Dennis Ryan, EVP of worldwide publishing at PopCap Games, said that his company was considering going public in 2011. However, the board decided to talk to some publishers they had talked with in the past, and that was a turning point for the company.
“We didn’t know how that was going to turn out, but then John Riccitiello, the CEO of EA, he made it really clear what their strategy was in terms of digital,” said Ryan. “His clarity of vision in terms of where EA was going is a key, if not the key reason that we’re here in this room today.”
“Second was his vision of the importance of digital and connected franchise, game franchises, across digital platforms. And managing players and serving players the content they need and want based on understanding who those players are and what they played and he’s very much committed to that,” he continued. “And you can see, in terms of the recent earnings calls they had, in terms of growth of digital and how big that is, it’s pretty significant.”
One of the key reasons that they liked where Riccitiello was going was his respect for the value of PopCap’s IP. “Their commitment to quality and respect of IP together with their vision for digital and connected gaming across platforms. That’s the reason why we signed with EA. And of all the companies that we spoke to they were the ones that were most aligned on those dimensions,” said Ryan. “There’s plenty of great developers and studios out there that would speak about the desire to do that as passionately as PopCap, and have not done it, and it’s only just because of the practical realities that they face. So are we better than them or are we luckier than them Kind of a combination.”
“One of the reasons we combined with EA besides the cultural fit and strategy fit is that there are opportunities where we thought we could expand our operation more quickly being part of EA,” said Ryan. “Examples of that would be we had been in mobile for a long time, but EA is the best publisher on mobile games historically. If our mission at PopCap was to entertain the world with games, to do that you have to participate on all different platforms and EA seemed like a good fit for that.”