Endemol Getting Into Casual Games

18 03 2008

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Endemol have been flirting with games for quite a while, but a job posting on their website has tipped a bit more of what they’re planning. They’re creating a casual games team in Los Angeles.

Endemol Digital Media is creating a dedicated team to focus on casual game development

From the job description:

Establish a creative and technical casual game knowledge and resource center to be leveraged by the company worldwide

After being scoffed at by mainstream developers, casual is definitely becoming more respectable. I caught this quote on Dean Takahashi’s blog just after GDC:

The market for online casual games, from Tetris (estimated 60 million sold in lifetime) on cell phones to Bejeweled (350 million downloaded and sold on mobile phones) on computers, hit about $2.25 billion worldwide last year, according to Jessica Tams, head of the Casual Games Association. She says she no longer gets those funny looks when she talks about her group. Before, people would ask skeptical questions. Can you make any money with those? Are those real games?

“Now the question is how much money can I make how quickly?” she said. Even hardcore game companies want to make their games more accessible to wider audiences and so they’re asking how they can add casual elements to their games.

The differences between the culture and the business of games fascinate me. While casual games have been scoffed at by developers, and still are by hardcore ludologists, they’re starting to generate a lot of cash at the intersection between games companies and media companies in other industries. If the flow of business continues in this direction, it will invariably change the culture of game development, and also what it means in wider cultural terms to be a gamer.

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