EA buys Plants vs Zombies developer PopCap Games

Electronic Arts (EA) is to buy casual and social gaming company PopCap Games, the people behind the highly-successful Plants vs Zombies.

The gaming giant will pay $650 million in cash and $100 million in stock for the mobile gaming specialist.

It's an interesting move from EA, which traditionally focuses on AAA blockbuster games, like its Mass Effect, Dragon Age, Command & Conquer, Medal of Honour, and The Sims franchises.

The key to EA's decision can be found in a statement by PopCap's CEO, David Roberts, where he said: “By working with EA, we'll scale our games and services to deliver more social, mobile, casual fun to an even bigger, global audience.”

While traditional gaming on both PCs and consoles continues to haul in the cash, the two big industry areas that are really taking off are social and mobile gaming. The success of games like FarmVille and Angry Birds has undoubtedly opened the eyes of many in the gaming industry to the power of casual gaming.

PopCap has taken advantage of short, but addictive arcade style games, including Bejeweled and Zuma, on multiple platforms, including Android devices, iPhone, iPad, PC, Mac, Playstation Network, Facebook, RenRen, and Nintendo's DS. The acquisition by EA will open up even more markets and platforms.

EA said that PopCap has a 'proven financial trajectory' which will help it reach its goal to build a $1 billion digital business. It said it expects the deal to pay for itself and more by 2013.