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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.

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The Best Of The Last

Portlandia Goes Out With A Bang

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The end is near. In mere days Portlandia wraps up its final season, and oh what a season it’s been. Lucky for you, you can watch the entire season right now right here and on the IFC app, including this free episode courtesy of Subaru.

But now, let’s take a moment to look back at some of the new classics Fred and Carrie have so thoughtfully bestowed upon us. (We’ll be looking back through tear-blurred eyes, but you do you.)

Couples Dinner

It’s not that being single sucks, it’s that you suck if you’re single.

Cancel it!

A sketch for anyone who has cancelled more appointments than they’ve kept. Which is everyone.

Forgotten America

This one’s a “Serial” killer…everything both right and wrong about true crime podcasts.

Wedding Planners

The only bad wedding is a boring wedding.

Disaster Hut

It’s only the end of the world if your doomsday kit doesn’t include rosé.

Catch up on Portlandia’s final episodes on demand and at

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Your Portlandia Personality Test

The New Portlandia Webseries Is Going Your Way

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Carrie and Fred understand that although we have so much in common, we’re each so beautifully unique and different. To help us navigate those differences, Portlandia has found an easy and honest way to embrace our special selves in the form of a progressive new traffic system: a specific lane for every kind of driver. It’s all in honor of the show’s 8th and final season, and it’s all presented by Subaru.

Ready to find out who you really are? Match your personality to a lane and hop on the expressway to self-understanding.

Lane 10: Trucks Piled With Junk

Your junk is falling out of your trunk. Shake a tail light, people — this lane is for you.

Lane 33: Twins

You’re like a Gemini, but waaaay more pedestrian. Maybe you and a friend just wear the same outfits a lot. Who cares, it’s just twinning enough to make you feel special.

Lane 27: Broken Windows

Bad luck follows you around and everyone knows it. Your proverbial seat is always damp from proverbial rain. Is this the universe telling you to swallow your pride? Yes.

Lane 69: Filthy Cars

You’re all about convenience. Getting your car washed while you drive is a no-brainer.

Lane 43: Newly Divorced Singles

It’s been a while since you’ve driven alone, and you don’t know the rules of the road anymore. What’s too fast? What’s too slow? Are you sending the right signals? Don’t worry, the breakdown lane is nearby if you need it.

Still can’t find a lane to match your personality? Check out all the videos here. And see the final season of Portlandia this spring on IFC.

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Last-Minute Holiday Gift Guide

Hits from the '80s are on repeat all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC.

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GIFs via Giphy, Photos via The Everett Collection

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