PopCap Games, one of the top casual game makers of all time, is releasing Bejeweled Blitz for the desktop. The interesting element here is that it uses the same Bejeweled game design that is available for Facebook, but the Facebook version is free and the downloadable version is $19.95.
The game takes the standard Bejeweled formula and adds powerups and a 60 second timer. The key is that the power-ups are earnable, but also purchasable as microtransactions. Bejeweled has been a classic game to pass the time since its creation for web browsers 9 years ago, in 2001. The new game, Blitz, leverages Facebook connect, and you can post your high scores and updates about your latest game play.
The question is whether the title will take off when the game is available to be played for free at Facebook.com, where 10,000,000 players already play every month. I assume the thinking here is that even if a few die hard players convert, it’s worth the probably low porting cost to make it a standalone game. Most free-to-play games take advantage of thsi 80/20 model, where the top 20% of die-hard players use the ‘pay’ version to pay for the overall game’s development cost.
If you couldn’t get enough of the game on Facebook, you can purchase the downloadable version here.