Pitfall creator and Activision co-founder David Crane believes that companies like social games companies like Zynga are responsible for the tatty reputation of "casual games," which have been around since the earliest days of the medium.
“Ten years ago everyone was playing these kinds of games and now everyone forgot they existed just because they’re on phones now,” Crane told Game Informer. "I kind of feel like I’ve always made casual games. I make games for people who like to have fun and enjoy games on any level. Games are about diversion; that’s very casual.”
So, given that, why do casual games have a poor reputation? After forming Skyworks Technologies since leaving Activision and making several successful iOS games, Crane reckons that social gaming companies, namely Zynga, are responsible.
“If you ask someone what they thought a casual game was a few years ago, they might have said something like Angry Birds. Now they’ll probably say something like Farmville. I don’t like to lump those social games in with casual games. I think it’s those Zynga-like games that give the ‘casual’ market a bad name."
Despite several landmark success stories on Facebook, Zynga have been in a vulnerable position recently; locked in an ongoing lawsuit with EA, hit by a major share slump and accused of plagiarism. Should we distinguish between social and casual games - and is the social bubble set to burst?