Guest lecture today at uni titled The Business of Casual Games presented by Colin Cardwell, CEO 3RDSENSE.
3RDSENSE is a Sydney based company focusing on the creation and delivery of casual games. Colin characterised 'casual games' as being focused on fun rather than technology (hardware, graphics and such). They have over 100 game engines under their belt which is neat and they have their own gaming portal, Fizzy.com. The company has around 6 Flash game designers/developers, 8 web design folk and a few full-time illustrators that work to develop content for themselves and others.
Colin presented some interesting perspectives on the demographics of gamers. I like his analogy of Hard-Core gamers being like a bif blockbuster movie, Aliens/Silence of the Lambs while the 'casual games' are more analogous to things like Sex and the City, ER or friends. The 'casual games' industry is now a 10 billion PA entity and big players like EA are investing heavily in the area.
One key piece of advice was to make the casual games approachable, easy to learn and easy to play at first. Colin finished up speaking fair bit about the Business model of casual games which is fascinating. I liked talking to him afterwards about thinks like Club Penguin and Evony.
One nice comment he made in answering a student question was that games need to be fun without all the graphics. This is clearly good thinking and shows that good game design is revealed at several levels.
Here are some of the examples he used in the lecture:
thebox for UTS, cute user content and auto twitter feed as well.
bejeweled from PopCap
Plus several games on Fizzy like Lightning Pool and Swords and Sandals