Discussing the Failures of the Casual Game Market

This week on a very special podcast, I sat down with The Binary Family’s owner Thorsten Rauser who had a lot to say about the casual game market a few weeks ago to further discuss the problems and why many people feel that it is heading towards a crash.

casual game market

We started off talking about Thorsten’s background in the Game Industry and what type of games The Binary Family makes. We discussed how despite the negative views of casual games today that the games that started the Game Industry were very casual in their design and appeal. But we quickly moved into talking about where today’s social and casual game market is failing and why.

First, looking at the state of the casual market and what’s popular right now and how the market is limited to three chief game design principles including slot machines. This has lead to a situation where the most popular games are the most derivative and have the backing of advertisements and the IOS Store which prevents smaller and more creative games from getting noticed.

With the slot machines, Thorsten talked about how gaming monetization trends have found their way into the casual market and why they are so popular among developers as a way of attracting the gambling mindset, without having to pay out like in a casino.

I also asked Thorsten about the pricing challenges of putting a game on the mobile market and trying to find the right balance between price and value and how this is a trouble spot for many developers.

Thorsten was very blunt in his thoughts on the market and how he definitely sees the current trends of the casual games market as kind of a scam that will be ending at some point.

We also talked about examples of great casual games like Big Fish and Popcap (pre EA) and how they were able to achieve a niche of making great casual games that also had hardcore appeal. And speaking about casual and hardcore appeal, I asked Thorsten about his thoughts on just what kind of consumers are casual games aimed at. For the final question, I asked Thorsten if there is anything in his opinion that could save the market or steer things away from a bust.

Unfortunately Thorsten was very busy and our time difference also made getting the cast done tricky, but despite the shorten cast, this is definitely one that developers need to listen to.