Gamasutra is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them. Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.


Gamasutra: The Art & Business of Making Gamesspacer
Innovation in Casual Games: A Rallying Cry
View All     RSS
July 24, 2021
arrowPress Releases
July 24, 2021
Games Press
View All     RSS







If you enjoy reading this site, you might also want to check out these UBM Tech sites:


 

Innovation in Casual Games: A Rallying Cry


October 11, 2007 Article Start Previous Page 4 of 4
 

Another interesting result of this list is that comparing these games with games released during previous years, 13 of them were incremental innovations over existing game mechanics, but 21 of them were new game mechanics for the market:

Antarctic Adventure, Bomb Jack, Boulder Dash, Buggy Challenge, Cobra Command, Mr. Do Run Run, Circus Charlie, Duck Hunt, ExciteBike, Hat Trick, Mikie, Hyper Sports, Kung Fu Master, Lode Runner, Marble Madness, Mr. Do Wild Ride, Paperboy, Pac-Land, Punch Out, Road Fighter, and Root Beer Tapper.

Twenty one radically innovative games! When was the last time you could play so many new game experiences in one year?

After a big depressive moment, I took the strength to make the casual games list. Here it is:

Unique Casual Games List, 2006

Your browser may not support display of this image.
Magic Match

Acropolis
Your browser may not support display of this image.
Gold Miner Vegas

Hotel Solitaire

7 Wonders

Mirror Magic
Your browser may not support display of this image.
Cake Mania
Your browser may not support display of this image.
Mystery Case Files: Prime Suspects

Fish Tycoon

Mosaic: Tomb of Mystery

Family Feud

Super Collapse 3
Your browser may not support display of this image.
Feeding Frenzy 2
Your browser may not support display of this image.
Virtual Villagers

Luxor 2
Your browser may not support display of this image.
Westward

The result is that there were 16 unique casual games in 2006. But 11 of them were incremental innovations over existing game mechanics, and only five of them were new game mechanics introduced in the casual market (Magic Match, Fish Tycoon, Family Feud, which is an existing game but newly introduced to casual players, Virtual Villagers and Westward).

Just five. And there lies a problem. If we are talking about audience growth -- and by just considering the examples we were talking about before -- the more new successful game experiences we can bring to the market, the more new players we can bring:

Your browser may not support display of this image.

And the number of unique titles available also determines the number of types of gameplay mechanisms and therefore players you could bring to the table - though I understand that this may not mean absolute growth of this amount:

Conclusion

I think some of these issues are relevant to other parts of the game industry, but since they are not my expertise, I'll stick to casual.

It's important that we realize the audience's behaviors, and put ourselves in their seats when we plan our portfolio of titles every year. I'm sure a lot of you have similar stories to this one: New Publisher Division, first six months: "We need to differentiate ourselves! Let's create radically innovative titles. Let's show the other guys how it's done!" A year later, of the 12 titles released, only one is a hit. Another two have been fairly successful, but with flaws.

Sales steps in: "We're not selling squat!" A coup d'etat ensues. Next year's portfolio is 50% clones, and 50% minor incremental innovations. Sales go up, but churn is high because players lose interest. We need to understand and plan this better. We need to realize that incremental innovation is what most players feel comfortable with. But radical innovation brings new players and renews the interest of existing ones who are done with their favorite genre.

In order to keep a healthy industry we need both. So let's invest in them!


Article Start Previous Page 4 of 4

Related Jobs

Bytro Labs GmbH
Bytro Labs GmbH — Hamburg, Germany
[07.23.21]

Lead Game Designer (f/m/x)
Bytro Labs GmbH
Bytro Labs GmbH — Hamburg, Germany
[07.23.21]

Senior UI Artist (f/m/x)
Insomniac Games
Insomniac Games — Burbank, California, United States
[07.22.21]

Senior Designer
Legends of Learning
Legends of Learning — Baltimore, Maryland, United States
[07.22.21]

Senior Systems Designer - $150k - Remote OK





Loading Comments

loader image