Wednesday, November 16

Addicting casual game

I have been doing research on the gaming space lately for work. Those who I've shown my "inner gaming nerd" to know this is kinda a dream come true for me.

But anyways, it's an amazing industry going through continual growth. And it's not just the console games (Xbox, PlayStation, Gamecube, etc.), handhelds (Gameboy, PSP), or even PC gaming. Much of the growth is coming from online gaming. And many people think that online gaming can and will eventually make PC games obsolete as web graphic technology advances and bandwidth increases.

Online games can be split into two major categories: casual gaming and what's called massively multiplayer online games (MMOs for short). Casual games are those that are simple in terms of both graphics and gameplay -- Bejeweled and many of the Mahjong titles for example. MMOs are much more sophisticated and complex. You can equate most to role-playing games like Dungeons & Dragons. While some casual games allow you to play against others online, MMOs are all about the online play with others, either in head-to-head battles or as part of a team in what are most commonly called guilds. MMOs are much bigger in Asia and Europe; they are still somewhat of a niche in the states. Still, millions of dollars are being spent by stateside gamers to play titles like EverQuest, World of Warcraft, CounterStrike, and Asheron Call online.

Well enough with the lesson. Today I met Eric & Peter, the co-founders of the game developer behind Diner Dash -- the number one online and downloaded casual game worldwide. They were recently referenced in Business Week. The article said this about the casual gaming space:
" estimated 56 million adults worldwide who may not care when the next Madden NFL Football is released but who still want a little game time. Call them the casual gamers: a set of folks loosely defined as those who have broadband but play less frequently -- and who want less complex games -- than the much smaller hard-core gaming crowd."

Check out this game (link below). I tried it out before heading into Manhattan to meet them. While quite simple, it is very, very addicting. (BTW - I saw General Norman Schwarzkopf while waiting in the lobby. Apparently he's on our board.)

Link to BWeek article

Link to free online version of Diner Dash at

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