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Brier Dudley's blog

Brier Dudley offers a critical look at technology and business issues affecting the Northwest.

July 20, 2011 at 5:06 PM

PopCap’s bejeweled founders unplugged

PopCap co-founder John Vechey doesn’t want a yacht, but somebody sent him a yachting magazine after the company sold last week to Electronic Arts in a deal worth up to $1.3 billion.

The three founders and Chief Executive Dave Roberts are sharing $100 million in EA stock, plus cash from the sale. That’s prompted junk mail, cold calls from sales people and the appearance of long-lost relatives.

They shared these insights during a lunch with press and analysts during the Casual Connect conference, at which they showed off a test version of a new Facebook game called “Pig Up!” and upcoming Sony Ericsson phones preloaded with their games.

Roberts said he’s received 100 calls from people offering to help manage his money, all of which were deleted from his voicemail.

As for the boat, Vechey said he’s holding out hope that one of his co-workers buys a boat that he can enjoy sometimes.

He said he’s still getting his mind around the scale of the deal, which is worth up to $1.3 billion if the company hits growth targets.

“I don’t understand the size of it — it’s incomprehensible,” he said. “I’m like a monkey and someone’s explaining to me a jet.”

There’s no good “most eligible bachelor” story at PopCap. Three of the four are married, and Vechey said he’s off the market with a serious girlfriend.

Jason Kapalka, co-founder and chief creative officer, said he didn’t get the yachting magazine but he’s had other contacts since the sale.

“I’ve had a few realtives come out of the woodwork,” he said.

Kapalka is particularly excited about working with EA’s BioWare group, which has a major studio in his hometown of Edmonton, Alberta.

He floated the possibility of inserting an easter egg surprise into BioWare’s “Mass Effect,” like a holographic version of PopCap’s “Bejeweled.”

Vechey said the team walked over to El Gaucho for dinner after the sale, then celebrated at the Two Bells.

But the real party for the team is still being planned. Is the plan to fly them someplace exotic?

“No, take them to Dick’s,” Vechey joked.

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