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Do you think Electronic Arts would have shelled out $1.3 billion for a company called Sexy Action Cool? It could have happened if PopCap Games stuck with its original name.

Before it unleashed massive hits on the planet like Bejeweled and Plants vs. Zombies, PopCap was actually known as Sexy Action Cool.

No joke. That was one of the tidbits that PopCap co-founder Jason Kapalka shared with reporters today at a luncheon hosted by the Seattle gaming company.

The name traces its origins to a movie poster from the film Desperado, starring Antonio Banderas. Kapalka and co-founders Brian Fiete and John Vechey chose the name because they thought it was funny.

The name choice certainly speaks to the innocence and casualness in which the three co-founders — two of whom dropped out of college to start the game company — entered into the business. At the time, Kapalka said they didn’t have much business savvy. They certainly didn’t have any clue that they were on to something so big.

“We didn’t even know what a VC was,” recounted Kapalka, who hails from Edmonton and now lives in Comox, British Columbia.

Kapalka, Fiete and Vechey quickly realized that Sexy Action Cool might not be the best name for a consumer games company which counted many older women as customers.

So, they settled on the word Pop since it was easy to spell and say. Matching it with Cap was a good fit — since Kapalka said it sounded like a real word.

Even better, the domain name was available back then.

Today’s luncheon wasn’t all memories of the good-old days, though the three founders certainly were upbeat and all smiles following the sale to EA.

The company also showed off trial versions of its new mobile games for Sony Ericsson Xperia mini, a tiny Android-based phone.

It also gave a sneak peek at its upcoming Facebook game. Dubbed Pig Up, the game features a flying pig with wooden wings that racks up points by avoiding bumble bees. Wired calls the game “horribly addictive” and it reminded me a lot of PopCap’s iPhone game Unpleasant Horse.

It is expected to be released later this summer.

Now, can you imagine Pig Up from Sexy Action Cool? I can’t.

The name change may go down as one of the smarter business moves in Seattle business history.


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