Whenever Louis Bedigian of GameZone hears of a study claiming that casual games are the future on any platform, he wonders: if lighthearted and simpler games are what players want, why are the hardcore games (Halo, Smash Bros., etc.) still number-one?
This is not the case for the mobile phone market, where the majority of its players do not, if only for the time being, fit into the typical gamer demographic. The people Bedigian sees playing Pac-Man on their phones don't necessarily have an Xbox 360 at home. But that's not the reason why Namco Networks, a leading publisher of mobile games, believes that casual games are the future. In a study conducted by Interpret, a digital media research firm, Namco Networks learned the following:
• During 2007 casual games reached over 145 million people ages 12-65.
• Last year, the average time spent per week playing casual games increased 28 percent (from 4 hours to 5.1 hours) from Q3 to Q4.
• In 2007, 33 percent of casual gamers played online with another person.
• Casual games appeal to far more female gamers than traditional games, as well as a slightly older audience.
GameZone spoke with Jason Ford, Vice President of Strategy and Planning for Namco Networks, to learn the significance of this study, the future of Namco Networks and more.