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Wednesday, September 2, 2009

8 reasons why Casual Games FAIL!

As more and more AAA developers move away from the PC and onto game consoles, Casual Games have swooped in and taken the limelight.

Personally, I think Casual Games suck. Below, I list the top 8 reason why:

1) There basically souped-up, overpriced, flash games. In other words, you can get the same Casual Games experience just by visiting your favorite flash site.

2) There demographic is stay at home Moms. That's right, Casual Games are targeted at Moms, preferable those over the age of 47. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, but then again it says something about the skill and difficulty required to play them.

3) They have no future. Read #2: "there demographic is stay at home Moms over the age of 47." Have you wondered why someone's Mom would pay for a Casual Game, when they could get the same experience at a flash website for free? The reason: They don't know any better!

The older crowd is not as tech-savvy and are unaware that they could get the same experience for free. For example, my own Mother can't figure out how to organize her desktop, much less understand the difference between a Mac and PC. Casual Games basically take advantage of their ignorance.
This is the main reason Casual Games have no future--as the "older" generation of ignorant Grandmothers die off, the younger and more computer-aware generation will know better.

4) There all 2D. I understand that 2d games can be fun, but they lack the depth (no-pun intended) that 3D games possess. Try doing a racing game, flying game (*cough* Canine Combat *cough), or shooter game in 2d. And before you say, "you can do shooting, racing, and flying in 2d," let me tell you, "yes, but the experience is not the same."

5) There all mini-games or arcade games that have no substance. By this I mean it's rare for a Casual Game to have a story or quest associated with it. Sure, some have stories and the like, but not many do--most are just quick little, over-priced, puzzle games. Plus, most Casual Games player's only own 2 or 3 games, and after they play them for a few hours, they stop and are never played again.

6) You can get the same experience from flash games. Let's look at what the majority of Casual Games are: Quick little puzzle games. Now let's ask ourselves, what are flash games: Quick little puzzle games. Yes, flash and Casual Games are the same--the only difference is that you can get the flash games for free, versus paying $20 or more for the same thing. "Mmm," you say, "so why don't more people play flash games?" We'll, that's a good question, the answer goes back to reason #3: There demographic is none tech-savvy and thus unaware that they're getting ripped off.

7) There's never any multiplayer. When you think about it, this makes sense--Casual Games take advantage of an audience who is neither tech-savvy nor quick on the reflexes (read: Old People). Thus, it would not be plausible for Casual Games to contain any type of network play.

8) No custom content. Your mother isn't interested in creating mods, maps or custom content for games. This is why the longevity of Casual Games sucks--there are no mods or content to keep it alive.

Let's ask ourselves: "In 30 years, who will be buying and playing games? " The answer, is the youth of today. Ask yourself another question: "what games are the youth of today interested in?" The answer: Story based and on-line games--just look at xbox and ps3.

If these Casual Games developers were smart, they'd realize that the older generation has no marketing future. Instead, it's the younger generation of today that you should be targeting.

The younger generation is also much more tech-savvy and they are also aware of flash games--just take a peek in a High School computer lab and you'll see that there all on flash games when the teachers back is turned. Truth is, Casual Games won't be able to rip-off today's youth because they are more aware of the free alternatives.

Here at Gribble Games, I make sure that all (what I would call) 2D and Casual Games are free. I'm not in the business of ripping people off.