The game should be relatively easy to learn and difficult to beat. This sacred commandment has accompanied game makers almost since the beginning of the industry. Games seem to have been more difficult, although difficult productions came back into fashion a few years ago. Based on my own observations and experiences, today I will try to mark the birth of Sunday games, the so-called casual games. This is a very broad and comprehensive topic, because the term can be applied to both games available on fixed consoles and mobile devices. We will focus on the first two.
Tripp Hawkins, a gaming industry legend and founder of Electronic Arts in 2010, said: “Casual gaming has been the biggest challenge for the entire industry since 1990– Was he right? In the world of gaming consoles, it all started with an unexpected move from Nintendo. The company that has been focusing on family-friendly gaming for generations introduces the Nintendo Wii (working name: Revolution). At the time, the Nintendo Wii was promoted as a device for everyone, literally.
Managers at Nintendo realized that there was no point in participating in another arms race. Neither the Nintendo 64 nor the GameCube were able to hold off the competition. The idea of equipment with low computing power, but using motion controllers for fun, turned out to be a slam dunk – for everyone. Thanks to Wii Sports included in the collection, people bought equipment en masse. Another advantage was the price. Not everyone will agree with me, but it was the Wii that got people who had no connection to the medium interested in gaming.
Casual or hardcore?
The Nintendo Wii had a domino effect. At the same time, the popularity of mobile games has increased. The industry has changed a lot. Casual gaming has also led to a significant increase in interest in consoles. For example, in our country, Xbox 360 has gained popularity like never before. Nintendo was still in place and we were probably the only country in the history of this console where the hardware was on store shelves. The rest of the world had gone crazy for the Wii. The growing popularity of Sunday games has also affected the high-budget nature of the games. The creators of the Call of Duty series shortened the campaign time with later releases, and the intensity of the relatively short shootouts continued. From my own observations, I see that casual gaming gained momentum in 2008.
Fitness games, music games, and all the simplistic simulators for running bars, restaurants, or whatever else started to dominate the market. The term “casual” itself appeared in the industry in 2000, as the book's author Jesper Juul points out. Casual revolution. This term was created to oppose hardcore gamers who remember the difficult and demanding gaming times. Honestly, it's very difficult today to beat many older products. Try to complete the classic Contra game with three lives or Castlevania. At that time, casual games had no right to exist. In 2008, up to 59% of British citizens were interested in gaming. Of course, the lion's share liked simple and undemanding productions. What was the situation like in Poland? Not much has changed for us regarding consoles. No one took the Wii seriously. However, the Xbox 360 received much greater acclaim than its predecessor. In the 2007/2008 season, we noticed a sudden influx of players. Did it have anything to do with the rise of casual games? Midway.
We are all gamers
Another industry legend, Satoru Iwata, admitted in 2011 that his company's intention was not to develop the Wii as a device for casual gamers. “Every experienced player also started somewhere, so in other words, advanced players are not born“- he explained. The Wii has become a form of encouragement for all people. Hence, it is believed that Wii Sports started casual gaming on this scale. Years ago, games were also produced for casual gamers, but they lacked the clout that the Wii offered. When Nintendo's success began to slow in 2011, Microsoft and Sony reached out. Both companies are developing the PS Move and Kinect, which was clearly intended to encourage gamers on Sunday to invest in the Xbox 360 and PS3. Motion controllers are said to have extended the life of seventh generation consoles.
Casual games have also emerged as a result of generational change. Older players had less time in their adult lives. Market trends have changed. Only in recent years has there been a return to hardcore gaming, and we are currently witnessing a major boom. The average completion of a new game takes several hours. However, as the statistics show, we can spend a lot of time playing well. In 2014, Nintendo announced that it was moving away from producing casual games. The Wii had already died a natural death, the Wii U had failed from the start, and gamers were craving serious, hardcore games. This doesn't mean that casual gaming is dead. It may not be as visible on consoles as it was in 2008, but it reigns supreme in the mobile and social media sector.
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