The Games Gateway DC meetup on Casual Games on April 30th provided an interesting cornucopia of information. Brian Judy, President of Red Aphid and flash games instructor at American University lead the talk.
You can find the talk outline and hyperlinks at the special Red Aphid page, and I will include some of the highlights and additional links here:
- the Casual Games Association is a valuable resource of news and factoids regarding casual games
- Wikipedia has a very informative history of casual games
- Addicting Games is a capture sight for a variety of casual games, also Real Arcade, Great Day Games which produces Mini Cap games, and Miniclip
- Games Tap offers free games, news, and different ways to connect with other players, also Pop Cap
- Most casual games are made in flash [see Newgrounds a flash game portal] and are PC games, and mobile continues to grow as a cg platform [see EA Mobile]
- iPhone SDK is open to game developers and apparently Apple offers a reasonable profit sharing with developers to incentivize development [unconfirmed 70/30 split for the developer]
Social networking groups such as Facebook are realieasing SDKs for game development
- Advergaming - the combination of games used to extend brand recognition,interaction and loyalty is growing as a format as well. Burger King's games portal and the games themselves proved of interest. Here is the number two burger retailer in the US and it decides to use games to attract and gain traction with teen youth. The site looks good, but I'm not sure if anyone is playing any longer [check out those leader boards]. As an additional side note, In-game-advertising, which includes all forms of advertising and games is estimated to reach $2B by 2011, with advergaming reaching $344M by that year. [See emarketer.com]
Discussing what makes casual games so attractive and addictive both to players and to developers, the Meetup came up with these attributes:
- ease of design and development
- satisfies the need for competition
- simple to learn
- hard to master
- need some level of skill, which also develops over time
- player can't predict the outcome
- quick in/out of game play; player doesn't need to dedicate a lot of time to attain a 'win-point'
Casual games are becoming deeper in games play. Some MMOs are now being done in flash. The line between casual games, MMOGs, augmented reality, and other elements of real and virtual worlds are starting to blend, and this will continue into the future. Some at the Meetup are waiting for the day that the holodeck becomes a reality. Fully immersive game play and virtual reality have long been a games desire...which is why I decided to work in the theme park business long ago. Now all these worlds are converging. How cool is that! Hope to see you at the next Games Gateway meetup.