Talking Casual


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Presentation at Nordic Game 2007, Malmö about casual games discussion, many meanings of "casual" and Expanded Game Experience (EGE).

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Talking Casual

  1. 1. Annakaisa Kultima TALKING CASUAL
  2. 2. <ul><li>GameSpace (1.8.2006-31.8.2008) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Funded by </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Finnish Funding Agency for Technology and Innovation, Nokia, Sonera, Veikkaus (Finnish National Lottery), Digital Chocolate / Sumea and Sulake </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Study of design and evaluation methods of casual multiplayer mobile games </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>How to design them? </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>approaches from ideating methods, concept phase, prototyping </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>How to evaluate them? </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>e.g. heuristics, check lists </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Understanding of the main concepts </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>“ Casual” seems to be the most vague and challenging </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Frans Mäyrä (Scientific Leader), Janne Paavilainen (Project Manager), Annakaisa Kultima (Researcher), Jussi Kuittinen (Researcher) and Johannes Niemelä (Researcher) </li></ul>Background 1 Annakaisa Kultima,, Nordic Game 2007, Malmö
  3. 3. <ul><li>Casual games are getting big </li></ul><ul><ul><li>2$ billion dollar market in 2008 in U.S (est.) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Casual games are reaching the masses </li></ul><ul><ul><li>reaching almost all demographic sectors </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Currently the average conversion rate hovers around 1 to 2% </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Even the increase of one percentage unit would affect significantly to the market value. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>No previous academic research </li></ul><ul><ul><li>What is the phenomenon about? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Study of the current discussion of casual games to map out the phenomenon </li></ul></ul></ul>Why casual games? How? 1.1 Annakaisa Kultima,, Nordic Game 2007, Malmö
  4. 4. <ul><li>Upcoming article: Kuittinen, Kultima, Niemelä & Paavilainen “Casual Games Discussion” </li></ul><ul><li>Study of different meanings of casual </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Sources </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Professional publications (IGDA White Paper, Minna Magazine), reported surveys, news, blogs, comments and discussions, news groups etc. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Voice of </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>game professionals, game journalists, gamers etc. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Experience of </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Over 60 different casual games and closely related games </li></ul></ul></ul>Casual games discussion 2 Annakaisa Kultima,, Nordic Game 2007, Malmö
  5. 5. Casual games discussion: the GAME is… 2.1 Annakaisa Kultima,, Nordic Game 2007, Malmö easy to learn simple controls fast rewards non-violent no multitask puzzle and card games downloadable “ Games for all!” affordable Forgiving to player error experimental online preinstalled difficult to master
  6. 6. Zuma Mystery Case Files Diner Dash Bejeweled Boggle Bookworm Cake Mania Virtual Villagers Super Collapse
  7. 7. Solitaire Minesweeper Tetris Tic Tac Toe Snake Mahjong
  8. 8. Casual games discussion: players… 2.2 Annakaisa Kultima,, Nordic Game 2007, Malmö New demographics Lapsed gamers Women 30+ Widest possible target audience They don’t regard themselves as gamers True gamer vs. casual gamer Casual gamer vs. hardcore gamer Anybody They don’t care Gardening, traveling, pets etc. They don’t have time No advanced gaming skills
  9. 9. Casual games discussion: playing… 2.3 Annakaisa Kultima,, Nordic Game 2007, Malmö Stress relief Relaxation Distraction from pain Anytime, anywhere Short time bursts On the breaks Night time Low key, “just clicking” At work Mental exercise Intensively Longer hours Educational benefits for kids
  10. 10. <ul><li>Diner Dash, Zuma, Bejeweled… </li></ul><ul><li>Solitaire, Minesweeper, Snake… </li></ul><ul><li>Flash-games, online games, small games, downloadable games, one-button games… </li></ul><ul><li>World of Warcraft? </li></ul><ul><li>Any game? </li></ul>Casual games revisited: what game IS casual? 2.4 Annakaisa Kultima,, Nordic Game 2007, Malmö
  11. 11. Zuma Mystery Case Files Diner Dash Bejeweled Boggle Bookworm Cake Mania Virtual Villagers Super Collapse
  12. 12. Solitaire Minesweeper Tetris Tic Tac Toe Snake Mahjong
  13. 13. World of Warcraft
  14. 14. Football Manager 2007
  15. 15. <ul><li>Casual IN games </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The phenomenon in its plurality, the discussion </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Casual games </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Ostensive meaning (those games there) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Casual game player </li></ul><ul><ul><li>One that plays games that are called casual </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Casual gamer </li></ul><ul><ul><li>About player attitudes, investments, skills etc. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Casual gaming </li></ul><ul><ul><li>“ Low level” game culture, instrumental values for games </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Casual playing </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Casual play styles and habits (gameplay) </li></ul></ul>Different meanings of “casual” 2.5 Annakaisa Kultima,, Nordic Game 2007, Malmö
  16. 16. <ul><li>Casual games surveys (PopCap Games, Macrovision and RealNetworks) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Player demographics, motives, habits, time consumption, other interests… </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Some results paradoxical? Are casual gamers the new hardcore? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>No distinction over the ones who play casual games and the ones who play casually (casual game players vs. casual gamers) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Surveys most likely reached only the hardcore end of casual gamers </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>No valid information about the phenomenon as whole </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Further studies needed </li></ul></ul></ul>Casual games surveys: what do they reveal? 2.6 Annakaisa Kultima,, Nordic Game 2007, Malmö
  17. 18. <ul><li>Business models </li></ul><ul><li>Accessibility issues </li></ul><ul><li>Production and costs (production side, players side) </li></ul><ul><li>Innovation talks and other game politics (such as gender issues) </li></ul><ul><li>Some people say that casual games are best defined by their accessibility </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Is the relevancy somewhere else than in the gameplay? </li></ul></ul>Other topics in the casual games discussions 2.7 Annakaisa Kultima,, Nordic Game 2007, Malmö
