Die Casual Games Association versorgt die Casual Games Industrie mit Informationen und Konferenzen. Und die hat nun Social Casino Gaming als großen Wachstumsmarkt ausgemacht und ihr eine eigene Broschüre gewidmet
Ein Vater spielt mit seiner Tochter „Zelda – The Wind Waker“ und schreibt die Geschichte um. Damit sie sich besser in die Heldenrolle versetzen kann verändert er das Spiel und macht aus dem männlichen Helden Link eine Heldin.
Meine Diplomarbeit ging unter Anderem ebenfalls über das Thema. Insbesondere um das unterschiedliche Selbstbild von Vielspielern und inwieweit sie sich dann als Gamer bezeichnen oder nicht und ob sich das auf die Spiele auswirkt, die sie spielen wollen. Viele weibliche Computerspielerinnen haben ein Problem sich als Gamer zu bezeichnen oder Computerspielen als Hobby zu sehen, unter Anderem aufgrund der männlichen Konnotation des Begriffs. Dabei gibt es schon seit zehn Jahren einen ganzen Industriezweig der sich primär auf weibliche Spielerinnen, insbesondere ab 40 konzentriert.
Bei Interesse kann die Diplomarbeit bei mir angefordert werden.
I completed my diploma thesis and are waiting for my result. Right now I am preparing for my final exams. I will have completed my studies in March 2009. I will prepare a summary of my findings then.
In short: There were huge differences in demography and play style between the Hardcore Game Player and Casual Game Player audiences. There is not just ONE computer games culture. Gamers associate different functions and meanings with gaming. Generally restrictions (like income, time, experience with input devices and games) are less relevant when choosing which games to play than preferences (like attitude towards violence in games).
Edit: I was awarded the mark „very good“ on the thesis.
End of last year I conducted a survey on a casual games website (the German part of Zylom.com) and two Hardcore Games websites (Gamestar.de, Ingame.de).
In this blog I call the players from the casual games website casual gamers and the gamers from the hardcore games websites hardcore gamers.
I was very busy selling my own casual games company since the survey was online. Therefore I was only able to take a very brief look in a not statistically significant part of the data yet.
But this brief look already changed my view on the „most Casual Gamer will slowly become Hardcore Gamer“ topic.
The typical argumentation line is the following:
Casual games are way easier to pick up than hardcore games and are therefore the natural starting point for most non gamers.
Through playing casual games these gamers will over time become more experienced with computer games (becoming computer game literate) and will then slowly migrate to the more sophisticated hardcore games.
But my data does not support this as the Casual Gamers are already playing since 16 years while the HC Gamers only play since 10.
Therefore if you only look at the years of experience with computer games, the Casual Games are ahead.
This speaks against a general trend of casual gamers migrating to become hardcore gamers the longer they play.
In my survey the hardcore gamers have an average age of roughly 20, while the average age of the casual gamers is a bit below 40.
Youngsters are considered to have much more time to play games than older people.
And you generally need more time to play hardcore games than casual games. So how about hardcore gamers becoming casual gamers when they get older?
I did not ask about it, so this one is pretty much open for speculation. But what do you think judging your friends and family?
To sum it up I don’t think the years of experience are very important, but the age someone did play computer for the first time.
I think older persons are not as playful with new things like computers as kids are and therefore more easily frustrated and turning to the simple to learn casual games.
I my survey the hardcore gamers started playing with 10, the casual gamers with 20.
I conducted a qualitative online survey about computer playing habits for my diploma thesis in sociology. Several thousand gamers answered the survey on de.zylom.com, www.gamestar.de, www.ingame.de and couple of smaller sites.
I thank all the participating sites. But I especially want to thank all the people who took the time to answer the survey, 794 hours in sum to be exact. January I will be in India, first for business and then for some traveling. February 6-8th I will be in Amsterdam for the Casual Connect (my third time). Contact me if you want to chat there: firstname.lastname@example.org. The diploma thesis will be completed 1st of August 2008. I will keep you posted about what I find out.
The Casual Games Association has released their Casual Games Market Report 2007 . Would be interesting to get my hands on it as an article on it says that men play casual games as often as women which is different to the common believe that most casual gamers are women. Seems the men don’t like to admit they play these „little“ games.
I wonder how they got their data. Most classical casual games websites told me the huge majority of their visitors would be women. So where do the men sneak in?
