Casual Game State of the Industry Summary

In So…Did You Read It?, David “RM” Michael asks a few questions. Did anyone read State of the Industry: Casual Games in the latest Game Developer magazine, and if so, could you provide a summary?

Sure! James Gwertzman, director of business development at PopCap says that he expects the casual game market to grow very rapidly. Some research predicts that downloadable games will have $1.7 billion in revenue by 2009 compared to $241 million in 2005. It talks about how PopCap works. It talks about PlayFirst, the supposed-first publisher for casual games. Budgets for casual games have apparently gone from $50,000 to $150,000 due to high quality games raising standards. Then there was talk about how important portals are since they have such a high volume of potential customers. Microsoft’s MSN Games and XBox Live Arcade also are supposed to usher in diversity in casual games.

Nothing, however, about going it alone. Nothing about being an indie. Just Big Money going after big money. Not that there is anything wrong with big money, of course. I think that it is good news that casual games are shown to be more than a passing fad. I just think that it would be terrible if it became a subset of hit-driven, big-production, mainstream game development.

The second question was about the relevancy of Game Developer magazine. I don’t have enough information to be able to try to answer that question, but I will say that I think I get more quality information from blogs and websites, and such information comes to me much quicker.

4 replies on “Casual Game State of the Industry Summary”

I thought about it and concluded that it is no wonder they don’t! Everywhere you look, it says, “In the old days, one person can program and design the game as well as provide graphics and audio. Today, you need teams of people to do the job.”

It’s a foregone conclusion that you can’t do everything yourself. Even though people are doing things mostly by themselves, they are considered “lucky” or an anomaly.

“Budgets for casual games have apparently gone from $50,000 to $150,000 due to high quality games raising standards.”

I hope this doesn’t affect the pricing of the casual game downloads. It would defeat one of the greatest points of even having casual games.

While I don’t think there is anything wrong with having big-budget casual games, I do believe it is wrong to claim you need big budgets.

I’m not talking about the idea that anyone can make a game. I think that you don’t need to throw a ton of money around to make a high-quality game that can be commercially viable and successful. If people generally believe that you can’t make a game without the big bucks, how different can the casual games industry be from the mainstream/hardcore?

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