PopCap Games is leading the latest development in the zombie apocalypse, inking multiple licensing deals to further maximize the value of its blockbuster Plants vs. Zombies game. Bejeweled and other hugely successful PopCap franchises will follow into the retail world next year.

The resources to create such broad strategic plans and the clout to execute them came as part of the package when Electronic Arts acquired PopCap last year for $650 million in cash and $100 million in stock.

While these titles don’t depend on micropayments for profits, revenue from T-shirts, figurines, plush toys, accessories and other lifestyle products will undoubtedly boost the bottom line still further while demonstrating the games’ place in popular culture.

The agreements announced today are the first major partnerships PopCap has entered to license its properties for consumer products in the North American and European territories. There have been a few licensed (and many more bootlegged) products are for sale in some Asian countries, and there’s also a Plants vs. Zombies $3 lottery scratch card in New Mexico, but merchandising hasn’t been part of the overall business strategy before.

These new licensing agreements bring PopCap into the heart of the mainstream with a wide variety of product lines from Trends International, Bioworld Merchandising, Funko, MjC International, Jazwares and Walls360. There will be apparel, bags, plush toys, figurines, headphones, thumb drives, speakers, wall graphics, boxers and sleepwear, calendars and posters, and other stuff commemorating Peashooters, Bucketheads, Chompers and other game creatures.

“We’re taking a measured, deliberate approach to licensing our IPs, focusing on quality brand extensions that expand our unique game icons and experiences for our fans in authentic, meaningful ways,” said Brennan Townley, director of brand licensing at PopCap Games. “The partnerships we’ve announced today represent partnerships with some of the most highly regarded licensees in their respective categories.”

Related links:

PopCap – press release

VentureBeat – PopCap opens the product licensing floodgates for the first time

New Mexico Lottery – Plants vs. Zombies scratch card