Focus Multimedia hit gold when it began taking popular online casual games and releasing them in shops back in 2007.
Through its deals with Big Fish Games and Popcap, the firm has dominated the PC value charts ever since. Last month, five of the top ten PC budget games were casual titles. Meanwhile, boxed versions of games such as Bejeweled and Zuma continue to sell in impressive numbers every year.
“Our casual game range goes from strength to strength, with two No.1 PC budget games this year – Mystery Case Files Ravenhearst and Mystery in London: On the Trail of Jack the Ripper – and more titles than any other publisher in the Top 20 PC Budget Games Chart in July,” says Focus’ PR and marketing manager Grant Hughes.
“There’s a real buzz about casual games. Many of our customers are telling us they’re in casual gaming heaven and are converting their friends and family by word of mouth. This is all contributing towards the continuing PC casual games explosion.”
PopCap is one of the most highly regarded casual games developers on the market. The publisher has had over one billion games downloaded since 2000, and is the team behind such greats as Bejeweled and Peggle. Both of these titles are available to sell in-store courtesy of Focus, along with titles in the Mystery P.I. series, Zuma, Chuzzle, Amazing Adventures The Lost Tomb, Feeding Frenzy, Book Worm, Insaniquarium, Mahjong Escape, Pizza Frenzy and more.
Another high-profile client is Big Fish Games, the publisher behind the Mystery Case Files series of games – not to mention the Hidden Expedition range and many other popular hidden object, tycoon and puzzle titles. Big Fish’s line-up has allowed Focus to top the budget charts on more than one occasion.
MUM’S THE WORD
Unusually for games, online casual titles are mostly enjoyed by women aged between 30 and 50, with many enjoying a quick game after work or during their lunch breaks.
“Our casual games customers are overwhelmingly female,” adds Hughes.
“Typically these are women doing their weekly grocery shop who fancy treating themselves, or mums who pop into their local video games retailer to buy something for the kids – and end up leaving with a casual game to play when the children are in bed. In both cases, the impulse price plays a major part in the buying process.”
Focus’ continued support includes sustained PR campaigns in women’s media and regular POS promotions.
“Retailers are recognising the genre’s incredible mass market appeal and are being overwhelmingly supportive,” concludes Hughes.
“Our one-stop casual games solution presents retailers with a fantastic opportunity to earn incremental revenue. Wherever we place our casual games, we find that their sales are continually exceeding even our own expectations.”