It’s no secret that the gaming industry is continually evolving to keep up with ever-changing technological advancements. During the 1990s, the sector enjoyed a transitional phase that started the decade with Sonic the Hedgehog and Super Mario World and ended it with Gran Turismo 2 and Tomb Raider III. In turn, this newfound genre diversity kick-started the casual gaming trend, which remains prominent in the 2020s. But how has this player type altered the industry? Well, let’s delve into casual gaming.
New Ways to Entice Users
It speaks volumes that the social/casual gaming industry is forecast to register revenues of $98.8 billion by 2024, according to Statista. Not only that, but research from Limelight found that 56.5 percent of gamers in 2019 considered themselves as casual players. It’s evident from this research that the sector’s primary player type has shifted in recent years, and game developers now use various strategies to attract casual gamers.
Over the past few years, increasing numbers of developers have utilized a free-to-play business model. As a result of this, leading distribution sites like Steam now have a “Free to Play” tab on their platform. Furthermore, some of the sector’s most popular titles are now free, including Call of Duty: Warzone, which opens the door for casual players to explore new genres. Adopting a free-to-play approach is paramount to attracting new players, but there are no guarantees that it will captivate casual gamers in the long term.
To help ensure long-term players, Activision’s Warzone, for example, features bonuses – such as double XP weekends – to encourage repeat participation. Moreover, away from mainstream gaming, such a strategy is utilized within the flourishing online bingo sector. To pique casual and hardcore gamer interests, platforms like Buzz Bingo offer numerous bingo promotions. These offers include a sign-up promotion, entry into free daily bingo lobbies, and tech bundle prize draws. A bonus-driven approach allows this market, along with many others – including casino gaming and MMORPG – to target the 56.6 percent of gamers who now class themselves as casual players.
Perceptions Have Changed
Along with Warzone, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, Dota 2, and Rocket League are available without cost. In fact, in Rocket League, there’s a casual mode for those who don’t want to play competitively. Moreover, in dominating the eSports industry, CS: GO and Dota 2 show that free-to-play approaches work in building a passionate audience base. As GamesRadar states, the ever-expanding library of free games allows casual players to explore a whole host of different titles within various genres, enabling them to find an array of releases that fit their interests.
Nowadays, some argue that the gaming industry doesn’t include casual and hardcore gamers. It’s fair to say that the sector has become more complex in recent years, and research from Newzoo in 2019 found that there are now eight different gamer types. The study states that 23 percent of players now only game in their spare time, while only ten percent of the community consists of all-round enthusiasts.
Catering to Audience Demands
There can be no doubt that casual players make up a majority share of the gaming community. As such, developers need to target that demographic to maximize their audience base and heighten their games’ popularity. Based on current trends, it doesn’t appear likely that this newfound desire to please part-time gamers will change in the near future.