Tales of the Rampant Coyote

Adventures in Indie Gaming!

Casual Games: After the Gold Rush

Posted by Rampant Coyote on June 29, 2010

As an indie who came on the scene just before casual games pretty much took over and convinced many in the industry that “indie” meant “casual” (now it seems to mean, “pretentious experimental web games”), I must confess a tiny bit of schadenfreude at seeing the air rushing out of the casual gaming balloon. But it really was inevitable. Everybody saw it coming. The growth in that area was unsustainable. The big jockeying-for-position that you saw among the portals over the last several years wasn’t just cashing in on the boom – it was to position themselves for safety when the time came to hunker down and survive the bust.

And now I can pat myself on the back for resisting  the temptation to rush in and join it. Though – um – I’ve been at this long enough I probably could have made and released three or four games in that time and cashed in. Except, I wouldn’t have anyway, as I doubt I could have made it into the top 10% that made ALL the money. And… man, I just suck. Nevermind.

But in spite of social games apparently eating casual games’ lunch, I don’t think casual gaming is done. Not at all. It’s just that the boom has… boomed. The gold rush is over. The faddish side of it has faded. Now they get to work on a sustainable future.

The top casual games will probably STILL make tons more than all of the hard-core indie RPGs combined.

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

  • Spaceman Spiff said,

    You’re not truly in this for just the money though.

  • Rampant Coyote said,

    You are right. If I was, I’d… be doing something else entirely. Right now I’ll consider it a victory if I don’t end up having paid for the privilege of making the games.

    I think a lot of people did go into casual games for the money, though. That’s why it became so choked with clones.

  • slenkar said,

    I wouldnt know how to make a casual game because I dont understand what makes a good casual game….because I dont enjoy them.

  • Bad Sector said,

    Exactly what slenkar said. And to extend it, i wouldn’t know how to make a good non-FPS game because i don’t understand what makes a good non-FPS game, since what i enjoy the most is FPS games.

    I also like other kind of games (like RPGs which i started liking more recently, mostly thanks to this site :-P) but i don’t know or play them as much as FPS games.

    Too bad it is also a hard genre to aim for đŸ˜›

  • Rampant Coyote said,

    I enjoy casual games. Well, okay, I enjoy good casual games. My problem is that after a while they all look alike. Once the price war hit full force, they became as risk-averse as the mainstream business.

  • Brian 'Psychochild' Green said,

    I feel your pain, friend. I think one problem I have is that I can look a bit too far into the future. It’s obvious to someone studying the history of the industry that things like casual games, and now social network games, aren’t going to last. You won’t be able to throw together a “farm” type game and get a few million players on Facebook forever.

    One link I like to point out as far as “casual” games go is about Brian Hook’s Pyrogon Postmortem. Even back when this was posted in 2004, it was obvious that the gold rush was over.

    But, as you point out, that doesn’t mean that there is no money to be made by striking anyway. As you said, how much money could you have made if you had done a few casual games? How much money could I have made if I had made a few dinky little Facebook games?

    Ah, well.