May 17, 2011
Finally, news that many of us have long been looking forward to has come out. On May 16, PopCap Games, developer of such instant classics as Bejeweled, Peggle and Plants vs. Zombies, made the huge announcement that it has signed an agreement with Amazon to offer its first Android games to the U.S. market via Amazon’s Appstore for Android.
During two, two-week periods, the first PopCap title to hit Android, Chuzzle, will be available from May 17 to May 30, followed by Plants vs. Zombies for a second exclusive offer. Not only that, but each game will be free during their first day of availability, after which they’ll be available at the price of US$2.99 each.
Chuzzle is a match-three style of puzzle game featuring a group of fuzzy creatures that you can slide, prod and nudge into order. The game features four modes of play, from the Classic mode, where getting a high score is all that matters, to Mind Bender mode, a puzzle where you must slide chuzzles into patterns. Then, you can race the clock in Speed mode or just spend all day popping chuzzles in Zen mode.
Plants vs. Zombies is a tower-defense style game where you must grow a garden of flowers, vegetables and other objects to be placed in the path of an invasion of zombies.
Obviously, this is great news for Android as a gaming platform; the kind of news that, hopefully, gets Android out of the “gaming ghetto” and into the limelight. We’ve been looking forward to the day when PopCap would finally release games for Android, and now it’s here. But is this just the tip of iceberg? Could a port of Peggle, or Unpleasant Horse from PopCap’s spin-off studio, 4th & Battery, be next? Will other development studios see this move as a sign that now is the time to come to Android?
My only other question is, why did PopCap agree to a deal with Amazon when it could have released the game on the Android Market itself? Was it the visibility of apps on the Amazon Appstore that swayed the exclusive deal, even if it meant releasing the games for free for a 24 hour period? If so, it appears that Amazon has quite a bit of pull in the apps market. Should Google be worried?