2401 Fourth Ave., Seattle
The Seattle-based creative leader in casual games is still tops in this market sector that has grown to an estimated $6 billion to $8 billion a year. PopCap Games maintains that position largely through the popularity of its flagship puzzle game, Bejeweled, selling a copy of the classic and updated versions every 4.3 seconds. Along with other games such as Zuma and Plants vs. Zombies, PopCap’s addictive pastimes have consumed more than 7 billion leisure-time hours since the company’s inception in 2000. Founded by three computer game enthusiasts, John Vechey, Brian Fiete and Jason Kapalka, PopCap was sold to Electronic Arts last year for $1.3 billion, but maintains its development offices in downtown Seattle, where it continues to expand its presence into Facebook and tablet computers.
Big Fish Games
333 Elliott Ave. W, Seattle
Number of employees: 500
From its initial founding in 2002 by former RealNetworks executive Paul Thelen, Big Fish Games has grown to become the leading marketplace for casual games, where more than 500 development partners sell and distribute in excess of 2,500 games for desktop computers and more than 100 games for mobile devices. That expansion is likely to continue with the firm’s move into cloud-based games that stream to PCs, Macs and tablets over the internet.
7683 SE 27th St., Mercer Island
Number of employees: 16
The speedy name is apt for Zipline Games, the seed-stage company founded in 2010 by CEO Todd Hooper and game veteran Patrick Meehan. Their open-source Moai mobile game development platform boasts use by 10,000 developers, including those from Bungie, Hairbrained Schemes and Zipline’s own studio to rapidly create social and mobile games that have been played by more than 5 million users.