Game developer and publisher MumboJumbo (Luxor) is one of the pioneers of taking downloadable casual games into the retail sector, and for today's main Gamasutra feature
, we chat with CEO Mark Cottam about the practicalities of putting casual PC and now PSP titles on store shelves.
In this excerpt, Cottam explains that the danger of other casual publishers following MumboJumbo's lead and taking their downloadable games to retail is a concern that extends beyond just boxed-publishing strategies:
"MC: I think there's a fear that there is over saturation at retail as well as on the download side, and that's one of the things that we look at to determine what the next big game is. What's the next big game mechanic that people are going to be drawn to? And I think that's a challenge in the download space as well as at retail. As successful as casual games have been at retail, there's still a finite amount of shelf space, and just continuing to load it up with games of a similar genre or same gameplay mechanic with different packaging, yes, I do think that's a potential risk in the category. But at the same time, we look at what's coming out of the casual game market now in comparison to two or three years ago. At this point you've got games in the match-three, collapse, action-shooter and word genre, and games like Diner Dash that is more resource management, not to mention Virtual Villagers. We're seeing a lot of games come to market that are completely different to what we were seeing even a year ago. Those are the games that need to make it to retail, because they broaden the offering to the consumer, and they broaden the consumer's choices of what they're going to play. I would not want to see a retail assortment that had ten titles, of which, five were match-three and five were action-shooters. I don't think that's good for retail and I don't think that's good for the consumer. So obviously providing more choice is really important.
Like any market, there will be a rush to try to replicate what's successful. I think then it really becomes important for a retailer to select what content they put on shelves."
You can now read the full Gamasutra feature on the subject
with more from Cottam about retail, taking casual games to handhelds, and whether 'casual games' itself is an appropriate term (no registration required, please feel free to link to this column from external websites).