[casual_games] Defining Casual Games 2.0

Adeo Ressi adeo at gametrust.com
Sat Jan 7 15:32:28 EST 2006

I agree that we need a common industry definition of the games that we make
and publish to the world. We can probably all agree that the "CASUAL"
moniker is not perfect, but it has stuck with the media. I have attached the
definition of "casual" below, for reference.

In order to define casual games, we can not look to game style, genre, or
the nature of the game itself. If we did, then solitaire, chess, backgammon,
Collapse, and Bejeweled could never be grouped together under one "casual"
moniker. Instead, we need to look at the nature and behavior of the player
for which we make these "casual" games. Looking at the consumer, or player,
I go back to my definition...

First, every casual game is "easy to learn." It may also be difficult to
master, which is a whole separate subject. Casual games have no complicated
controls, long manuals, or advanced guild systems in casual games. Players
can generally learn a casual game by clicking around or watching a brief in
game tutorial. One may argue that RuneScape and Habbo Hotel are casual games
because they are easy to learn.

Next, every casual game has a "short duration of play." This does not mean
that the game ends quickly, per se, but it means that the consumer has a
rewarding game play experience in a 10 to 20 minute play session. If you
play Mercenaries for the Xbox, and your wife turns off the console after 10
minutes, you will have a bad experience. However, most casual games end in
5-10 minutes from our data, and those that continue onward allow you to save
or stop at progress checkpoints.

I have a lot more thoughts on this matter. I personally think that our
industry is ignoring major demographic markets. I think that we should be
making casual shooters and casual strategy games. There is a disaggregation
of mass media occurring coupled with an increasingly complex ruleset for
living that has lead to a fragmentation of attention. "Casual entertainment"
consumed on demand will dominate for the next 25 years, and we are on the
forefront of that revolution... 


--- Occurring by chance. See Synonyms at chance. 

--- Occurring at irregular or infrequent intervals; occasional: casual
employment at a factory; a casual correspondence with a former teacher. 
--- Unpremeditated; offhand: a casual remark. 

--- Being without ceremony or formality; relaxed: a casual evening with
--- Suited for everyday wear or use; informal. 
--- Not serious or thorough; superficial: a casual inspection. 

--- Showing little interest or concern; nonchalant: a casual disregard for
cold weather. 
--- Lenient; permissive: a casual attitude toward drugs. 
--- Not close or intimate; passing: a casual acquaintance with avant-garde

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