Friday, April 01, 2011

PopCap heats up the console market with PlayWave (AFD #7)

With a host of hit games under its belt, including Peggle and Bejeweled, it should come as no surprise that PopCap Games is looking to expand its market.  Even so, today's announcement that the company was getting into the console biz was a shocker nonetheless. More surprising was the news that PopCap's new console, dubbed the "PlayWave", would not only be a gaming platform, but also a fully functional microwave oven as well.

While the idea might seem preposterous, it's definitely got some practical [Ed. Note: I think you mean "practical joke"] applications.  Besides, if the company can find success combining things like "plants" and "zombies", then who's to say that combining a microwave and a game console won't be just as big a hit?

Read on to learn more about the PlayWave ...

PopCap's official press release claims that the 19 liter, 1,000 watt PlayWave is currently on tap for a Christmas 2011 release in the UK and Ireland (no word yet on any proposed US launch).  The PlayWave will feature a fully functional touchscreen on the door, come with a standard 167MB storage capacity, and be capable of connecting to the internet via wireless.  The PlayWave will come with PopCap's hit puzzle game, Bejeweled, preloaded on all systems. In addition to the standard ‘Full Power’ and ‘Defrost’ settings, the PlayWave will also have a unique ‘Playtime’ setting, which will cook the food according to the player’s performance in the game.

According to PopCap Games co-founder and Chief Creative Officer, Jason Kapalka, “It has always been our ambition at PopCap to create game experiences that people can enjoy anytime, everywhere. Our fans tell us they love to pass the time playing a few levels of their favorite games anywhere and everywhere, and everyone loves a good meal so we thought why not combine the two?”

The decision to begin development on the PlayWave apparently came after PopCap had done extensive research into the gaming habits of its standard consumer. As a result of that research, PopCap decided to press forward with the PlayWave, as well as another toilet-based gaming console, dubbed the "Play-n-Poop". Originally, PopCap had planned to launch both consoles simultaneously as a kitchen and bathroom suite, but due to "complications arising from the curvature of the toilet touchscreen", the company's flushed its plans for the Play-n-Poop's scheduled launch., stating that it did not expect to have a prototype of Play-n-Poop until sometime in early 2012.

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