Only in Japan, would they call their next generation mobile gaming platform “Pop Tower TM“. So named, because of the partnership between PopCap Games and TAITO Corporation (TATIO(R)) of Square Enix Holding Co subsidiary. PopCap are world leaders in social and networking games; with smash hits such as Bejewled, Zuma and Chuzzle. The dedicated service will go live, in Japan, early next year.
Specifically Pop Tower will aim to showcase modified or otherwise ‘custom social adaptions’ of the above games and other from PopCaps’ back catalog. As can be expected, premium offers are available as will be the option for more network play with friends, as well as the obvious additional content ‘exclusive’ to Pop Tower. This is breaking ground for the Tokyo office of PopCap games who just this year also agreed to bring their first multiplayer game service: PopCap World, to Korea. PopCap continues to dominate the market in both Japan, China and Korea.
Other good news is that while TAITO are used to casual and arcade games from way back in the beginning of arcade machine development, they have held up well in a market now dominated with online, social and networking games.
James Gwertzman, PopCap’s Vice President for Asia/Pacific, said:
Social games on mobile devices looks set to dominate gaming worldwide and Japan is already ahead of the curve. PopCap is about identifying the curve and getting ahead of it. It’s not about being “trendy” or “first”; it’s about being the best; taking the talent and time to create something genuinely innovative. The Japanese game market is the second largest in the world, but historically, few Western companies have succeeded here.
PopCap believes the way to succeed globally is to think and act locally. We’ve set up a local team in Japan, and are very excited to collaborate with TAITO, one of the most dynamic Japanese companies in the social mobile space today. Our ambition for Pop Tower is to bring the best of PopCap – core game franchises like Bejeweled and Zuma – to Japanese customers; and hopefully make some discoveries about the mobile social space that we can then share with gamers internationally.
Their first iPhone app: Bejeweled 2 has built on the success that the Bejeweled franchise in general is heralded as kick starting the social gaming trend. The number of subsequent adaptations are enormous. We can only assume that PopCap have named their platform ‘Tower’ because of the model for menu access and file storage and networking (imagine one person at the top with an exponential number of contacts and data spreading out underneath in a ‘tree’ )
Mr Akihito Shoji, TAITO’s Senior Vice President of Content, said:
With Bejeweled and a host of other successful properties, PopCap Games is a casual gaming giant. The social game market is undergoing remarkable growth, and we have high hopes for this partnership. Mobile social game are a critical part of our overall strategy, with much of our resources devoted to the design and management of games that are not only fun pastimes, but also foster interaction and communication between players. We’re confident that our mobile social market experience and PopCap’s strong casual properties is a winning combination, and one that will deliver a whole new experience to the game users.
Developed by TAITO under the supervision of PopCap’s Tokyo office, Pop Tower is due to launch in early 2011 on GREE, a leading Japanese social network.