Gaming is booming, and there are now over 3 billion active players across the globe. Thanks to ever-so-detailed graphics and immersive storylines, the gaming medium has long proven to be an art form in its own right. From The Witcher to Dark Souls, RPGs are arguably the best games for hardcore gamers. But another gaming niche is gaining traction among non-traditional gamers. With a wider audience reach than most classic titles, casual games are a force to be reckoned with in the industry. So, why have they become so popular? Let’s take a closer look.
Casual games: what are they all about?
Casual gaming may seem like a loose concept. As opposed to first-person shooters, action-adventure, or battle royale, these types of games do not fit into a single category. However, all casual games are defined by several common traits, starting with their target audience. Contrary to hardcore games, casual entries switch the focus to users outside the gaming sphere. That is to say, even players who have never turned on a console in their life may join in on the fun.
To attract non-conventional gamers, casual titles exhibit features like easy-to-use mechanics and controls. With their simple tap and swipe interfaces, mobile phones are the usual platforms of choice. More often than not, the plot is reduced to a bare minimum.
And short sessions make it easy for low-commitment players to log in during work breaks or their daily commute. To top it all off, some casual games are free-to-play, although most are monetised through in-app purchases or in-app advertising.
What are the most popular casual games out there?
While casual games span a variety of genres, they generally fall into one of seven major categories. Lovers of brain teasers might put their problem-solving skills to the test with puzzle games, such as the Luxor and Bejeweled series. Hidden object games à la Mortimer Beckett series are an equally prosperous sub-genre of the puzzle category.
Additionally, casual gamers may delve into strategy games. Focusing on logistics, tactics, and resource management, this genre comprises popular series like Diner Dash and Cake Mania. Some casual action games also involve strategic thinking, ranging from the smash hit deduction title Among Us to the Dreams Chronicles franchise.
Developers of casual games also put a contemporary twist on time-honored classics. Modernizing the ancient Indian board game Pachisi, Ludo King ranked high in the world’s top-selling casual gaming entries of 2022. Timeless card games are making a simultaneous comeback, from Luxor Mahjong to the Microsoft Solitaire Collection.
Casual entries may not quite match the extent of top online casinos’ catalogs, though. On the best websites, gamblers may even benefit from hefty rewards like free spins no deposit bonuses. Free spins give players the opportunity to try out a casino’s library. Plus, no deposit means players don’t have to commit any money to enjoy the offer. And registering with a casino is the one and only step required to claim such bonuses.
The casual gaming spectrum includes many other genres, from arcade-style to trivia games. An endless runner game, Subway Surfers became a worldwide phenomenon in 2018 when it crossed the two billion download mark. And as of 2022, casual gamers might even venture into RPG territory with entries like Saint Seiya.
Bottom line: what’s in store next?
The first casual games date back to the 1990s and the 2000s. Since then, the genre has made a splash worldwide. Several voices within the gaming sphere may have voiced concern over the hyper-casualisation of their beloved medium. Some dismiss casual games for their lack of depth, while others regret the disassociation between casual gaming and the gamer culture.
Still, casual gaming will undoubtedly continue to drive the gaming boom. In the Western world alone, statistics show casual entries accounted for 80% of all mobile downloads in 2022. As early as 2019, casual titles amounted to 45% of global mobile downloads. The hyper-casual niche propelled the genre even higher with massive blockbusters like the Candy Crush saga.
For the industry, casual gaming also opens up monetization venues. And the secrets of great casual game design can lead even the smallest studios to international success, as games no longer demand years of development to hit the market.