  18. 19. <ul><li>Article in progress Kultima&Paloheimo: ”Model for Expanded Game Experience (EGE) – thinking out of the gameplay box” </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Theoretical framework for understanding game experiences in wider sense </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Previous models mostly gameplay-centric </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Approaching the diversity of game experiences thru concept of ”culture” can be too wide, providing no specific tool for design </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Relevant factors can be found in outer game activities, context, situation, personal attitudes, social impact, accessibility, other media experiences etc. </li></ul></ul>Extended Game Experience (EGE) 3 Annakaisa Kultima,, Nordic Game 2007, Malmö
  19. 21. <ul><li>Outer game experiences </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Accessibility of the game </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>try-before-you-buy, online games, preinstalled games </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>searching: typing “games” in Google </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>New gamers </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>No previous computer game literacy, bad computer skills </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Games among other media experiences </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>“ Computer games are bad” attitudes </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Not seeking substance to your life thru games: “Just gimme something to click!” </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Game/play related experiences </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Easy to learn </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>No time or interest to read manuals </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Fast to the game experience: no time to “waste” </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Bored fast, turning to seek other experiences (e.g. going to YouTube) </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>No time or skills to install game or wait for the mail delivery </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Gameplay experiences </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Simple controls </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>New gamers, no game literacy </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Low key activity, clicking </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Adaptability, pervasiveness, instrumental values for play </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Situational factors may disrupt the game play (1. Life, 2. The game) </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Need for more than “just the game” </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Non-violent content, general topics </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Wide audiences </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Game experiences without gameplay experiences? </li></ul></ul>Casual game experiences? 3.1 Annakaisa Kultima,, Nordic Game 2007, Malmö
  20. 28. <ul><li>How to design a casual game when it can mean so many different things to different people in different situations? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Too much in one soup? Split the soup and give different spices? </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Players develop, situations and motives changes </li></ul><ul><ul><li>What is stabile with casual IN games phenomenon? </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Designing expanded game experience </li></ul><ul><ul><li>support for the casual uses, attitudes, audiences, motives, playing styles and situational factors </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>No specific “receipt” for a casual game, lots of possibilities and different sides of the same coin </li></ul></ul><ul><li>How current “casual games” are casual? </li></ul><ul><li>What about the future? </li></ul>Designing casual game experience 3.2 Annakaisa Kultima,, Nordic Game 2007, Malmö
  21. 29. <ul><li>One of the most interesting/challenging future issue is casual multiplayer games </li></ul><ul><li>Some views contradictive: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>“ Casual gaming is entirely a solo based independent experience and there is no room for competition in casual games.” (Richard Krueger from Boonty and Duncan Magee from RealArcade) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>“ Asynchronous casual multiplayer games will be something to look out for in the future.” (Ian Bogost) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>“ Casual mobile multiplayer games will have significant role in the future.” (Trip Hawkings from Digital Chocolate) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Is there a future for casual multiplayer game experiences? </li></ul>Future of casual games: casual multiplayer games 4 Annakaisa Kultima,, Nordic Game 2007, Malmö
  22. 31. <ul><li>The gap between digital games cultures and non-digital games cultures is bridging? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Revealing even wider range of different games, players, play motives, attitudes, game uses and playing styles that is already “out there”. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Game research/development? should reach out from the “digital” box (+from hardcore box, and gameplay box?) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>What possibilities/potential is “out there”? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Difficult study cases </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>(would you answer a survey after one session of solitaire? Do you remember what were you thinking two months ago while clicking the cards of solitaire? Do you care?) </li></ul></ul></ul>Digital and non-digital, thinking out of the boxes? 4.1 Annakaisa Kultima,, Nordic Game 2007, Malmö
  23. 32. <ul><li>Casual games discussion is an indication of the problematic/(wide) and dynamic phenomenon </li></ul><ul><li>Further studies should be based on more refined terminology and proper methodologies </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Distinction of: casual in games, casual games, casual game player, casual gamer, casual playing and casual gaming </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Designing casual game experiences </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Different aspects and possibilities for design </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Holistic game design, expanded experiences </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Relevant factors may become before/(after) the gameplay experience </li></ul></ul></ul>Conclusions 4.2 Annakaisa Kultima,, Nordic Game 2007, Malmö
  24. 33. [email_address] THANK YOU!