As PopCap’s Director of Social Media, I spend a lot of time on the Twitter, answering your questions and generally acting like an idiot in 140-character bursts all day. Hey — it’s a living.
The question I get asked most often (other than, “When the heck is _____ coming out on Android already?” and “Wait, you’re still alive?”) is one just like the one I got this very morning:
@Greenspeak hi Jeff! I want to buy PvZ goodies, such as plushies and stuff, where should I go? Cheers!
It’s a great question. We do have some cool stuff floating around. Like the following sets of PvZ playing cards and refrigerator magnets:
But right now, unless you work at PopCap or are a member of the press or a lucky winner of one of our occasional random contests, I only have one flip, not-serious answer: China. That’s not a real answer because the swag in China is all fake, pirated stuff, not made or approved by us. Like this stuff I saw in a shop in Shanghai when I visited this past April:
Sure, some of the bootleg stuff may look pretty good, and, hey, some of it is even branded as “Offical” from PopCap, but, we promise, it’s not from us.
The one exception to the rule, in China, is a line of amazingly cool clothing we released a couple months ago in collaboration with and exclusively for Metersbonwe, a huge “casualwear” company over there. This stuff is so good that I was tempted to empty my suitcase of the lame middle-aged guy clothes I’d packed for the trip and fill it with shirts like these instead:
But, again, these are only available to Metersbonwe shoppers in China, and, from what I’ve been told, they’re actually all sold out anyway.
All of this, of course, raises the question: Why? Why can you not get all this cool PopCap swag? Why don’t we make it available to everyone? Are we afraid of money? The answers to all of these questions (except for that last one) are a bit complex. But it kind of boils down to this: We know we want to do it, we are going to do it, but it’s all been a matter of ensuring (as we do with our games) that the quality of the stuff is high enough to be worthy of our name. That’s the first part. The other part is that (well, until recently anyway), we’ve been a relatively small, independent game studio. Making and distributing toys and clothing and other goodies is not in our purview, which means we have to contract that out, which means lots of extra time and effort and meetings and money, and, as you know, we have a hard enough time as it is getting our games done, let alone adding more to our plate. We do limited runs of the kind of stuff you see at the top of this post for marketing and promotional reasons, but selling it all to a mass consumer audience is another thing entirely, and something we just haven’t been ready to do yet.
The good news is that last word in the previous sentence: “Yet.” Because wheels are turning. Gears are grinding. Talks about talks are happening. I couldn’t begin to give you any whens or whats yet, so don’t even ask. Well, I can’t stop you from asking, I guess, but you’re not going to get a useful answer from me. (Just ask the Android users — LOL!) All I’m saying is that PopCap is aware that PvZ, Bejeweled, and Zuma clothing and toys and tchotchkes and more would be fun to own, and we would like you to have it, too. And you will. But the only living being who may have any clue as to when this is likely to happen is Bjorn the Unicorn. And right now he’s not spilling to anyone.
“I’m not saying a dang thing!”