Jason Pook's Games Design Blog

Casual Games (4/11/13)


In this session we was introduced to a new module of “Casual Games”, we had a quick PowerPoint presentation on Casual Games as a brief overview as this was our topic that we had to research and find information for ourselves.

So what defines a game as casual? A casual game is a game which is easy to learn, easy to play, may have a social aspect (Tetris scoreboard), minimal rules (Tetris make a line with the shapes), easy controls (arrow keys to rotate Tetris shapes), fast opening (small file size so no massive load), easy to access (open using file or free online game). So what are we tasked with, I have to research casual games and where they are from, produce a minimum of 500words outlining the research in a document, create a list defining characteristics of casual games, add visuals where appropriate and Harvard reference it all.

Now all I have to do is follow that. The beginning of my research started at a website which is the casual games association.

What is the Casual Games Association?

The  Casual Games Association is an international organization for gaming executives, publishers and  developers. Dedicated to promoting casual games for general consumers  and providing educational resources for game development, the  association hosts annual conferences in Seattle, Kyiv, Hamburg, and Singapore,  publishes a magazine three times a year, and issues research reports on  the industry. The association was founded in 2005 by members of the  casual games industry.

. To continue my research I decided to list myself some questions to find research on to answer these questions:

What are casual games? #1s25302_pc_2

Developed  for the general public and families, casual games are video games that  are fun and easy to learn and play. The games are platform agnostic,  meaning they can be played via the Internet, Facebook, PC, and Macintosh  computers, Xbox, PlayStation, Nintendo DS, Wii and even mobile phones, iPhone and PDA. They’re nonviolent, arcade-style games that involve puzzles,  words, board and card games, game show and trivia. Popular games are  Mah-jong, Tetris, Solitaire, Bejeweled,  Mystery Case Files,  and Farmville.

What is the size of the casual games industry?

More  than 200 million people worldwide play casual games via the Internet.  In 2010, the world wide connected casual games industry had revenues  of nearly $6.00 billion on mobile, iPhone, social networks, PC, Mac and Xbox LIVE Arcade  platforms.

Who plays Casual Games?

Casual  games appeal to people of all ages, gender and nationalities. It’s  estimated that there are more than 200 million players via the  Internet. A majority of those who purchase casual games, however, are  over 30 and female. In addition, casual games are usually played for a  short period of time, from five minutes to 20 minutes though it’s  common for people to play game after game for hours.

What’s the difference between casual games and enthusiast (core) games?

Think  of Atari and games such as Pacman, Space Invaders, Frogger and Donkey  Kong. Casual games have maintained the fun, simplicity, boundless  creativity that characterizes arcade-style games. On the other hand,  enthusiast games also termed core games, such as Grand Theft Auto, Doom  and Mortal Kombat, have been developed using high-end technology that  appeals more to younger audiences.

How many casual game titles are there?

Over  400 casual games are developed and launched on major web portals, thousands of iPhone and thousands of social games are launched every year. Typically, the Top 20 games each year generate the majority of  the revenue.

 How much does it cost to develop a casual game?

Budgets  for casual games downloaded on the internet typically range from  100,000 – 500,000 USD.
Budgets for casual games on social networks, such as Facebook, typically range from 50,000 – 400,000 USD.
Casual games can be updated to include other  distribution platforms. According to the CGA’s 2007 Market Report  updating an online casual game for: iPod, mobile & PDA versions  cost 20,000 USD, hotel room versions cost 10,000 USD, XBLA versions  cost 230,000 USD and handheld versions cost 300,000 USD.

Who are the largest publishers (creators) of casual games?

Casual  game industry publishers typically provide funding, development  guidance and distribution for casual games for online, retail and  mobile platforms. Some   casual game publishers are:


Social Networks (Facebook, MySpace, Hi5)

Mobile & iPhone  & Android

Who are the largest distributors and retailers of casual games?

Casual  game industry online, retail and mobile distributors typically provide  aggregation services for retail distributors. Some online distributors  provide tools and services for online retailers to assist them in  interfacing with consumers. Some of the largest casual game distributors and retailers of casual games are:

 Online Retailers & Portals

Brick and Mortar Distributors

Online  Distributors

What’s the history on casual games?

The history is debateable, Pac Man is considered the first ever casual game in 1980 with its fun factor and ease of use. But is it the first ever casual game is the real question to be asked as board games have been round for centuries and most board games fit the title of a casual game, also solitaire is considered a casual game on the computer but solitaire is originated from the game patience which was first printed in 1870 a huge 110years before pacman. Also you can class general play as a casual game so there can be no date labelled to that e.g. being a kid and using sticks to shoot your friends pretending its a gun. Really its what can be defined as a casual game that is the question to be asked as people may consider only digital games to be casual whereas other will suggests any form of imagined game like tig/tag in the park is a casual game.

#1mobile_game_developerIs their genre’s to casual games?

Most certainly, and here is just a few of them genres of casual games with a few examples:

  1. Puzzle Game- Bejewelled, Professor Layton, Candy Crush Saga.
  2. Hidden Object game- Mystery Case Files.
  3. Adventure game- Dream Chronicles.
  4. Strategy game- Diner Dash, Cake Mania.
  5. Arcade/ Action game- Plants vs. Zombies, Bloons Tower Defence, Angry Birds.
  6. Word/ Trivia game- Bookworm, Scrabble.
  7. Card/Board/Mah-Jong game- Lunar Mah-Jong, Solitaire, Uno.

Who is classed as a casual gamer?

A Casual Gamer is a gamer who struggles to have a chance to play a game or even doesn’t particularly have an interest in gaming but plays occasionally. Casual Gamers tend to favour playing games which where designed for ease of gameplay and don’t need much time to play them e.g. Tetris. The genres that casual gamers play can vary, and they might not even own a games console to play their games in which time they use phones or other such devices or card/board games and even made up party games. Basically the opposite to a hard-core gamer who spend multiple hours on a game per day/week as their time is allowing them to do this so they can play games with much more attention needed.

So this is my research on casual gaming underway I will be adding to this as I progress in the subject and come across new things in my research. In this module I will be creating my own casual game in flash (flash blog).

Websites used:,, and


Author: Jason Pook 3D

Current student at Hull School of Art and Design studying Games Design.

3 thoughts on “Casual Games (4/11/13)

  1. Pingback: Casual Games – Ideas & Research (10/11/13) | Emerald Sword Gaming

  2. Pingback: Casual Games- Proposal (11/11/13) | PHASEgaming

  3. Pingback: Casual Game Proposal 2 | PHASEgaming

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