What You Need to Know about Casual Gamer Experiences

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The esports and gaming industry is accelerating at lightning speed, earning the attention of brands, consumers, properties and everyone in between. And while the attention is usually on the top players, teams and leagues making waves, we tend to overlook a different, yet important demographic: casual gamers. Unlike their hardcore counterparts, casual gamers aren’t going for everlasting glory or expecting to earn huge prize pots. They’re a different breed, but just as critical for brands to pay attention to. Here, we offer insights on casual gamer experiences.


 

The need to seek out social connections should be a part of casual gamer experiences.

Image Credit: PC gaming / Caspar Rubin


They crave social connection.


Gone are the days of believing gamers are solitary creatures who play alone in their basement. Today’s gaming enthusiasts, including casual gamers, are seeking out social connection — particularly amid social distancing orders. It’s no surprise that while self-isolating, they’re gaming more than ever before. And that shift is responsible for expanding an already massive audience. What’s more, according to a study by GWI, 77 percent of millennials and 57 percent of Gen Z who are gaming more during quarantine plan to continue to do so after the outbreak. What better time than the present to consider developing engaging casual gamer experiences?


 

Casual gamer experiences should appeal a wide audience.

Image Credit: Pokémon Go from Niantic Labs


They’re a diverse group.

When it comes to casual gamer experiences, it’s important to consider the demographic. The casual gamer fan base, particularly the mobile gaming community, is varied, so you’ve got to appeal to a wide audience in your marketing efforts. In fact, around 50 percent of mobile app users play mobile games, according to data from Newzoo and Activision Blizzard. The survey shows that mobile gamers are split 50-50 in terms of gender and are in their mid- to late-thirties on average. However, in the last week, 66 percent of 18- to 20-year-olds are opening gaming apps. The lesson? Keep your experiences gender-neutral and appeal to a range of ages.


 

Your casual gamer experience design should reflect that most women casual players don’t consider themselves gamers.

Image Source: AT&T


Women are less likely to consider themselves gamers.

Although the casual gamer demo is technically evenly split in terms of gender, research shows that women are less likely to call themselves gamers than men. A survey by Earnest shows that 17.1 percent of males identify as gamers, while only 5.5 percent of females do. The discrepancy is explained by the fact that there’s somewhat of a bias in the gaming world: first person shooter and tactical titles are considered “real” games and are male-dominated, while games in the casual puzzle genre, for instance, which skew female, aren’t always considered “real” games.


 

Casual gamer experiences should be friendly, inviting and feel more “democratic” than those targeted at hardcore gamers.

Image Source: HP


They seek democratic experiences.

To create engaging casual gamer experiences, ensure that they’re friendly, inviting and feel more “democratic” than activations targeted at hardcore gamers. When Omen by HP targets the casual gamer demo at Twitchcon, the company not only uses warm, colorful branding, it creates a series of experiences focusing on gaming skills that are also demonstrated in everyday life to keep things simple and straightforward. The “memory test,” for instance, is a playful spin on the classic kids game “Simon.” Omen’s version challenges participants to remember color and sound patterns by hitting buttons with the goal being to complete as many rounds as possible while the activity grows progressively more difficult. In the gaming realm, succeeding at this test indicates quick reflexes and memory retention.


 

Fact is, casual gamer experiences are on the rise and brands looking for a relevant way to connect with a diverse demographic would do well to keep casual gamers in mind. Or in gaming terms, it just might be time to level up.


 

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Posted by Dyan Cornacchio | Request as a Speaker

Social media and creative writing connoisseur. Obsessed with my golden retriever, pop culture, and pizza. Nothing makes me happier than being home on LI, relaxing at the beach with my family.