Imagine today’s gaming world is a supermarket.
You have the well-established traditional foods - bread, fresh meat and savoury pasta. These are the platformers, racers and adventure games of the world, genres that have existed since the early days of the industry.
People trust and understand these genres. After all, if you’re not into bread and butter shooters or vegetarian puzzlers, then a nice RPG steak might be your thing now and again.
Of course, there is another sort of food, a quick and easy dish that's become the staple diet for many, as a result of our busy lives. And it's that of ready meals, or in this case the rise of ‘convenience gaming’.
The reasons for this analogy may seem superfluous, but I think the way ‘casual’ games are perceived bears many similarities to the food industry’s ingenious money-maker.
Aside from the debates about the healthiness of ready meals or the teaching value of ‘casual’ games, I think the key thing that unites these two modern constructions is a belief by some that they exist at the expense of more traditional products.
Much like ready meals, ‘casual’ games can be thought of as a cheap fix, but there is clearly a wide demand for them because, above all, they are convenient. Low cost, hassle-free to acquire and satisfying, these games are serving the needs of busy modern consumers who many not have time for more complicated game experiences.
Yet, ultimately, the two are not mutually exclusive. Nobody eats one type of food or plays one type of game. And the very concept of ‘casual’ games as a genre is itself flawed. The level of time and investment players are willing to put into any game will vary, however, the selection and means of obtain games has become far more universal.
So next time you reach for a ready meal or download a game from the App Store, think about why the convenience of that transaction is important.