'PopCap World' social game service brings Bejeweled, et al to Korea

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Casual game maker PopCap and major online game publisher NCSoft today announced a partnership that would bring multiplayer versions of many PopCap games to Korea later this year.

PopCap World, as the service is called, will include free-to-play Korean versions of 13 PopCap titles, including Bejeweled, Plants vs. Zombies, Zuma and an all-new Korean exclusive multiplayer game dubbed Super Zuma. Premium paid elements for these games will be added later.

It's unclear whether these multiplayer versions will be tailored to simultaneous play, as portions of PopCap's recent XBLA release of Plants vs. Zombies, or asynchronous score competitions, as PopCap's Facebook releases like Bejeweled Blitz.

Calling today's announcement "just the beginning," PopCap VP for Asia/Pacific James Gwertzman was expansive in describing the impact of the new service. "When Disneyland first opened, it revolutionized the amusement park industry and ushered in the era of the modern theme park," he said. "In the same way, we believe PopCap World has the potential to redefine casual games in Korea and beyond by offering players the most immersive PopCap experience yet."

This is the first product from Popcap's Shanghai Games Studio, which was opened in 2008 to cater to the "significant differences in the playing habits and expectations of Asian consumers." A company rep says that PopCap World was designed with overseas audiences in mind and will not necessarily be arriving Stateside anytime soon. Then again, if this proves to be a runaway hit overseas, that plan might change.
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