Tricia Duryee

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Casual Game Maker PopCap Buys Social Games Studio ZipZapPlay

Looking to expand beyond casual game titles such as Bejeweled, PopCap Games has acquired ZipZapPlay, a social games company based in San Francisco.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed. PopCap said it will develop four or five new Facebook games by the end of the year. The acquisition will also enable the company, which is hoping to file for an IPO this year, to have a presence in San Francisco.

PopCap, which is mostly focused on PC gaming, is already attracting nearly five million daily users on Facebook with titles such as Bejeweled Blitz and Zuma. Zynga, the category leader, attracts more than 55 million daily users and has been on an acquisition tear, acquiring at least one company every month.

The company also recently tried to expand beyond casual games by launching an experimental label called 4th & Battery. The label is an effort to give the company‚Äôs designers and developers the ability to create edgier games that wouldn’t normally fit under the company’s casual games reputation.

ZipZapPlay says it is a profitable, venture-backed company that was founded in 2007 by Curt Bererton and Mathilde Pignol. Today, it has 17 employees, including the two founders, and is known for making the Facebook title Baking Life. In the game, you bake items, hire your friends to sell them and try to be the most successful baker in town.

The San Francisco studio will be headed by Bererton and Pignol, who will report to PopCap VP of Social Games Development Jon David.