Casual Games SIG/Whitepaper
International Game Developers Association
The purpose of the Casual Games White Paper is to serve the game development community worldwide by offering an independent and balanced resource for information, research and analysis of this emerging market force.
Audience and Scope
This white paper is specifically focused on providing valuable, hard-to-come-by information for people interested in the casual games sector. Intended for both experts and newbies alike, the Casual Games White Paper represents one of the most comprehensive sources on all things related to this burgeoning industry. The White Paper looks at the casual games industry from a number of perspectives and includes the following sections:
- A Market Overview: A snapshot of the current state of the casual games industry.
- Business Models Overview: A guide to the different kinds of business models and deal structures that support this growing industry.
- Production & Design: A comprehensive guide to best practices in the design and production of games for this space.
- Technology: Provides valuable coverage of the latest technologies available for your casual games business.
It should be noted that casual games represent so much more than just downloadable or online games. Casual games are everywhere -- encompassing more than just downloads. The contributors to the 2006 White Paper acknowledge that while large portions of this paper focus on the Internet and downloadable games, it is the intention that subsequent versions of Casual Games White Papers take into greater consideration the space that casual games occupy on these varion platforms, such as the XBoxLiveArcade or for mobile phones.
We use a common definition set for this white paper that closely, if not identically, mirrors industry definitions:
- Advergame: A web or downloadable game where the primary objective of building it is to deliver advertising messages, drive traffic to web sites, and build brand awareness.
- Casual Games: Games that generally involve less complicated game controls and overall complexity in terms of gameplay or investment required to get through game.
- Downloadable game: A â€œsmall fileâ€ game, typically less than 25MB, that is downloaded from a web site or peer-to-peer network and installed on a userâ€™s computer, where it runs as a standalone executable with or without Internet access. The current business model dictates that these games often have a trial mode, with the option to purchase the full version for unlimited play. Examples of downloadable games can be found on almost every online gaming site or games channel on the major portals. This category does not include demos of video games or PC traditional large-format game titles that are primarily sold through retailers. This category does include titles that are primarily available for download, even if the game is additionally distributed on CD-ROM.
- Hardcore, Core (Traditional) Games: Games developed for and delivered on a dedicated game console (set-top or handheld) as well as CD-ROM or DVD that generally involve more complicated game controls and overall complexity in terms of gameplay or investment required to get through game.
- Skill game: A web game played in a tournament format, in which an entry fee is paid to compete and money or prizes are awarded to the most skilled player or players. Elements of luck have either been eliminated or greatly reduced in the game.
- Web game: A game launched via a web page with no prior installation of software required. This category does not include games that are downloaded to the userâ€™s hard-drive and run outside of the web-browser, but it does include games launched from a web page that might require/installation of a general or custom ActiveX control. Common examples of this are the Flashâ„¢, Shockwaveâ„¢ and Javaâ„¢ games found on thousands of websites, as well as C++ games delivered via a custom ActiveX control.
We have decided to utilize this Wiki as it provides easy access for the entire community to contribute to and update this iteration of the paper. Please feel free to help out by updating any section in which you feel comfortable contributing to! Also be sure to take a look at the Contributor Information below.
This work was created and written by volunteers on behalf of the community at large. The white paper content is based on the individual input of the contributors, and does not necessarily reflect the opinions or policies of the companies at which the individuals work. There may be inaccuracies and information that has become outdated since this white paper was originally written. The information was obtained from publicly available sources, including company websites, company annual reports, SEC filings, news sites dedicated to games and analyst reports (with express permission).
This information is intended strictly for informational purposes. If you include it in a business plan or any business process, you are responsible for its use and any successes or failures resulting from this report.
If your company bio is incorrect, or if you feel weâ€™ve missed something, we apologize! All content for the paper continues to live on the IGDA wiki, and we encourage you to correct the information there.
Reproduction of this document in whole or part may be done without written approval but must reference this document as a source and display one of the following URLs as the location to obtain the full report: http://www.igda.org/casual or http://www.igda.org/wiki/index.php/Casual_Games_SIG/Whitepaper. Thank you!
Production and Design
If you are interested in contributing to this project, please look over the following important information!
2006 Casual Games White Paper Schedule
List of 2006 Casual Games White Paper Contributors
On July 1st, 2006 the print version of the white paper was released on the Casual Games SIG website. No further updates will be made to the print version except under extreme circumstances. However, we still strongly encourage the community to keep this wiki version updated as a living document with more up to date information than a print version can ever contain.