The Next Casual Game Genre

Posted by Conor Murphy on March 4, 2010 in Game Development -- Share:

Casual Game Genres
Recently, I’ve been thinking about the game genres we offer and wondering how they might evolve in the future.

Given the fact that the consumer is always evolving it only makes sense that their tastes in games should also evolve. Regardless of whether this takes place online or offline, day-to-day experiences broaden horizons and open eyes to new possibilities. This continuous expansion of thought leads to a need for newer and better experiences that can be served in at least two ways.

First, by improving game development via better stories, better characters, better artwork, or better gameplay mechanics, we can satisfy the consumer’s need for continuous improvement and higher quality products. Consider the Mystery Case Files game brand. If you look at each release, you can see the quality of the games always improving. The art is always getting better, the storyline is always more complex, the production quality is ever improving. Big Fish Games Studios is always raising the bar to meet the wants and needs of the consumer.

Second, by expanding our offerings through genre expansion, we can offer an entirely new style of gameplay that opens the door for developers and consumers to explore something new with no expectations. By starting at ground zero, both parties can work together to define the genre and guide it as it grows and expands.

This begs the question – what will be the next genre to emerge as a contender for the limited time game developers have? The need to focus on making games people will be excited about is clear so it is important that game genres get consumers excited.

We currently feature the following 14 distinct game genres:

For anyone who has been with us for more than a year, you might remember Platformer as a former game genre. We now think of this as more of a game theme along with several other themes including Mystery games, Baking games, Pirate games, and Tycoon games.

So, what does it take to be a game genre vs. a game theme? Really, it boils down to the style of game play. If you consider most of our current game genres, you will recognize each as having it’s own style of game play with very little crossover. In Match 3 games, you play one way that is entirely different from the way in which you play a Hidden Object game. Mystery games, on the other hand, does not define a style of game play. A Mystery game could be a Hidden Object game, an Adventure game, or even a Puzzle game. Hence, it is more of a theme than a genre.

Over the course of the next four weeks I will be looking into two game genres that might fit well in the casual gaming world: Stealth Games and Trivia Games.

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Conor is a Marketing Manager with Big Fish, working out of the Seattle office. In his spare time he enjoys watching science documentaries and playing old school adventure games. Get in touch with him on Twitter! or Google+