The term "casual games" is used to describe a large and growing video game industry segment. Casual games tend to be those with simple gameplay, attractive design, and a very short learning curve. The goal of casual games is to reach the broadest possible audience, especially consumers who do not fit the profile of the traditional "gamer."
Casual game is a video game that meets the expectations of its audience: casual players. This type of game is distinguished from the hardcore game by its affordance and a choice of game design that is oriented towards accessibility. Solitaire is the first successful casual game. The arrival of technology such as SVG, Java and also high-speed internet in the 2000s greatly contributed to the increase in its importance in the world of video games. Contrary to popular belief, the casual game is not just limited to a low difficulty curve or even very simple rules of the game.
Why Create Casual Games
The casual gaming segment has seen explosive growth in recent years, and creating casual games has become an attractive and profitable option for many. These are some of the main factors that influence this growth.
- Low Production Costs: To create casual games, you don't need to license expensive SDKs or graphics engines. Certainly, it makes things easier to have some tools, and in the case of some platforms (e.g. iOS), pay an annual fee to be in their Developer Program and be able to publish games in their app store, but these costs are really low compared to the cost of tools and memberships required to create console or personal computer games. On the other hand, it is not necessary to have teams with a large number of people. Most casual games are created by small teams, with 5 or fewer people. For simple games, it is even feasible that one person can create it himself. Hyperlink InfoSystem can assist you with excellent casual game development.
- Ease Of Distribution: Until a few years ago, the distribution channel was one of the main limitations of casual games. The most common channel was web portals where they could be used online or downloaded, limiting the business model options. Today, things are very different, and there are two main channels for casual games: the app stores/marketplaces included in the main platforms and operating systems, and Facebook. Thanks to them, developers can easily access markets with millions of users, all through a simple "submit." There are certainly many aspects to take into account to maximize the visibility of the game.
- Income Potential: A few years ago, it seemed that the casual gaming segment was the ugly duckling of the video game industry, overshadowed by the multi-billion dollar market for console games. But now, the casual gaming market has grown phenomenally and garnered a lot of attention, possibly more than the console market.
Variety of business models. Another attractive feature of casual games is that they offer different business models, including:
- Charge For Use: This is the traditional model, where the user pays a certain amount of money to download and use a game. It is worth noting that game is the category of mobile apps in which users are more willing to pay for their use (compared to newsreaders for example, where few users are willing to pay to use them).
- Advertising: Placing ads within games can generate good income. This type of business model is only viable for the most popular games, with millions of users.
- Freemium: The freemium model consists of offering a free version of a game to "hook" users, and offering another paid version with additional capabilities (more levels, customization possibilities, etc.).
- Virtual Goods: Another variant of the freemium model is for users to make in-game purchases to purchase virtual goods that they can use within a game to improve performance.
Tips For Creating Successful Casual Games
- Keep It Simple: Make sure that the game is relatively easy to learn to play, but also challenging to become an expert. The necessary instructions should be minimal, maybe a few sentences at most.
- Make It Intuitive: The user interface and controls should be as standardized as possible. Don't impose a learning curve on your users because you reduce their chances of enjoying it.
- Reward Your Players: Keep your players interested and involved in the gaming experience. For example, in an action game, you can offer a new weapon or special power every 30 seconds for the first few minutes, and then reduce the frequency of those offers.
- Make It Interesting To Play It Again: Design your game in such a way that it is fun to play repeatedly, try to keep users coming back for more. You can do this by offering alternate game paths and different weapons.
- Focus On The Essential Aspects: Avoid spending a lot of time and resources on things that the user is very likely to ignore after having seen once. For example, don't spend a lot of time on an animation for the intro, instead spend it to improve the core aspects of the game.
- Try Early And Often: Get your game tested by unknown people who belong to your target audience and do so at different intervals during your game development. It helps to watch these people play the game for the first time, without instructions.
Creating casual games is a possibility with few barriers to entry and good business opportunities. This has attracted millions of developers from around the world and filled the app stores with games, which can make it appear that this segment is already saturated and there is no room to compete. However, the potential is still great, and if you do things well, you will have good opportunities.