PopCap CEO steps down, co-founder steps up

Dave Roberts, CEO of PopCap Games is retiring after eight years with the developer, with company co-founder John Vechey stepping up into the top job.

Vechey explains the seemingly-amicable change:

When Dave joined PopCap, we needed a business leader to help us bring structure to our creative chaos and set us on a sustainable path. He has made a huge mark on PopCap, and we thank deeply him for it as he embraces his new adventure. I continue to be the most passionate believer in PopCap, and I’m excited and honored about taking over as PopCap GM.

In 2011, PopCap was sold to EA for $650 million in cash plus $100 million in stock. Now, the parent company is shouldering the publishing side of things, with the developer able to do what it does best: Create great games.

And we can expect some different names popping up, as well. Despite the successes of franchises like Bejeweled, Peggle and Plants vs. Zombies – incoming CEO Vechey explains the new plan is to focus on new games:

We have under-invested in new IP. Getting more new IP out per year is the goal. We want to formalize the creative process and get it to scale better.

Vechey is the last co-founder to remain with the company. Partner Brian Fiete left “some time ago”, and Jason Kapalka is leaving at the same time as Roberts. Kapalka will stay onboard as a creative consultant, says VentureBeat.

The next big thing on the PopCap Games calendar? The third-person Frostbite engine shooter Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare, due out early this year.

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