FutureWire - futurism and emerging technology

Monday, June 27, 2005

"Casual Gaming" Makes Its Mark

When people think of video games, they usually envision adolescent boys playing violent shoot-'em-ups, or hardcore gamers for whom the games are a huge part of their lives. In the midst of this comes "casual gaming," appealing to people who just want something to mess around with for a few minutes at a time.

Instead of pushing the technology envelope, the new breed of casual games are decidedly primitive, often a throwback to the two-dimensional games of the '80's. They're designed to be simple to play, and to be played on small platforms such as cell phones or PDAs.

One factor that sets casual gaming apart from the rest of the industry is cost. Casual games cost a only a fraction to develop compared with more sophisticated games, and are downloadable for only a few dollars each. Another distinguishing factor is the audience base; it's not kids who are gobbling up these games, but adults, most old enough to remember Pac-Man and the first generation of arcade video games. Also, women make up a large percentage of casual game buyers and players.

RELATED: Russell Beattie believes that the mobile gaming market may be a bubble that's about to burst. Between the glut of mobile games, a possible shift to more complex graphics and multiplayer games, and potential loss of consumer interest, he cautions that the current market cannot be sustained.

Sources: New York Times, Techdirt