POPCAP Although it has a vast back catalogue, it’s fair to say that life at PopCap has calmed down in recent years. When EA acquired it in 2012, that took this once-envied team off the market, for good and ill. Of course, it was at the mercy of corporate changes and, yes, the inevitable reduction in workforce and scaling back kicked in. But arguably it gave it more freedom, too – the Garden Warfare spin-off of Plants vs Zombies is what gets it on the list with solid sales and a great critical reception. That kind of project, itself a parody of the projects big brother studios make, wouldn’t have been possible as a risky indie.
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ABOUT Country: United Kingdom www.mindcandy.com
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Moshi Monsters creator Mind Candy was once the UK darling, but don’t let recent company challenges suggest it is on the way out. Certainly, the firm has had to lose some staff and admit it spent too much time and money on developing its World of Warriors property, but this is still one of the most progressive of UK studios, keen to embrace licensing and brand exploitation while also being fiercely protective of the kids audience playing its game online every day. An estimated $29m from software revenue isn’t bad either – and that doesn’t include all the licensing and spin-offs. STUDIO HOTLIST