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Plugged In

‘Peanuts’ app coming from makers of controversial Smurfs Village

Plugged In

You're on the iPhone, Charlie Brown.

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Capcom has acquired the rights to create social games based on Charles Schultz' s Peanuts comic empire, which will put Snoopy, Lucy, Linus and the rest of the gang on Apple's iDevices this fall.

The game will make the move to other smartphones in the future -- and several other Peanuts-themed titles will follow.

Capcom (and its Beeline Interactive studio, which will develop the game) hasn't divulged any details about the game, but it did reveal that, like its popular Smurf's Village game, the Peanuts game will be free to play, with in-games items available for purchase.

That strategy has made Capcom a lot of money with the Smurfs, but it's also one that has gotten the company in more than a little hot water. Soon after Smurf's Village came out, parents began complaining about their children going on expensive spending sprees without realizing they were running up a bill.

The problem became significant enough that the Federal Trade Commission launched an investigation. That didn't stop the game from becoming one of the app store's top grossing titles, despite the fact that it was free.

The Smurfs were big, but they're nothing compared to Peanuts. The franchise is worth well over $1 billion; at the height of its popularity, the strip boasted a readership of 355 million in 75 countries. It was translated into 21 languages.

"Partnering with a top tier partner like Capcom's Beeline on this new virtual social game marks a pivotal step in our strategy to expand Peanuts into the digital arena," said Neil Cole, Chairman and CEO of Iconix Brand Group, which owns Peanuts Worldwide. "Going forward, fans can expect more great news on the digital front from Peanuts."

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