Firstly, I’d like to get a definition of what “casual” games are:
A casual game is a video game or online game targeted at a mass audience of casual gamers. Casual games can have any type of gameplay, and fit in any genre. They are typically distinguished by their simple rules and lack of commitment required in contrast to more complex hardcore games. They require no long-term time commitment or special skills to play, and there are comparatively low production and distribution costs for the producer. Casual games typically are played on a personal computerweb browsers, although they now are starting to become popular on game consoles, too. Casual gaming demographics also vary greatly from those of traditional computer games, as the typical casual gamer is older and more predominantly female with over 74% of those purchasing casual games being women. –Source
Old is the debate between “casual” and “hardcore” games, but are they still not classed as games? If 75% of women are playing casual games then why are only 40% of women classed as gamers? And if companies want to find out what women like in games, isn’t this a hint in the right direction? Casual games are said to be stress relieving, provide mental balance and are relaxing, perhaps women are more attracted to them because of these qualities. But “hardcore” games can be equally as stress releiving, but you do have to go out and buy the console in order to play them (unless you own a PC). So it could be that women enjoy casual games because they are right there in front of them on the internet, easy to access, and doesn’t require spending hundreds of pounds on a console. People who own an iPhone have access to the iTunes App store, which provides them with a huge collection of these “casual” games. I know both men and women who don’t consider themselves gamers yet have purchased games on the iPhone. In order to find the real percentage of male and female gamers perhaps companies need to look futher into the users of casual games and find out exactly what it is they enjoy in these games, and transfer this into the design of their own.