Monday, October 1, 2007

The Casual Threat!

With the continued success of the Casual market on the PC and the Wii thoroughly dominating console sales, the casual movement, once thought to be a nice side business, is starting to feel like a Threat to many gamers. (with a capital 'T')

What is a threat? It is the expectation of future trouble.

When gamers first started playing casual games, their numbers were few. However, as the money and audience has increased, the number of developers has also increased, often inplace of core games. The core audience has carefully eyed the casual audience's growth and the Wii becoming popular with a bit more contempt of late.

As the success of the Wii has turned the core audience from a majority into a minority, it has become the new whipping boy of the old core gamer. You can see it often in the media with even developers like Dave Perry jumping on with somewhat illogical arguments to try and fight back against what they see as taking away from their favorite pass-time.

The mainstream attack on the Wii parallels a longer attack that has happened in the PC space. Especially among the Indie crowd, which was formerly the shareware crowd, which formerly was the main money driving source in the PC gaming space.

As casual has become the key downloadable games market, Indie developers have gone to great lengths to decry the market as simplistic and pointless. A general sense of 'dumbing' down consumers and making games that don't challenge and perhaps aren't even games has become the outlook on the casual games sector.

It's kind of like an avid outdoorsman, who hikes deep into the mountains to more fully appreciate nature's beauty. In his mind, those who stop at the side of a road and take in a vista from their car are really missing out. The highway and national park system are dumbing down the experience, keeping people from what's good, and bringing in people he can't relate with to nature areas once only enjoyed by the like-minded few.

What's important to remember is that there are lots of different consumers who want different things. ...and that's a good thing.

When you go to sell your product the goal is the most sales, which means you need more people looking at it. To that end, if you are both a gamer and a businessman there is a lot of good that can from letting go of your personal aprehensions and embracing the casual group to ensure that your product is seen by the largest number of people possible. After all, you never know when someone staring out of their car window at a beautiful vista will decide to get out and walk to the other side. However, if you let your personal game tastes keep you from places, like the casual portals, when a casual gamer starting looking for something more, it will be much more difficult for them to find you.

No comments: