Drop the casual attitude

Publishers: Instead of the nation’s geriatrics wrinkling their brow at your Brain Training clone, you’ve got a warehouse full of returned DS games and a team of wincing sales execs.

Retailers: You’ve missed out on this year’s Cooking Mama bargains – and filled up shelves with equine/kitty/puzzle claptrap that you still can’t shift.

We know it’s true, because our industry friends have told us (post-Stella and in maudlin tones). They haven’t best taken advantage of a hugely lucrative opportunity. And they’re jealous of those that have.

We created


to help. And if you haven’t been paying attention, you may have already cost your company a fair wedge.

One big crime is that more modern classic online titles haven’t been cherry picked for DS (and, subsequently, snapped up by retail buyers). Trust us: we write about them every day.

There’s a giant smorgasbord of web games that have hundreds of millions of dedicated players – who fit neatly into Nintendo’s brave new audience. The rights would cost about the same as three seconds of Metal Gear Solid 4, yet hardly any are in stores.

For starters, I cannot believe you’ve all left PopCap alone. Peggle and Bejeweled have been downloaded an estimated 200 million times and inspire massive brand affection. Yet still no DS titles in Europe? If you’d rather stick with Hoof Stories 9, no problem. Enjoy that coveted 29th place on the single-format chart this Christmas.

How about the SPIL Group? A company with 2,000 games worldwide, cleverly localised for each audience. Surely their 75 million unique users makes a frugal boxed collection worth a punt? But many have never even heard of them.

Then there’s Alawar, Reflexive, Slingo… the list goes on. Sites such as Kongregate and Big Fish will even tell you (with one click) what the most popular casual titles around are.

The smartest publishers have already realised it. Codemasters recently secured the UK rights to distribute Mumbo Jumbo titles – a US company that owns Luxor (75 million downloads), Mah Jong and more. EA has done it all itself – and when you’ve got a game factory as popular as Pogo.com, why not?

If you don’t want to be left behind, I’d get online and do the same.

As with every other money-making route in casual games (and there are many), you know where to come for help.

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