Consoles invaded by casual games

While the PS3 has a bit of a reputation as being for hardcore gamers only, it’s nice to see that casual games for the platform are enjoying a bit of a boom, too. Analyst Colin Sebastian has observed that the PlayStation Network is rapidly gaining popularity when it comes to casual and social gamers, which is surprising some developers.

Sebastian explains to [surl=http://www.industrygamers.com/news/playstation-network-gaining-traction-with-casual-market/]Industry Gamers[/surl]:

“Online continues to ramp on PSN. The PSN currently has 75M registered accounts WW (half of which are in NA), with over 1.4B pieces of content downloaded since launch. PSN appears to be gaining traction tapping into the casual and social gaming market with titles such as Angry Birds which is the most downloaded game through the PSN (it was launched in January 2011). PSN is also seeing good success with freemium/microtransaction models.”

[img_big]center,7474,2011-02-04/AB_N8_shot02.png,Angry Birds[/img_big]

It’s no surprise that Angry Birds is taking off on the PS3. The time-waster from Rovio has dominated every platform it’s launched on, so we expected nothing less for the PS3.

Apparently, the game’s success is inspiring and encouraging developers, as it prompts Sony to bring more casuals to PSN. Could these five-minute games be a sign of things to come for the big consoles?

We’re also hearing rumours that Microsoft may be planning to introduce free-to-play games to the Xbox 360, via Xbox LIVE.

The theory is that publishers and developers will launch games on the network for free, and then use microtransactions for additional content like weapons, unlocks, experience points and perks.

[img_big]center,76,2010-11-07/battlefield_play4free_008_tif_jpgcopy.jpg,[/img_big]

Everybody knows the concept works solidly on PC, so it will be interesting to see if it makes the shift to Xbox 360. A common concept among MMO-genre games, EA have been experimenting with this style of gameplay as it applies to FPS and other shooters. The recent open-beta release of Battlefield Play4Free suggests that they might be onto something.

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