majority of sales next year. To that end, they’ve also launched Origin, a download service like Valve’s Steam that will carry their games on a near-exclusive basis. So, the idea is to sell games normally packaged on discs online–in chinks most likely–and provide a bounty of natively digital content as well. PopCap’s track record in the latter category is amongst the best, with 150 million games sold on iOS, Facebook and Android. 50 million units of that was just “Bejeweled” alone.

But, the usual caveats apply as to the big-company-buys-small-company paradigm. PopCap’s a quirky, idea-driven company that’s never been under pressure to crank out work annually or service lowest-common-denominator expectations. Still, PopCap will get the benefit of EA’s distribution and marketing reach. Time will tell if this means that they’re just becoming zombies or if they’ll will blossom like a sunflower.

What do you think about this news? Let us know in the comments below or on Facebook or Twitter.

The-Craft

The ’90s Are Back

The '90s live again during IFC's weekend marathon.

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Photo Credit: Everett Digital, Columbia Pictures

We know what you’re thinking: “Why on Earth would anyone want to reanimate the decade that gave us Haddaway, Los Del Rio, and Smash Mouth, not to mention Crystal Pepsi?”

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Thoughts like those are normal. After all, we tend to remember lasting psychological trauma more vividly than fleeting joy. But if you dig deep, you’ll rediscover that the ’90s gave us so much to fondly revisit. Consider the four pillars of true ’90s culture.

Boy Bands

We all pretended to hate them, but watch us come alive at a karaoke bar when “I Want It That Way” comes on. Arguably more influential than Brit Pop and Grunge put together, because hello – Justin Timberlake. He’s a legitimate cultural gem.

Man-Child Movies

Adam Sandler is just behind The Simpsons in terms of his influence on humor. Somehow his man-child schtick didn’t get old until the aughts, and his success in that arena ushered in a wave of other man-child movies from fellow ’90s comedians. RIP Chris Farley (and WTF Rob Schneider).

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Teen Angst

In horror, dramas, comedies, and everything in between: Troubled teens! Getting into trouble! Who couldn’t relate to their First World problems, plaid flannels, and lose grasp of the internet?

Mainstream Nihilism

From the Coen Bros to Fincher to Tarantino, filmmakers on the verge of explosive popularity seemed interested in one thing: mind f*cking their audiences by putting characters in situations (and plot lines) beyond anyone’s control.

Feeling better about that walk down memory lane? Good. Enjoy the revival.

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And revisit some important ’90s classics all this weekend during IFC’s ’90s Marathon. Check out the full schedule here.

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Get Physical

DVDs are the new Vinyl

Portlandia Season 7 Now Available On Disc.

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In this crazy digital age, sometimes all we really want is to reach out and touch something. Maybe that’s why so many of us are still gung-ho about owning stuff on DVD. It’s tangible. It’s real. It’s tech from a bygone era that still feels relevant, yet also kitschy and retro. It’s basically vinyl for people born after 1990.

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Inevitably we all have that friend whose love of the disc is so absolutely repellent that he makes the technology less appealing. “The resolution, man. The colors. You can’t get latitude like that on a download.” Go to hell, Tim.

Yes, Tim sucks, and you don’t want to be like Tim, but maybe he’s onto something and DVD is still the future. Here are some benefits that go beyond touch.

It’s Decor and Decorum

With DVDs and a handsome bookshelf you can show off your great taste in film and television without showing off your search history. Good for first dates, dinner parties, family reunions, etc.

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Forget Public Wifi

Warm up that optical drive. No more awkwardly streaming episodes on shady free wifi!

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Inter-not

Internet service goes down. It happens all the time. It could happen right now. Then what? Without a DVD on hand you’ll be forced to make eye contact with your friends and family. Or worse – conversation.

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Self Defense

You can’t throw a download like a ninja star. Think about it.

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If you’d like to experience the benefits DVD ownership yourself, Portlandia Season 7 is now available on DVD and Blue-Ray.

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Stan Diego Comic-Con

Stan Against Evil returns November 1st.

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Photo Credit: Erin Resnick, GIFs via Giphy

Another Comic-Con International is in the can, and multiple nerdgasms were had by all – not least of which were about the Stan Against Evil roundtable discussion. Dana, Janet and John dropped a whole lotta information on what’s to come in Season 2 and what it’s like to get covered in buckets of demon goo. Here are the highlights.

Premiere Date!

Season 2 hits the air November 1 and picks up right where things left off. Consider this your chance to seamlessly continue your Halloween binge.

Character Deets!

Most people know that Evie was written especially for Janet, but did you know that Stan is based on Dana Gould’s dad? It’s true. But that’s where the homage ends, because McGinley was taken off the leash to really build a unique character.

Happy Accidents!

Improv is apparently everything, because according to Gould the funniest material happens on the fly. We bet the writers are totally cool with it.

Exposed Roots!

If Stan fans are also into Twin Peaks and Doctor Who, that’s no accident. Both of those cult classic genre benders were front of mind when Stan was being developed.

Trailer Treasure!

Yep. A new trailer dropped. Feast your eyes.

Catch up on Stan Against Evil’s first season on the IFC app before it returns November 1st on IFC.