Casual Games Day
I met with a number of companies yesterday to talk about casual games. For those of you who don't know what a casual game is, it's a game that is easy to learn and doesn't require complex skills to operate. Web games and mobile phone games usually fit into this category. According to DFC Intelligence, the worldwide casual games market is valued at $205 million today and will surpass $13 billion by 2011.
Boonty - They aggregate and serve casual games, usually with a free version that doesn't have all the levels or times out. Then you have to buy it to keep playing it. A lot of their games are web playable which means from deciding to play to playing there's no delay. Go to www.boonty.com for tons of casual games.
PlayFirst - They've seen an enormous growth in non-hardcore or casual gaming. The audience is broadening for 35 year old women. The average casual gamer is a different person from the average hardcore games. Many of these games have a woman as the protagonist. Developers target women and people over 35 who want to take a break at work or after the kids go to bed. There's no killing and no babes in bikinis. These are easy to learn games that provide an escape. They've seen 90% year over year growth. One of their games is Connect Four Cities, where you play Connect Four using buildings. And yes, you can give the gift of game on their site.
Glu - They're the #2 publisher of mobile games. Holiday titles include ATV Offroad Fury (8 different tracks), World Series of Poker, and Deer Hunter 2 (five weapons and persistent environments). In July they've got Super KO Boxing which is a cartonny boxing game like Super Punch for NES. They also offer Fox Sports Mobile Pro for $5.99 per month. It's a shell that gets filled with sports news. You can also follow your favorite team while they're on the field with live play by play.
Yahoo! Games - They are the largest casual gaming site with 20 million visitors per month. They have easy ways to connect with friends and family. They have tournaments. And they have Messenger integration. They are always searching for new fresh games. Right now they're trying to understand who comes to their site so they can target games at specific users based on what they're played before. They're adding integration with the Yahoo! communities. One cool game they have is a Flash based multiplayer chess. Mobile users can play against web users if they want so your matches are easier to coordinate.