opportunity in casual games

By February 6, 2008From mobile

Posted by mobile phone:
I’m here at the Casual Games conference in Amsterdam and things are buzzing. Casual games is not a new industry, but it is one that is in a lot of flux – and that often spells opportunity.

Furthermore, change is happening on two levels, which together might just make it difficult for the existing market leaders to compete.

First, the gameplay is changing. Over the last couple of years narrative and character have been an increasingly prominent part of some of the more successful games, and going forward my guess is that change will be compounded by introduction of social network features, multiplayer and 3D.

Second, the business model is changing. Distribution is moving from portals to social networks and revenue is shifting from subs/per box/per download to virtual goods, advertising and probably still some subs.

That is a lot of change.

  • Nic, very interesting – what is causing the shift in the sector?

  • Nic, very interesting – what is causing the shift in the sector?

  • nic

    Hi Alan – it is mostly the arrival of socnets on the scene – on the business model side they are stealing audience from the portals and otherwise changing the mechanics of distribution, as you have commented on yourself. On the gameplay side the relationships and extra info generally in the platform open up a whole new range of possibilities.

    The other trends to 3d and more narrative are changes of the more general evolutionary kind.

  • nic

    Hi Alan – it is mostly the arrival of socnets on the scene – on the business model side they are stealing audience from the portals and otherwise changing the mechanics of distribution, as you have commented on yourself. On the gameplay side the relationships and extra info generally in the platform open up a whole new range of possibilities.

    The other trends to 3d and more narrative are changes of the more general evolutionary kind.

  • Anonymous

    I think your right Nic, the open social social network infrastructure is changing the market.

    But, I think, what we are seeing are the after effects of social network bringing online communication and relationships through the chasm into the mainstream. Suddenly we have millions of people who have begun to see the internet as a massive communication channel. And yet, the depth and quality of communication afforded by a social network is really quite shallow.

    Its very difficult to talk to strangers – in England we default to talking about the weather. I think the reason we do this is because its a context that we all have in common. We are all exposed to, and effected by, the weather.

    Games, like the weather, provide a context for social interaction, and have done for many years! I like to use the analogy of my family at Christmas. We can all play a game of Monopoly togther, from my 8 year old nephew, to my 88 year old Grandma. As a collection of people we don’t share many interests, but it doesnt matter, when we’re playing a game we all have something to do together and a reason to talk.

    We all want friends and relationships (Maslow would say its a essential), and the internet has a massive potential to fullfill that need. As an aside, I think thats why we see such huge numbers of people using social networks; being social is a human need. Social networks don’t solve a problem like online Project Management, they address a fundamental human need. Thats so powerful.

    But its still so early! Social networks need to do a better job of giving people things to do. They need to help me interact with my friends, and give me excuses to talk to new people and reconnect with old friends.

    And coming back to your original post, I think the market for casual games is so exciting because social networks have brought huge numbers of people online looking for a social experience, and yet they don’t give me many ways to catalyise conversation. Like my family at Christmas, casual social games can give me a reason, and a context, for conversation. They’re like the virtual “weather”!

    There is a new type of gamer emerging, a social gamer. This is a bigger market than the traditional gamer, with its own monetization channels. The more I think about it, I wonder if gifting has the potential to become much bigger?

    Bit of a stream of consciousness Nic – sorry!

    Matt

  • Matthew Warneford

    I think your right Nic, the open social social network infrastructure is changing the market.

    But, I think, what we are seeing are the after effects of social network bringing online communication and relationships through the chasm into the mainstream. Suddenly we have millions of people who have begun to see the internet as a massive communication channel. And yet, the depth and quality of communication afforded by a social network is really quite shallow.

    Its very difficult to talk to strangers – in England we default to talking about the weather. I think the reason we do this is because its a context that we all have in common. We are all exposed to, and effected by, the weather.

    Games, like the weather, provide a context for social interaction, and have done for many years! I like to use the analogy of my family at Christmas. We can all play a game of Monopoly togther, from my 8 year old nephew, to my 88 year old Grandma. As a collection of people we don’t share many interests, but it doesnt matter, when we’re playing a game we all have something to do together and a reason to talk.

    We all want friends and relationships (Maslow would say its a essential), and the internet has a massive potential to fullfill that need. As an aside, I think thats why we see such huge numbers of people using social networks; being social is a human need. Social networks don’t solve a problem like online Project Management, they address a fundamental human need. Thats so powerful.

    But its still so early! Social networks need to do a better job of giving people things to do. They need to help me interact with my friends, and give me excuses to talk to new people and reconnect with old friends.

    And coming back to your original post, I think the market for casual games is so exciting because social networks have brought huge numbers of people online looking for a social experience, and yet they don’t give me many ways to catalyise conversation. Like my family at Christmas, casual social games can give me a reason, and a context, for conversation. They’re like the virtual “weather”!

    There is a new type of gamer emerging, a social gamer. This is a bigger market than the traditional gamer, with its own monetization channels. The more I think about it, I wonder if gifting has the potential to become much bigger?

    Bit of a stream of consciousness Nic – sorry!

    Matt