New Escapist issue dedicated to “casual games”

Here’s a link

Escapist Issue 89: About Last Night…

Check out these words from Julianne Greer’s editor’s note:

“So, if the purpose is to entertain, no matter the subject, why do games continuously get bigger and better and brighter and faster? Why are new features/graphics/hours and hours of gameplay added at questionable entertainment value? To push the limits. To utilize new technology. To challenge seasoned players. To please the hardcore.

“Developers are beginning to realize that this might be faulty logic. With more games being made every year, and each of those games, on average, costing more to make, pleasing first and foremost a rather small segment of the population that most people don’t have time to be a part of (no matter how much they might like to), is less than fiscally responsible.”

Uh huh. Especially when one compares how many smaller games could be developed for the price of one top-shelf graphically-intense game?

In Business Casual, Russ Pitts looks at the kinds of games favored by “the other 90%”

Shannon Drake also talks to PopCap games

Though this is off the topic of Casual Games, Richard Aihoshi has a really interesting feature on the future of MMOs – specifically examples of how they are being produced to target demographic niches, rather than to go after the current and usual and established MMO niche. For instance, Disney going after kids with Toontown Online, and teens with Pirates of the Caribbean Online. Even apart from the obvious marketing crossover from things like this, here are some interesting questions that come to mind for me:

How big is the market for online computer-savvy teenagers? Compared to the market of current MMO gamers? How much overlap is there in these demographics (or, more to the point maybe, how little overlap)?

Raph Koster mentioned big media (like Disney) making games, in industry experts at GDC who made predictions about the future of MMOs. But none of them really made the point about smaller and narrower and demographically targeted MMOs. Seems like a Very Important Point – cause of potential market fragmentation on the one hand, and potential market expansion on the other.

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