Casual games are not just downloads
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Casual Games are not just Downloads. Brian Robbins Fuel Industries. Overview. Everyone thinks Casual Games = $20 try-before-you-buy That’s not true! Reach a different audience There are lots of ways to make money, and the most successful companies will use several methods. Ad Supported.

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Casual games are not just downloads

Casual Games are not just Downloads

Brian Robbins

Fuel Industries

CGA Seattle 2007


  • Everyone thinks Casual Games = $20 try-before-you-buy

  • That’s not true!

  • Reach a different audience

  • There are lots of ways to make money, and the most successful companies will use several methods

Ad supported
Ad Supported

  • Advertisements are placed around the game

  • This can happen in a browser, or wrapped in a download

  • If in a download, the more integration you do, the higher revenue share you will get

Ad supported examples
Ad Supported examples


  • Boonty

Ad supported1
Ad Supported



Portals don’t want to share

When they do share you get poor revenue share

Careful not to get too annoying for players

  • Easy Money

  • Ad market is doing great

Web based

  • Build a web-based version of the game

  • Put it on your website, or other web portals

  • Typically built in Flash, but other tools exist

Web based examples
Web-Based examples



Web based1



Not all sites share revenue from web versions

Need Flash or Shockwave proficiency

Lots and lots of web content available

  • Lots of sites looking for web versions

  • Ad revenue can be fairly significant

  • Simpler development than a full casual game

  • Can take advantage of community easier

Downloadable console
Downloadable Console

  • This is really sweet!

  • All 3 consoles are working on methods for this

  • XBLA is the most mature

  • Nintendo may be the most open

Downloadable console1
Downloadable Console



Approval from console maker required

Needs great production value

Tools are more expensive and limited

Success is unproven for PS3 and Wii

  • Great conversion rates

  • High profile in game industry

  • Huge bragging rights

  • Can have great production value

  • Some room for very innovative titles


  • Build games for and around client brands

  • This is NOT putting logos in a Bejeweled clone

  • Work direct with brands or through their agencies

Advergaming examples
Advergaming Examples


  • American Dad vs Family Guy

  • Sneak King




Sales process can be very long

Brands are tough to work with

Little room for a huge payoff

Need to focus on this market to succeed

  • Fixed budget = fixed risk

  • Get to work with huge brands, and built in audiences

  • Work on projects without a focus on sales


  • Users pay a fixed recurring fee for content

  • Can be a single game or a suite of games

  • Provides full or discounted access to content

Subscription examples
Subscription Examples

  • Shockwave Unlimited

  • RealPass

  • PuzzlePirates




Need to provide new content

Who’s customer is it?

Difficult to build

  • Recurring fees = awesome

  • More stable revenue month to month

  • Greater player attachment


  • Selling stuff in very small increments

  • Could be additional content, outfits, badges, powerups, etc

Microtransactions examples
Microtransactions examples

  • Puzzle Pirates

  • Pogo

  • Habbo Hotel




Need lots of players

Community and/or Multiplayer is a requirement

Portals may take convincing

  • Can offer the game free

  • Can provide a recurring revenue stream

  • Potential for higher revenue per person

  • Direct to you!

Skill based games
Skill-Based Games

  • Competitive Play

  • Multiple people pay, most of the entry fees go to winner

  • Providers split the remainder

Skill based games1
Skill-Based Games



Skill based games2
Skill-Based Games



Not much revenue

Very few companies in the space

  • Additional revenue stream

  • Fairly easy to modify an existing web-based game

Mobile games
Mobile Games

  • Developing for cell phones

  • Can be unique content, or modifying existing games

Mobile games1
Mobile Games



Enormous amount of work to support all handsets

Distribution tightly controlled by carriers

Not a lot of revenue

  • Good to license in successful titles

  • Lots of interest in the space

What s happening now
What’s happening now

  • Advertising $$$ = Download $$$ (for portals!)

  • Web Games are big again

  • Some Web 2.0 plays

What s coming next
What’s coming next?

  • Lots more community

  • Web-MMO’s with multiple business models

  • Convergence of companies

  • Further driving casual games into middle-aged woman niche

  • Community created content

What s not worth trying
What’s not worth trying?

  • Skill-based games

  • Mobile

What s nobody trying
What’s nobody trying?

  • A game portal for the masses

  • Tying into web 2.0 ideas

  • Passive play

  • Mass audience play

Thank you questions
Thank You / Questions

  • Brian Robbins –

  • Slides posted at