2008‐2009 Casual Games White Paper

2008‐2009 Casual Games White Paper

A Project of the Casual Games SIG of the IGDA

2007 and 2008 have been years of tremendous change for the casual game industry. From 2001‐2006, the business seemed simple. The vast majority of industry was tremendously focused: we made small‐download games designed to appeal to middle‐aged women delivered over the internet and played on PC. We mostly created simple puzzle, action, and word games. Players could download them from a variety of high‐traffic portals and play them for 60 minutes without charge. If they liked them, they paid $20 (or a bit less with a buyer’s‐club type subscription) and the distributor and the developer split the money in various proportions. If the player didn’t like them well enough to pay (and about 99% of downloads didn’t result in a payment), the player went on and played something else. With this simple model, the casual game market grew itself from a $25 million anomaly in 2002 to $500+ million business in 2006. And it did so without drawing too much attention from existing large game publishers.
This is not to say that people weren’t creating other types of casual games during these years. A few brave souls were building businesses on ads, subscriptions, and microtransactions, but by and large they were seen as being on the margins of the industry. There was little or no doubt that when you set out to discuss casual games, you meant downloadable try‐and‐buy games targeted at soccer moms.
In 2007 and 2008, things began changing for casual games. Real revenues began to emerge in the ad‐supported and advergaming sectors. Microtransaction success stories began to emerge – both with Asian imports (where microtransactions have been the key revenue model for online games since 2000) and homegrown North American products. Dedicated game consoles launched game download services and casual game developers greeted them with open arms. Major packaged goods game publishers opened divisions devoted entirely to the casual market. The Nintendo Wii made the concept of casual play in packaged goods console games an industry watchword. And suddenly, the fact that casual games are the fastest growing segment of the game industry wasn’t escaping anyone.
The 2008 IGDA Casual Games White Paper is an attempt at reflecting the sudden growth and diversification that the industry has experienced. The White Paper begins by establishing a framework for understanding what casual games are all about and how they are different from what most of the mainstream press considers “the game industry”. This is followed by sections that dive in and take a careful look at a variety of categories and formats of casual games, helping you to understand how they are designed, built, funded, and paid out. We try to give you a bit of visibility on games that have moved each category and to help you understand who is buying each type of game. It is our hope that a good reading of the white paper will give you a sense of the sweep and scope of the industry and help to focus your efforts as you work on creating the great casual games of the future.

The 2008 IGDA Casual Games White Paper is the result of a tremendous outpouring of effort from the casual game community. More than 50 people contributed to the document you are reading. Some wrote the articles, some edited, and some helped with project management. All are experts on some segment of the casual game industry and all gave their time as volunteers to create this document. If you see the value in their efforts, please help to pay it back by supporting the IGDA as a member or volunteer.
This white paper is one of several key initiatives from the IGDA Casual Game SIG. In addition to the white paper, we publish a newsletter on current developments in casual games, maintain an active mailing list, and take on various initiatives to promote best practices in the casual game field. You can learn more about our efforts at http://www.igda.org/casual. We hope you’ll take advantage of the many free resources we provide.
As a final note, one testament to the rapid pace of change in casual games is that several categories of casual game that barely existed when work started on this white paper (in July of 2007) have become very important to our industry. Those categories aren’t covered in this edition of the white paper. We hope to deliver white paper updates on casual MMO games, social network games, and iPhone games in 2009.
Thanks for taking the time to download the 2008 IGDA Casual Games White Paper. We hope you’ll find it useful and informative. As the industry continues to involve, we’ll do our best to keep it up to date and relevant. We hope that you come away from it feeling better informed and perhaps even a bit more inspired about making casual games. If we have done that, then the many hundreds of hours of volunteer effort were very well worth it.
November 30, 2008
Dave Rohrl

Consulta el documento completo (224 págs): IGDA_Casual_Games_White_Paper_2008