PopCap Yanks Bejeweled 2 + Blitz from iTunes to Split It in Two

PopCap Games is "retiring" Bejeweled 2 + Blitz from iTunes today, replacing it with another version of Bejeweled that sells for the same price, but which doesn't come with Blitz.

Instead iPhone and iPod Touch gamers will have to pick up a new "freemium" version of Bejeweled Blitz if they want to play that version of the game.

The roll out of these titles kicks off what the Electronic Arts-owned studio is calling a "new strategic direction for PopCap's blockbuster puzzle game franchise on mobile platforms," according to the press release.

Let's hope that direction isn't toward removing content and repackaging as freemium add-ons.

It's hard to tell what is new in the "all-new" version of Bejeweled, which will sell for the same $.99 price tag as Bejeweled 2 +Blitz.

The press release promises that it will continue to evolve with new and exciting features, but it sounds like it's launching as something very similar to Bejeweled 2 + Blitz... without the Blitz.

The new version will have retina display support, Classic, Zen and Diamond Mine modes, in-game leaderboards, user profiles seven achievements and a player ranking system.

Currently Bejeweled 2 + Blitz comes with Classic, Action and Endless play modes. It also includes the beloved Blitz mode.

Now to play Bejeweled Blitz on your iOS device you're going to need to pick up Bejeweled Blitz Standalone Freemium Edition.

PopCap's entry into the freemium business includes the same Facebook integration as the original Blitz and "cool new content."

That new content:

"An entirely new and irresistible user-interface."

"The Daily Spin feature where players try their luck to get bonus coins"

"A fun new tutorial system to help get new players moving up the leaderboards as quickly as possible"

"Retina display support and more"

Update: Just heard back from someone at PopCap. There is no time limit or any other limitations associated with the new Blitz. As always you can both earn or purchase gold coins.