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Will Casual Games Survive in Virtual Reality?

 

Which types of games are the most played today? If you think eSports, shooters, racing games or sports simulators, you are mistaken. Casual games are by far the most played game type globally, especially on smartphones and tablets (the “personal screen”, as some refer to them), which have become the leading gaming platform by revenue in 2016. Studies say that more than half of all new smartphone owner is installing a game on his or her device within a week from purchasing it. Mobile games cover every genre, from racing games to MMOs, MOBAs, and shooters, and action and arcade games lead detached when it comes to the number of downloads and the generated revenue, yet casual games and puzzle titles are the ones with which players spend the most of their time. Smartphones, as a gaming platform, are perfect for running puzzles and casual games. These are usually simple, even though they are sometimes hidden under layers of flashy design elements and a captivating backstory. They are easy to interact with on a touchscreen, and they offer players the perfect mix of frustration and sense of accomplishment to glue them to their phone screens for hours at a time. This translates to hours played, popularity, and often six-figure revenues that end up in the publishers’ bank accounts. But how would these games get along with the emerging new realm: virtual reality?

 

Virtual worlds

Casual games are built to be played on pocket-sized devices with pocket-sized screens. Imagine playing Candy Crush or a virtual reality slot game in full immersion – just the thought of it has an emetic effect. What works on the smallest of screens will surely not translate well in an environment where you perceive the screen as being far larger. Match-three games, word games, and other popular game types would only work in VR if they were played on a virtual smartphone screen – and what would be the use of that?

New casual games

Virtual and augmented reality will most likely give birth to a brand new breed of casual games. And these games will most likely look and feel a lot like the ones you have played on the street as a kid – unless you spent all your time inside banging on the controller of your PlayStation, Xbox, or gaming PC. Skill-based games will likely be the new norm – soon you might find yourself playing table tennis and badminton, egg toss and horseshoes, and other similar games in a virtual environment. And who can predict what other such games will be invented in the future?


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