Tales of the Rampant Coyote

Adventures in Indie Gaming!

The Casual Games Gold Rush is Over

Posted by Rampant Coyote on June 3, 2010

No, they aren’t dead. Not even dying. But it seems that the casual game boom has finally come to an end.

Gamezebo: Where Have All the Good Games Gone?

My thoughts:

This is so very, very predictable to the point of being boring. It is a textbook example of the industry life cycle (which closely follows a product life cycle). You have introduction – the slow burn. Growth – when things really start taking off (that was about six years ago). Maturity – the top of the curve, when growth tops out and everybody jockeys for position now that the gold rush is over. Price wars ensue. And then decline. (Some charts do show the decline reaching a point of sustainability, but many do not – apparently business-type people  don’t want to bother with those, because it’s boring. Or maybe they figure it’s just part of the “Mature” stage until it really starts dropping to zero).

So what we’re seeing here is that we’re probably getting past the center on the maturity stage. The major parties involved are coming to the realization that the growth they enjoyed 3+ years ago was unsustainable, and it’s now collapsing. Consolidation is happening, participants are dropping out, and the channel is clogged with crap. The price wars have taken their toll. This shake-out had to happen.

So I guess those who are still making RPGs, adventure games, flight simulators, and 2D platformers can say, “Welcome to the party, pals!”

I don’t forsee it ever returning to the levels of the Glory Days of a few years ago, though. Just not happening. That ship has sailed. A lot more air has to be let out of the balloon before it reaches sustainable levels. Nothing will check the decline until that happens. The whole sub-industry will morph and change and merge with others a bit, and a lot of participants will do pretty well with it for a long time to come. But the gold rush is over.

Darn, there goes my plans to introduce “Frayed Knights Hidden Object Search.”

Filed Under: Casual Games - Comments: 6 Comments to Read

  • BrianH said,

    Ahhh… but I was looking forward to “Frayed Knights Supper Puzzle Fight Edition”


  • Xenovore said,

    My $0.02:

    Part of the issue with the casual games market is the sheer glut of clones, i.e. the market (read: gamers) can only handle so many Tower Defense games, or Puzzle Gem Drop Quest games, or Peggle Super Edition LXVII. There are very few that are creative and unique enough to stand above the crowd any more.

    Also, as the market becomes saturated, it becomes harder to separate the crap from the gold; due to that and the fact that most are already playing the game(s) they like, many probably just stop purchasing new games altogether.

    For casual games to be viable now, they must be either vastly superior in quality (and uniqueness) to the rest of the pack, or in a newer market, like iPad or Facebook.

  • Greg Squire said,

    So following the GoldRush logic, when does “Frayed Knights” iPad and FaceBook editions come out? ;D

  • Rampant Coyote said,

    Probably nine months after those markets become barren wastelands most developers would rather forget…

    I’m planning them right after I finish the Commodore 64 and Apple II ports.

  • Greg Tedder said,

    Did somebody say Frayed Knights Apple port! Say that 5 times fast. 🙂

  • Ruber Eaglenest said,

    This is something I began noting about one year ago. Simply, the causal market is oversaturate with the usual crap (Jayisgames is no longer cool), and the flash games have reached their top power for making money, that is, they are producing repetitive crap (I’ve no returned to Kongregate for months, there’s nothing new there, sorry). The main problem is every indie dev wants to make money, and for this, they follow that crappy kind of list of “how to monetize your flash game producing crap”, etc. So now we are overweight with casual crap, and flash crap.

    But, this is just the same problem of the AAA industry, let`s cast an eye to the main more exciting releases of this year: god of war 3, warfare 7, Mario n-esimal iteration, Castlevania XXXXX, drivealotfaster 54, HALOagain, Killplace 88, and finally “place your franchise name here” 4.

    Thanks god we still have good old indie games that have no succumbed to that “how to crap your game” vice. Resuming, main industry, casual market, and flash games are no longer interesting. Indie devs, I love you.