Casual Gaming: The New Frontier(ville)


Gaming means many different things to many different people.  But what image pops into your mind when you hear the term, “gamer?” Maybe you envision a twitchy, high-resolution  First Person Shooter (FPS) like Crysis. Someone says, “Massive Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game” (MMORPG) and it’s all about World of Warcraft. Simulators, action games – the list goes on and on. But that is nothing compared to the growing number of people playing casual games. It’s your mom, your in-laws, your kids…and probably you.     



According to a recent article from Advertising Age, one in four Americans are playing Farmville. That is significantly more than the number of people playing WoW at any given time.


Where are these games being played? Places like Facebook. The social media site and Twitter are household names (even if everyone doesn’t quite “get” it). People continue jumping online and testing out these services and the casual gaming segment continues to grow at an exponential rate. That means more people playing simple games that are easy to make.


As a result, the barriers to entry are now substantially lower. You no longer need a bank account the size of an EA, Activision or Ubisoft to develop and bring to market a successful title. While hardcore gamers might claim the casual gaming experience leaves something to be desired, the overall value proposition is definitely appealing: A combination of affordable micro-transactions, collaboration, convenience, mobility and accessibility, all served up quickly on your platform of choice. 


Do you think Battlefield: Bad Company 2, Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2, and Left 4 Dead 2 will be replaced by Mafia Wars, Farmville and Frontierville? Probably not, but it is bringing a new crowd of people to the gaming table. Big fish like EA are already gobbling up little social gaming fish (like, well, Playfish). Is Zynga next? Or how long before Zynga becomes one of the big boys?


To put it another way: “Success” is already being redefined by millions of users paying $1 as opposed to 100,000 customers paying $50 per game. We’re at the cusp of some very interesting times.


What do you think? Say something in the comment box below!


by Holly Golightly
on ‎07-11-2010 02:05 AM

Well, as a PC gamer, I must admit that social gaming is definitely becoming the norm. I always hear about it. I suppose it does best, especially while at work. I do not like the idea of E.A. trying to take small companies out of business by taking the competition for themselves. This is why I try my best to avoid buying any E.A. product as well as Ubisoft and Activision. Plus, they are known for the negative business practices... Like D.R.M., Securom, and StarForce which have been known to ruin any computer's components. It is best to try other gaming companies. Plus, these "big fishes" typically make one type of game... Shooting! Medal of Honor, Battlefield, Command and Conquer, as well as Crysis -E.A. Splinter Cell, Rainbow 6, Tom Clancy Hawks/Vegas -Ubisoft and lets not forget about Activision's Call of Duty, Modern Warfare and what not. Anyhow, social games will never replace games like those or Valve's Left 4 Dead.  They are two completely different categories. One being social, the other being a F.P.S./M.M.O.R.P.G. Not everybody utilizes these social networks, whether it be personal reasons, privacy issues, or access. Some people just outright refuse to "get it" and blend with everyone else with the Social Media Network lifestyle. So no doubt that there will always be a market for big fish companies E.A. who charge $50 for these hardcore games, even though this market could possibly be a minority in the future. Who knows? I just hope that there are games out there for people who do not want to be on the internet nonstop. I like Adventure games and not everyone's life revolves around social networks, or violent video games... Yet alone the internet. I hope Zynga continues to make social games and not become another E.A./Activision/Ubisoft.

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