I knew sitting in on the Pop Cap talk at the Develop conference was a good idea. Pop Cap's Dave Bishop just dropped some amazing Pop Cap fact bombs.
His talk, When Casual Meets Social, focussed on deploying Bejeweled Blitz to Facebook, but it opened a door into the Peggle developer's history and stats: their first game, the gem matching puzzle game Bejeweled, has sold over 50 million units across all formats. It's now in the top-ten selling game franchises of all time, but when it was first made no publisher wanted it. If you had 60'000 dollars in 2000, you'd have been able to own Bejeweled. And you'd be the owner of a game that sells one copy every 4.3 seconds.
There have been over three trillion gems matched over the game's lifetime, and in the 45 minute talk Dave gave, half a billion would have been matched. The Facebook version, Bejeweled Blitz, has over 25 million users and three million daily users. The popularity of it shocked Pop Cap: when they initially launched it, they had no way of monetising it at all, so it cost them a lot of money to run. Except for the day when their server went down, and they diverted people to popcap.com – it had its best sales day ever.
Casual games are a serious business. Peggle took three and a half years to make, and while Plants vs Zombies took only two, the developer asked for an extra year to add more mini games.
What a strange, silly, stupidly successful company.