Those of you who have been following my blog know that it has been almost a year since I submitted the manuscript for "Innovation and Marketing in the Video Game Industry." When the publisher asked me about making a chapter available online, in deference to this community, I immediately suggested the chapter on game development and casual games. It features quotes from Gamasutra's own Simon Carless and others.
The full chapter can be downloaded in pdf form by clicking on the link at the end of this brief excerpt.
Game Development and the Rise of Casual Games
In recent years there has been a transformation in the way people think about games. In the past, gaming was the domain of young males, and game studios devoted considerable resources to titles that appealed almost exclusively to this demographic. Today, as development costs skyrocket and video game companies compete for the same customers, more studios are finding success in markets that traditionally have not been well served by the video game industry. Today’s gamers include women, parents, and even senior citizens who enjoy playing puzzle games, arcade games, and sports games. Among 25–34 year olds, women gamers now outnumber men by a considerable margin.
Casual gaming comes in different forms. Some companies are reviving classic arcade games from the 1970s and 1980s that have nostalgic appeal for audiences that grew up during the era of Atari and the NES. Other companies specialize in puzzle games like Tetris and Bejeweled that are distributed on handheld devices, on Internet websites, or on low-cost CD-ROM packages. And as we saw in an earlier chapter, Nintendo created a new genre of fitness titles by combining simple sports games with its Wiimote controller.
In this chapter we will look at how game development has changed and why the traditional approach to video game marketing is no longer working. Under the new paradigm, large game companies have had to rethink the way they do business. The most successful ones are partnering with small innovative studios, creating tools that help facilitate community-based development, and focusing big-budget resources on their most successful franchises.
As we consider each of these approaches, we will show that development practices need to match the strategic objectives of each company. In the future, there will still be a market for big budget games that appeal mainly to young men, but as costs skyrocket, companies in that segment need to use their intellectual and financial resources in smarter, more focused, ways.