Casual games cover about a third of the Xbox Live Arcade catalogue, yet their total sales make up just a fraction of the digital market.
That was according to data revealed today at the fifth annual Develop Conference, where a developer of the PSN title Joe Danger bared all on the digital sales market.
Sean Murray, a programmer at Hello Games, said during his lecture that 31 per cent of XBLA titles are what he deems as ‘casual’ – yet, he said, such games account for less than five per cent of the total market.
Murray, speaking at a lecture entitled ‘Five Big Things Publishers Don’t Understand About Small Games’, had little praise for casual games which have spread across digital networks.
”They’re cheap to make, they’re easier to make… nobody is buying them really,” he said.
Murray described the contrast between XBLA store presence and sales as ‘The Uno Effect’ – explaining that the digital version of the classic card game was the first title to sell over a million copies on XBLA.
He suggested that the sheer popularity of Uno had encouraged publishers to throw more classic casual games, such as Sudoku titles, into the digital market. Yet he claimed, the popularity of Uno was a red-herring.
”The reason for the Uno effect,” he said, “was that it was given away for free with the Xbox 360 Arcade [SKU], and then grew via word-of-mouth.”
Other data he presented seemed to suggest that 47 per cent of XBLA games don’t sell beyond 25,000 copies, while 17 per cent sell over 200,000.