Are Casual Games Recession Proof?

Obviously this question is on a lot of developers’ minds. The same question in theory applies to Indie developers too.

Last November when I went to an “all hands” meeting at Big Fish Games in Seattle, the CEO reassured us that we are still growing (turnover-wise and staff-wise) and in fact we’d just had a record month. The new Vancouver studio is hiring staff instead of laying off staff like so many AAA game companies. It seems like every week at the moment I hear about some AAA game company laying off staff in Vancouver or elsewhere. Just recently Nexon closed its Vancouver office and they make Casual MMOGs! So are casual companies really immune from the recession?

Well, recently held a roundtable (in two parts) of big names from the Casual industry including Real Arcade, Oberon, Popcap and Playfirst amongst others. The consensus seems to be that Casual games stand a good chance of riding out the recession due to their broad appeal (as opposed to specialist Indie titles with a small market for example) but that only companies making the best ones will do well and that companies making lower quality, less innovative titles (or who cannot obtain decent funding) may well get squeezed out – but that’s nothing new in business anyway.

I too am optimistic because I work for a company that seems to be doing very well; we are also “adaptive” and we only want to produce the best games – I’m sure that these qualities mean we stand a very good chance of weathering the storm. So my advice would be to make sure that your games appeal to a wide audience (without being totally watered down) and are the best quality that you can make them (get funding if you need to) so that they stand out from the rest of the crowd, and keep plugging away at the business side – especially the marketing of course! Oh and in case you forgot, remain positive! 🙂

2 Responses to “Are Casual Games Recession Proof?”

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