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PopCap: More XBLA Titles From Us In 2007

Following PopCap's release of Heavy Weapon on Xbox Live Arcade earlier this week, Gamasutra chatted to communications director Garth Chouteau on the Bejeweled creator's XBLA plans, revealing that more PopCap games are due to debut for Xbox 3
Casual game publisher and developer PopCap Games (Bookworm, Zuma) this week released its latest title over Microsoft's popular Xbox Live Arcade service for the Xbox 360, in the form of Heavy Weapon: Atomic Tank. Gamasutra followed up with PopCap Games' communications director Garth Chouteau regarding the title, as well as the company's views of Xbox Live, and its plans in the space going forward. Discussing future PopCap releases for the Xbox 360 over the Xbox Live Arcade service, Chouteau couldn't specifically name any games, but revealed: “There are of course other titles in the works for XBLA, and based on the success of the four titles we have released to date, in addition to the new one yesterday with Heavy Weapon, I think that it's safe to say that other PopCap titles will make their way to the service.” He further noted that some of these games are likely to see a release in 2007, noting, “In the relatively short term, there is additional work going on in that respect, and I would expect to see additional XBLA titles from us to show up this year.” He added: “Based on the success of the titles we have released so far, I think that we will see a number of PopCap releases over the XBLA service over the long term as well.” In addition to Heavy Weapon, other PopCap games available over Xbox Live Arcade include Astropop, Bejeweled 2, Feeding Frenzy and Zuma. Speaking to Heavy Weapon specifically, which is available for 800 Microsoft Points ($10), and is a side-scrolling action game in which the player fights against waves of enemy armies, Chouteau commented, “When you look at PopCap's roster of games, Heavy Weapon is certainly one that lends itself to the console gaming audience, arguably more than the previous four thus far. It's more of an arcade action title.” When asked for specifics concerning the buy-through rates for Xbox Live Arcade titles compared to the PC, Chouteau commented, “While I don't have a specific number, it was close to an order of magnitude higher [for XBLA titles].” He continued: “In addition, I can say that contribution by XBLA titles to PopCap's total overall revenue is not an insignificant percentage.” Finally, asked about how casual games connect with the current Xbox 360 'hardcore' userbase, Chouteau replied, “I think that it works in two directions. Any games that broaden the system and service are valuable to Microsoft and its partners to grow userbase.” He added: “We would argue that hardcore gamers are still gamers. They enjoy games. While some of the most avid might look down their nose at games like Bejeweled, a significant number still enjoy these games as a break between Halo matches or other other similar games.” Wrapping up, Chouteau noted, “I dont care if you are 12 or 40, there are times when you want to involve the whole family. Sometimes that can be done better with a more casual game in a living room setting.”

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