One often overlooked area of gaming is the host of games that millions of people play on their mobile devices every day. While they do not have the depth and lack the quality of the games that top the review pages of industry websites, they have a certain appeal that makes them some of the world’s most played games.
By looking at some of these games, it is possible to see the factors that mean millions of casual players download these games each year, and the revenue generated is far greater than many people would expect. With that in mind, here are some possible reasons why these games are so popular.
Free to download
Unlike many of the games we may be familiar with, these are free to play at the start. This typically appeals to the casual player, who wants to try out a game with little or no commitment other than their time. The games’ design focuses on making an impression in that initial period, so the game’s early levels are very easy to complete.
Once the casual player has invested some time, they will likely continue as the levels get more complex and buy add-ons to help them get through the more difficult challenges. This is where games make their revenue, which can far outstrip the shelf price of more familiar games.
The premise is simple
While many games appeal because of their in-depth story and well-crafted characters, the games that principally attract casual players are almost painfully simple in comparison. The basic premise of matching three or four symbols or managing a café, farm, or entire city is low impact and another factor to quickly engage the player.
Again this becomes more complex as time goes on, with more intricate problems or extended periods for actions such as constructing a temple or barracks being a feature of later levels. This will cause the casual player to leave the game until the timer has passed or purchase the means to have things happen more quickly.
Social media and cheat sites
While sites containing cheat codes are nothing new, games aimed at casual players also have a massive social media following. These are fuelled essentially by player-driven content with the webpages created by a range of means be it something coded at home, built using WordPress, or a web design agency for those with an online following.
This ‘fan’ input level extends the interest in the games for other players who might be stuck at a certain point and unable to proceed. Interaction like this also creates a sense of community that can lead to people playing the game for longer because of who else is playing it. Sending ‘gifts’ to other players is an integral part of the game and can act as a reminder to anyone who might not have played for a while.
While games for the casual player only have very few things in common with those with more immersive storylines and gameplay, there is no denying their mass appeal and their possible role in interesting players in more complex games.