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Insights on Casual Games Analysis of Casual Games for the PC | Nielsen Research 2009

Insights on Casual Games Analysis of Casual Games for the PC | Nielsen Research 2009

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Published by Derek E. Baird
The term “casual” refers to games that are typically inexpensive to produce, straightforward in concept, easy to learn, and simple to play. Casual games span game genres with casual game titles occupying most, if not all, genre categories.
The term “casual” refers to games that are typically inexpensive to produce, straightforward in concept, easy to learn, and simple to play. Casual games span game genres with casual game titles occupying most, if not all, genre categories.

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Published by: Derek E. Baird on Sep 26, 2009
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Insights on Casual Games
 Analysis of Casual Games for the PC
August 2009
 
Copyright © 2009 The Nielsen Company.
Methodology
The analysis in this report is based on datarom the Nielsen RDD/Online® sample o more than 185,000 US tracked PCs pro-cessed by the GamePlay Metrics syndicat-ed service. This sotware-based meteringtechnology identifes individual programexecutables. When a program runs on aPC, a Nielsen meter collects the programname, active window and demographicsor the person(s) using the PC.The primary source o inormation or thisanalysis comes rom the Nielsen Game-Play Metrics product, a monthly syndi-cated reporting service. The GamePlayMetrics product gives you unparalleledinsight into video game console usage andPC game play.
Introduction
The term “casual” reers to games that are typically inexpensive to produce, straightorward in concept, easy to learn, and simple toplay. Casual games span game genres with casual game titles occupying most, i not all, genre categories. Casual games are availableacross platorms, including PCs, video game consoles, handheld game consoles and mobile phones.In Nielsen GamePlay Metrics data or March 2009, we tracked 847 PC casual game titles. Those 847 titles were played by over 43million unique persons. On average, those 43 million players played around 30 minutes a day. Casual games account or 75 percento the total number o minutes o PC video game play across all video game titles we track. Players o casual games are the dominantgaming group on the PC platorm. This group has the vast majority o play minutes and a very high requency o play.Looking at the top twenty casual games in our May 2009 game play data, two genres are dominant—Card games, with 88% o casualgame players playing a card game, and puzzle games, with 9.5% o casual game players playing a puzzle game.
Key Takeaways
The most popular casual game genres arecard and puzzle.Casual games have a high recurring gameplay rate and can match or exceed therecurring play rate o other non-casualgames with high recurring game play.Casual games or purchase can achievesimilar recurring audience numbers tothose or ree casual games.The average length o play sessions orpopular casual games is less than hal thator non-casual games.Players o casual games predominantly areemale and use less powerul computerswhen compared to players o shooter orRPG genres
 
Copyright © 2009 The Nielsen Company.
Results
Recurring Play
The frst characteristic we examined wasrecurring play: Does a casual game titledraw the same player back month atermonth? To answer this question, westudied video game players or a 7-monthperiod. Figure 1 shows the number o people who played the game in two ormore months in the 7- month period. Forexample, 47 million unique gamers playedMicrosot® Solitaire at least once in twoseparate months during the 7-monthperiod. Just over 9.3 million individualsplayed Solitaire at least once in each o the 7 months measured.Data or World o Warcrat®, the mostpopular role-playing game or the periodmeasured, appears on the graph as a basiso comparison. Over 5 million peopleplayed World o Warcrat at least once intwo separate months during the 7-monthperiod, with more than 580,000 playingat least once every month.Figure 1 also shows data on Wild Tangent®Polar Bowler™. More than 644,000 usersplayed Polar Bowler at least once in twoseparate months during the measurementperiod. Less than hal o those players,however, played the game at all or threeor more separate months. World o War-crat and Polar Bowler ollow the sametrend closely, though with lower amounto unique players (note dual axis on fgure1 graph).
Recurring Play and PaidVersus Free Games
Polar Bowler and Microsot Solitaire areboth considered casual games; however,they have some key dierences. Solitaireis a ree game and included in most PCsrunning the Windows® operating system.The retail cost o Polar Bowler is $19.99and is typically obtained by a web down-load. Polar Bowler does oer a ree trialperiod or play.
Figure 1: Trend o Recurring Play or Unique Players (January 2008 to July 2008)
Source: The Nielsen Company – GamePlay Metrics
40,000,00030,000,00020,000,00010,000,00005,000,0004,000,0003,000,0002,000,0001,000,0000
Number of Months of Recurring Play
Solitaire Polar World of Warcraft
2 3 4 5 6 7
NOTE: Dual Axis
   U   n    i   q   u   e   p    l   a   y   e   r   s    (   S   o    l    i   t   a    i   r   e    )   U   n    i   q   u   e   p    l   a   y   e   r   s    (   P   o    l   a   r   B   o   w    l   e   r ,   W   o   r    l    d   o    f   W   a   r   c   r   a    f   t    )
50,000,00045,000,00040,000,00035,000,00030,000,00025,000,00020,000,00015,000,00010,000,0005,000,000012,000,00010,000,0008,000,0006,000,0004,000,0002,000,0000
Number of Months of Recurring Play
Microsoft Solitaire Great Escape Solitaire
2 3 4 5 6 7
   U   n    i   q   u   e   p    l   a   y   e   r   s   M    i   c   r   o   s   o    f   t   S   o    l    i   t   a    i   r   e   U   n    i   q   u   e   p    l   a   y   e   r   s   G   r   e   a   t   E   s   c   a   p   e   s   S   o    l    i   t   a    i   r   e
NOTE: Dual Axis
Figure 2 : Paid versus Free Games and Recurring Play (January 2008 to July 2008)
Source: The Nielsen Company – GamePlay Metrics

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