One possible solution could be that men are more likely to play on www.newgrounds.com etc.. Most Games there can also be called „casual“ if you mean easy to pick up. But on the other hand many of the games on newgrounds have some gore which is something which does not fit other definitions of casual games. For example you won’t find any gore on pogo.com etc. Could turn of the women…
I was mentioned in an article on by technology review:
This was the question the author Erica Naone asked me:
„Do you think casual gamers will respond to these efforts to encourage them to form casual gaming communities? Considering the suggestion that they may be attracted to casual games because of less familiarity with computers, do you think they are likely to respond to offers to participate by creating user-generated content?“
This was my answer:
Generally your question is a tricky one. Especially because the term casual is used in so many different ways. I will first focus on „casual gamers“ as .
It takes time and effort and some kind of skill with computers to take part in an online community or generate content. This speaks against „casual“ online communities if you use the term casual as „not very interested“ or „not very involved“ or mean users who are not experienced with computers.
For making it interesting to take part in a community the level of freedom what you can do and how you can participate is an important part. On the other hand one characteristic casual games normally feature is that they are non-offensive. The designers try not to turn someone off with violence or sexist protagonists…
If you are pretty free what to generate in an community you can also generate offensive material. You can swear, or upload a picture which is explicit and so on. Therefore a community which would be targeted at older or more female audience would need tight controls to prevent the creation of unwanted material.
These tight controls would on the one hand be hard to implement and on the other hand limit the freedom of the possible content generators. (There are some community games for very young players under 10) which only let you communicate with other players using predefined text modules. This is one way to prevent paedophiles to try to contact the minors. But I don’t think it is not much fun to use these text modules).
On the other hand to at least being theoretically able to create user content as well as „feeling“ to be part of a lively social community is a strong incentive for many users. Especially users who have a negative feeling towards computers or technical devices.
One main goal of the casual game developers is to tell the non-typical potential computer players (especially women or seniors) that gaming is also something for them. That message is hard to spread if the women and Seniors who are already playing are mostly playing alone and at home. Community players are more visible. This makes a community especially interesting for casual game designers.
As only few of the potential casual gamers are actually playing till now and therefore there is a huge untapped potential, I am sure many companies will try to create casual community games in the near future.
Then there is the different way to use the term „casual“ as meaning „simple game“. I think www.newgrounds.com is the biggest casual game community and features lots of user generated content. But www.newgrounds.com does not fit the to the pogo.com, zylom.com or bigfishgames.com audience at all. The games are simple and quick to play but many of them can be considered offensive. You can take part by uploading your own flash games or films or your music. Or you can comment on the stuff uploaded by others.
While the flash games are pretty simple to make there is a great incentive for many non professional designers to create something and show it to the public.
The community is very free and you are very power full as a creator as well as a user. Therefore newgrounds is one of the best places to find creative people playing around and from time to time having great and innovative ideas.
The community itself is associated with www.newgrounds.com and not with specific games. So it is not a casual game community but more a casual gameS community.
To sum it up:
- Everything depends how you use the term casual.
- A casual (as seniors and women) game community must be very simple to use and non offensive.
- A casual (meaning simple game) game community can also work if it is much more open and therefore give the users a real chance to create interesting content for the other users.
- Out of thousands of players of a particular casual game (also as seniors and women) you will always find some who will want to invest a lot and be able to do so in a pretty professional way (ask Ion Hardie from Reflexive for their response to Big Kahuna Reef).
Good to see that Jesper Juul is taking on the casual games. He gave several speeches about the topic in the last days (The Sun Always Shines in Casual Games, How They Got Game).
There are some problems connected with the use of the term „casual“ in computer games.
There are these games which we are calling „Casual Games“ with properties like „small games, easily learned, and usually distributed over the internet“ and so on (Zuma, Beeweled and Diner Dash being examples).
But then there is also the way how you play. You can play any game in a casual manner. You can play a quick „casual“ Quake session. And you can try for hours „hardcore style“ to compete with a high score in Bejeweled.
On the Gamers in Society Seminar in Tampere last week Jussi Kuittinen, Annakaisa Kultima, Johannes Niemelä and Janne Paavilainen from the Game Research Lab presented a paper proposing a stricter use of the term Casual-in-Games. Probably Juul and the Gamelab should exchange ideas (and keep me in the loop ;). Their paper is not published yet. If Copenhagen an Tampere would come up with a casual games terminology together it would not only be industry interests forging the „casual“ terms.
Juul is using the term Gaming Literacy – sounds nice. I thought about Game Capital (like Social or Human Capital) which represents investment into learning how to play games.
(Thanks to Daniel Pergman to giving me the „Juul is casual“ hint)