Gaming powerhouse Electronic Arts will purchase PopCap games for $650 million in cash and $100 million in stocks.  Depending on how well the PopCap unit performs under EA, the final price tag of the deal could reach $1.3 billion.

While that may seem like a hefty price to pay, consider that casual and mobile games, which is what PopCap does, are the future

For example, Zynga, the leading casual game developer for the Facebook platform, is set for an IPO that values the company as high as $20 billion Meanwhile, all of EA (NASDAQ:ERTS), with its years of history, is worth only $8 billion.

Casual games are becoming increasing popular because it reaches much beyond the audience of hardcore gamers.  Indeed, games are now the most downloaded apps on smartphones.

Smartphone users play these casual, easy-to-learn, and easy-to-drop-and-pick-up-again games because they're perfect for killing time and serve as fun mental diversions.

Meanwhile, mobile device usage is growing by the minute and already surpasses PC shipments.

PopCap's biggest games include Bejwewled, Zuma, Peggle, and Plants vs. Zombies.  All these are casual games that are either puzzle or essentially 'mindless' in nature.

PopCap offers its games on the web browser and on mobile devices like smartphones and tablets.