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PopCap: This is "the beginning of the end" of Facebook's 'golden era'

Viral growth declining, but CCO Jason Kapalka also convinced that "casual is the new mainstream"

PopCap Games' Chief Creative Office Jason Kapalka has claimed that the rapid growth of Facebook gaming may be coming to an end.

Speaking to in an interview published today, he said "You're definitely in the stage right now in social games where there's a lot of bandwagon jumping, where everyone sees moneymoneymoney and suddenly all these new companies appear...

"It happened before in mobile, it happened before in casual – in the past it's tended to signal the beginning of the end. Not necessarily of the genre, but of the sort of golden era, where everything was a fresh blue ocean.

Despite regular headlines about developer acquisitions, he felt that "a lot of the viral growth of Facebook games is now shut down. They have to do it the old fashioned way, which is by buying ads or by having something that people are actually interested in playing."

Kapalka felt his own company, responsible for titles such as Bejewelled and Plants vs Zombies, was relatively safe due to having fingers in many platform-pies.

"In general, it feels like the industry is caught up in the kind of games that we've always been doing. It feels less like we're in a position where we have to argue about why casual games and other games like we do are legitimate forms of entertainment.

"Anyone can look around now, they look on their iPhone, they look on Facebook or at the Nintendo Wii. It's pretty obvious that casual has kind of won, casual is the new mainstream."

The full interview with the PopCap co-founder, in which he also discussed why branded games may be less important than they once were and whether Google can successfully battle Facebook, is available here.

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Alec Meer: A 10-year veteran of scribbling about video games, Alec primarily writes for Rock, Paper, Shotgun, but given any opportunity he will escape his keyboard and mouse ghetto to write about any and all formats.
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