How the Industry will only benefit from the Casual Market - Vurtax Blog - www.GameInformer.com
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How the Industry will only benefit from the Casual Market

The core gamer market is surely a fickle bunch of people. Many people are afraid that Mobile gaming will kill the handheld console gaming market while other just downright refuse to believe such a thing can happen. We cringe at the thought of Microtransaction games yet we will buy $60 games and down $10 two months later for a map pack or what not. And then we look at the Facebook games and so forth and yes as Mike Capps said recently the industry is pretty unsure of what to do with itself and longtime gamers fear that their franchises may be reduced to bit size games.

 

Pop Cap Games is one of the most successful casual game developers on the market, with their original funding and development team I no doubt believe they would've failed to launch had they gone for big time retail releases.


I understand being worried, but let me be flat. Only good can come of the casual market.

 

Why? Well think about the first game you played that really made you a gamer. Me personally growing up my folks didn’t get us a gaming console until the Gamecube in 2004 I believe (the years are sadly a little fuzzy in my head). I remember watching my brother play Call of Duty: Finest Hour or Medal of Honor: Frontline and while I tended to enjoy those games I never found the draw to them because I either found them just difficult (I was eleven at the time) or just too dark, as a kid I remember gasping the first time I saw my brother kill Nazi’s on screen thinking about what the war must’ve really been like back in the 1940’s. So while I might’ve enjoyed FPS to some degree I stuck with my Legend of Zelda and other games (I used to be a big RTS pc gamer as well).

 

Later that year, my brother’s good friend Matt loaned us Halo Combat Evolved for the PC. After observing my brothers play the campaign for a bit needless to say I got hooked. The more casual approach to the genre with regenerative shield to always fall back on and the God pistol make for little to no learning curve. The premise was much more lighthearted (until 343 Guilty Spark) and full of mystery. Today I don’t think I could be a gamer without first person shooters or my Halo.

 

But what does this have to do with the casual market? Well just like how Halo was a more casual take to the first person shooter the mobile market is a more casual take to just about everything. Even relatively dead genre’s like tower defense, castle crusher, puzzle games, and isometric games can reach a wider audience and not only can more development studios (no matter how small) can find their nitch making $1 mobile games but more people can be introduced to gaming as a whole.

 

And that’s just it, with the continuing trend of gaming becoming more mainstream and developers finding success in markets like mobile and facebook games the industry can only profit and with time the casual gamers may find themselves playing more traditional games as they realize how much fun it is.

 

 

If you can handle a bit of optimism, then here’s another topic to think about, imagine a few years from now when mobile hardware improves as fast as it is and more people own tablet devices than ever before. Could you see the traditional RPG’s of the isometric point and click days make an impact on the mobile landscape? Imagine playing Baldur’s Gate or Fallout 2 on your ipad accessing everything through your HUD and tapping on the screen where to go. Imagine an RTS like Stronghold or Empire Earth making a port to the mobile landscape offering the depth of a core game on a device for the go. When this day comes it’ll only be a matter of time before the lines between mobile and core gaming are blurred out and soon everyone will be enjoying games regardless of how shallow or deep the experiences are.

 

Have faith gamers, more studios can find success today in places other than $60 retail games. Now we have the downloadable arcade, the free to play, the mobile, the handheld console, the handheld console downloadable, the browser based, and much more. And more people can come to enjoy games as well.

 

If you're worried about the success of the core gaming market heading for the trash bin let's be clear. How many of us are actually wondering if they're going to be playing Battlefield Play4Free or Battlefield 3 this fall and which one is EA really gunning for?

 

On a semi-unrelated note: Just yesterday even I tried to play Battlefield Play4free for the first time since the beta, the game caused my PC to BLUE SCREEN. Don't worry It's fine now.

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