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Monday, August 27, 2007, 11:40 am PT (02:40 pm ET)

Game developer PopCap eyes Apple's iPhone

Having received a phenomenal response to a Web-based version of its "Bejeweled" game for the iPhone, PopCap now has its sights set on developing additional games that would run natively on the Apple handset, a company representative said this week.

Speaking to Reuters, PopCap's mobile business development director Andrew Stein said over 100,000 people have already tried out the Web-based version of its "Bejeweled" title, which was released as a "proof of concept" game for the iPhone just three weeks ago.

Although that figure pales in comparison to the 10 million copies of the game that have been sold for other devices, it's still pretty good considering that only a few hundred thousand iPhones are believed to have been sold thus far, Reuters reported.

"There are a lot of passionate Mac users here in the company. They looked at the iPhone and thought this would be really cool to do 'Bejeweled' on," Stein said. "We don't typically make announcements about what's in the pipeline, but based on the success of 'Bejeweled', we're looking pretty closely at the iPhone."

PopCap isn't the only game developer reported to be expressing interest in the iPhone. Electronic Arts (EA), which recently renewed a bond with Apple's Mac platform, said it sees the handset as an ideal platform for casual games.

"We're huge believers in the iPhone and believe that's going to be a viable market going forward," said Travis Boatman, vice president of worldwide studios for the mobile division of EA. "It has an amazing interface for games and there are lots of beautiful things you can do with that touch interface."

Boatman, however, acknowledged that Apple's initial priority with the iPhone is to stabilize the platform at its core before branching out into new areas, similar to the way it handle the iPod during its infancy.

"The first few iPods didn't support games but eventually they did," he said.

Reuters' report on the matter arrives just two weeks after the New York Post ran a similar column on the prospect of iPhone games, in which it cited sources who implied Apple was setting itself up for a showdown with Nintendo.