EA PopCap Games announced today that it’s launching both a new Bejeweled adaptation and a freemium version of its Facebook game, Bejeweled Blitz, on iPhone and iPod Touch. Bejeweled 2, which is currently available on both devices, will be retired.
The move is part of a as part of a new strategic direction for the franchise on mobile. As far as we can tell from the language contained in the press release, this strategy is based on making “expandable, evergreen game experiences suited to every gaming taste and budget” available on mobile devices. The new Bejeweled game for iOS is available as a 99 cent download, while the freemium Bejeweled Blitz can be downloaded for free with microtransactions available in-game to boost scores.
On Facebook, Bejeweled Blitz went through several iterations and feature sets in the last year to convert the classic match-3 game into a social network experience. The primary feature that makes the game social is the leaderboard, where friends’ weekly scores are charted. Power-up items and extra lives for additional gameplay are the main monetization features. Over the summer, Bejeweled Blitz served as a launch title for Google+’s competing games platform. According to our AppData traffic tracking service, Bejeweled Blitz currently enjoys 8.6 million monthly active users and 2.7 million daily active users on Facebook alone.
Bejeweled Blitz for iOS features nearly identical gameplay to the Facebook original, with tweaks to the user interface and retina display support. The new Bejeweled for iOS features:
◊ New high-res graphics and retina display support
◊ 3 game modes: Classic, Zen (featuring 6 ambient sound tracks and 6 mantras) and Diamond Mine
◊ In-game leaderboards to track personal high scores
◊ User profiles with gameplay statistics and 30 PopCap icons to personalize the experience
◊ 7 achievement badges with 4 levels each (bronze, silver, gold, platinum), plus 3 elite badges
◊ A player ranking system
This story originally appeared on our sister site, Inside Social Games.