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Plants vs. Zombies, Chuzzle hitting Amazon Appstore this week

by Phil Hornshaw

PopCap games hasn’t been too supportive of Android yet. The maker of games such as Bejeweled and Plants vs. Zombies has lots of titles available in Apple’s iTunes App Store – most recently, the edgier and darker Unpleasant Horse – but no love for Android. Until now, that is.

Yes, PopCap is bringing games to Android starting this week. The first will be Chuzzle, a puzzle game not unlike the ever-popular Bejeweled. Following that is Plants vs. Zombies, the uber-popular tower defense game that has appeared on multiple platforms and found some serious success on the iPhone and iPad. The addition of Android support for the latter has been a long time coming – like a year.

There’s a catch, however: both games won’t appear in the Android Market, at least not right away. First, they’ll be exclusive to the Amazon Appstore.

PopCap sent out the details in a press release. Chuzzle will be exclusive to the Appstore for two weeks, starting on May 17 (when it’ll launch for free as part of Amazon’s Free Every Day deal). Plants vs. Zombies is next, hitting the Appstore sometime later in May and having its own free launch day promotion followed by two weeks of Amazon exclusivity. Both games will run at $2.99 when they stop being free.

This is kind of a big deal for the Amazon Appstore, as well as the Android Market. Here’s some perspective: “PopCap's games have been downloaded over 1.5 billion times by consumers worldwide, and its flagship franchise, Bejeweled, has sold more than 50 million units,” according to that press release.

That’s a whole lot of downloads. And Plants vs. Zombies remains on the Top 10 charts over on the iTunes App Store. And it has been available for a long while now. So Amazon getting two weeks free from competition with Google’s Android Market, and that could be a big chance to make a huge impression on users – as well as a whole lot of money.

We’ve talked about Amazon taking shots at Google in order to take hold of the app market it enjoys. Rovio Mobile game Amazon an exclusive on the Android release of Angry Birds Rio, although we haven’t heard just how well the app did in the new marketplace.

Despite Amazon’s terms for developers coming under scrutiny, the company is fighting pretty hard to be a dominant force in distributing games to Android fans. Meanwhile, though Google is tightening up the Android Market, it still seems to be lagging behind its newest big competitor.