Xbox Arcade Star Leaves Microsoft for Casual Game Giant

Greg Canessa is the man who’s responsible for one of the most interesting parts of the next-generation consoles: the XBox Live Arcade. From its inception, the XBox Live Arcade has served over 20 million game downloads. That’s why when Greg Canessa decided to leave Microsoft for PopCap games, it was quite a shock… and a good day for PopCap.

PopCap Games, one of the largest casual game houses, is responsible for a sizable amount of the casual gaming markets income. From Bookworm to Zuma, PopCap has sold millions of copies of their games over the past few years, and with Canessa as their new VP of Video Game Platforms, they’re planning on selling plenty more. So, what would persuade Canessa to jump ship? According to Canessa, the reason he decided to change teams is because “[PopCap Games] is on fire right now.”

In an interview with Wired’s Game|Life Blog, Canessa discussed his move over to PopCap, what he will be doing and where he sees the company heading. Since the casual gaming market is currently worth an estimated $1 billion and predicted to reach $5 billion by 2009, PopCap is very interested in reaching out to as many platforms and possible gamers as possible. When asked where he saw casual gaming going in the next 5 years, Canessa said:

Casual games, gaming in general, will continue to penetrate into the psyche of the mass market public. We ain’t seen nothing yet in terms of where it’s going to be in the next couple years. More and more soccer moms and grandmas will play. It’s going to continue to grow into non-core demographics. This is relevant as it pertains to devices that are not currently earmarked as gaming devices: mobile, set-top boxes, Apple TV, MP3 players and other devices in the home that will reach the non-gamer — people who don’t think they want to play.

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