[casual_games] RE: Casual_Games Digest, Vol 17, Issue 5

Audry Taylor talshannon at hotmail.com
Thu Oct 12 02:07:02 EDT 2006

>In the casual game space it is very important to understand your
>customers. We have done extensive profiling and surveys of our
>customers, plus we go out there and talk to them. In general, our
>customers are not like the folks on this mailing list. Someone's 30+
>female b-school friends are not our primary demographic. Doesn't mean
>they couldn't be, just that they're not.

So long as they're not buying the games, there's no reason to see them as 
the primary demographic, right?  There may be a way to get them to part with 
their money the way your older demo does, but it may require a different 
model that hasn't been discovered yet.  When I talked about my own impulses 
as a 30 year-old woman, I tried to emphasize that it's hard to convince me 
to pay for something I can get for free.  I suspect this is the case with a 
lot of my peers. ^_^  Your research into demographics, however, is more 
thorough and precise than my own.

>Our audience is 76% women, 71% over the age of 40, 2/3 married. Only
>half have graduated from college, and 2/3 work part or full time. Only
>10% are stay-at-home moms (ie, these are not your classic suburban
>soccer moms). They are hard-core casual game players, for the most part
>- 77% have been playing casual games for 3+ years, and 57% play games
>daily, with 52% playing 5 hours a week or more. As has been widely
>reported, they play games to unwind and relieve stress.  Most gameplay
>happens at home, not work. Many of our users do not have credit cards.
>Average household income is lower than you might think.

I know individuals who fit this demo, so it doesn't surprise me at all.  It 
makes a lot of sense.

>We see the same low conversion rates that everyone else does on the PC
>(2% conversion rates are typical, which means 98% are not playing), and
>like many other players in the space are aggressively exploring
>advertising as a way to monetize the 99.8% of our players (including web
>game players) who don't buy our games at the moment. On the other hand,
>it is also true that free gameplay on the PC is a great way to build a
>brand, especially if your games are AAA quality, and top brands can be
>monetized in all sorts of other ways including alternate platforms,
>retail, etc.

The demographic most likely to buy at $19.99/60 min. has mostly been 
monetized, so the next challenge is to draw in those other demos less 
willing to part with their money, demos that might require a different 
model.  The challenge is finding the right model for each demo.

>We are participating in the wild coins project and are excited because
>we think it's a nice way to pick up some incremental revenue, but we
>don't think the model is going to completely replace all other schemes.

It will be interesting to see if that attracts a similar demographic or a 
different one.

>About the flood of casual game content currently out there --- yup. I
>wouldn't want to try to start a new casual game developer today.

Agreed.  I certainly wouldn't want to start a new development company which 
would compete directly with existing competition by creating similar games.  
It's time to find the niches that are being missed, rather than competing 
directly with the big boys for the demographic that's already been snatched 

>And it's probably going to become worse
>before it gets better.

That seems inenvitable.  A good comparison is the real estate market.  In 
CA, there are more houses being put on the market now than there were before 
the bubble popped.  Everyone's scrambling to sell their house before it's 
not "worth anything" anymore, but it's too late.  There's a glut on the 
market and the houses are already worth less than what they're listed for.  
Glut follows the masses, and the masses follow the money.

>On the other hand, I also agree that there are terrific opportunities in
>this space for innovation and exploration.

I suspect that most the opportunities are in innovation and exploration, 
rather than imitation or repetition.  :-)

>I agree with some other respondants, however, that the big portals will
>not be willing to adopt a unified pay-for-play token system across all

That would rather be like Wal-Mart and Target becoming best friends.

Audry Taylor
Creative Director
Go! Comi

Add fun gadgets and colorful themes to express yourself on Windows Live 

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