Casual gaming isn't bad for games right?!?

Why do some people think casual gaming is a bad thing for the market? I thought that was reserved for the Facebook so-called “games” instead - was I wrong?

edit - to be clear I saw Intruder’s response, but I’d be curious to hear from other people on the issue as he’s recently been labelled an idiot ;)

I suppose we have to take Monk’s word for it because none of us were inside when the Halo MMO was being developed. Even so, I have a hard time believing that MS’s supposed shift in focus to family friendly titles was the sole culprit for canceling the Halo MMO. I suspect MS saw how many had tried and failed to take on WoW and what a costly endeavor an MMO is to produce and keep going and just decided it wasn’t worth it.

Businesses make decisions on what they’re going to do with their money based in some part on what will have the biggest return. If casual games have a bigger than whatever the opposite is getting called this week, they’re going to start taking funds away from projects that I am likely to enjoy. Like, apparently, this Halo MMO monstrosity that I’m sure I’d be all broken up about if I knew anything about the Halo story outside of the fact that the entire universe is apparently a moon bounce and Hasbro is our planet’s largest manufacturer of deadly weapons in the future.

I don’t find the news surprising. Shitty regular games will get canceled and replaced by shitty casual games for as long as publishers fail to understand that the games are still shitty. Then one day Paris Hilton or Britney Spears or the Dali Lama will be spotted with new HyperProduct 27, Apple will suddenly lose its market share, the internet will go back to being for dweebs, and the casual gaming wave will break against the cold and indifferent shores of public interest and recede back into the seething pit of despair that is everything that “normal people” this is cool. I would fully expect that some casual game projects would bump some not-casual game projects out right now because they’re big, but I fully expect this trend to recede and get replaced with some other brand of hilarious bullshit, like hair sculptures or wide brimmed hats or competitive pinochle.

I, for one, welcome easier games. Fuck all that old-school uber punishing bullshit. If you like that stuff, you can always fire up that old copy of Battletoads or Ghosts & Goblins and have at it. If you’re into testing your skillz, then play multiplayer games and hit the top of the boards and brag all you want.

Woah, hey, enough with the gae-bashing there.

I suspect that the migration to “casual gaming” by publishers is their way of trying to escape the noose they’ve made for themselves. Current-gen gamers are, by and large, conditioned to accept nothing less than games with ridiculous AAAAA production values, which of course murders profit margins and, by extension, willingness to try new things. But change the label to “casual game” or “Live Arcade” or whatever, and you change the mindset with which gamers approach your product, ideally away from the Hollywood popcorn blockbuster mentality, and more toward the oldschool “I’m here for the gameplay, graphics are secondary” mentality. Behold the power of marketing psychology.

That’s my theory, anyway. Contents may have shifted.

Quick show of hands here - who’s for Halo MMO, who’s for New Super Mario Bros Wii?

Isn’t that the definition of a good casual game, though? Tetris is a casual game that is “easy to get in and hard to master.”

I think the problem with this discussion is that many are using “casual” as short-hand for “game I don’t like.”

This makes, what, the third MMO Microsoft has cancelled? Or is it the fourth?

MS just doesn’t want to do an MMO unless it’s a WOW-killer – and it is not willing to invest the resources required to make a WOW-killer. That’s the crux of it.

(Note that casual gamers can make exactly the same complaint about MS being indecisive and erratic in its decision making. See Viva Pinata.)

That’s easy: Nay! to both of them.

I am sure there are still companies that see merits in making non casual games.

I am pretty sure one of the most hardcore games of all time, MW2 sold pretty well right?

Fine with both if there is space for those 2.
If not Mario can burn in hell.

Wake me when they announce that the next Halo game is a reskinned version of Farmville.

And seriously, the moniker of “casual” is a complete misnomer. Despite the fact that I’ve referred to myself as a “hardcore casual” gamer for years, there’s nothing casual about games that people play obsessively for hours at a time.

It makes no sense to develop an MMO in this economy with the 4030202 lbs gorilla in the room, not only with their flagship MMO but another MMO in development. This isn’t about casual vs hardcore, it’s about burning piles of money on an almost guaranteed failure vs cancelling the project. MS made the right call.

Yeah, I think casual games are just a good excuse for Microsoft to cancel an MMO. The recent crash and burn (more or less) of the Warhammer MMO doesn’t help either.

The cancellation of a Halo MMO doesn’t seem like a great tragedy. I guess I can see how casual games (which are fairly cheap to make, and sell a lot) might be a threat to the mega budget console blockbusters like Halo and co., but I’m not really into those games anyways. Who can blame Microsoft for wistfully gazing over at the Wii and see games that look like they could have been made about 10 years ago, and yet the console is massively outselling theirs.

Many years later, as he faced the firing squad, Colonel Aureliano Buendia was to remember that distant afternoon when his father took him to discover FarmVille.

I had always thought Halo was a ‘casual game’. Pointing to the cancellation of “Halo MMO” and blaming it on casual games is kinda weird to me.

That said, I agree with some of intruder’s sentiment. I realize I’m a fairly hardcore gamer and a minority so it’s understandable, but I do hate to see the simplification of various games. It’s purely a selfish thing, I want games for me. ;)

Halo MMO: The game where nobody gets to be Master Chief.

Yeah, that would have sold.

I think it could have done fine. Enough people like the atmosphere and it could have been pre-Halo times when there were plenty of badass soldiers (like Halo Reach I believe)

I still think an MMO could come out and grow to be a competitor to WoW, I don’t think any of them will be even close at first. Polishing things up before release could go a long way though, because in an mmo that first impression is everything and the publishers don’t seem to get it.

Halo crossed with Planetside would be pretty sweet, with the added bonus that people would actually play it because it has “Halo” in the title.

Anyway, haven’t we had this argument ad nauseum since the Wii first showed up? Is there some new wrinkle here I’m missing or is it same-old same-old still?

PvZ definitely is a casual game. PopCap is a casual games company – we make casual games.

Good casual games can be enjoyed by everyone. Further, good casual games can bring traditional non-gamers into the gaming space. They can act as a gateway to more complicated games and genres, and they bring more money into game development as a whole.

Of course, the distinction of ‘casual’ is somewhat nebulous. WoW clearly doesn’t seem casual when you look at the hard-core raiding tier. But it does seem casual when I realize that my wife and I have introduced female and/or older friends and family into WoW, when those people did not play games before. I think that fits cleanly with some definitions of casual if it can appeal to and engage those people.