Electronic Arts (EA) Tuesday announced the creation of a new division which will focus on creating “casual gaming” titles for PC’s, Consoles and mobile devices. The division will be called EA Casual Entertainment and headed by former Activision Publishing president Kathy Vrabeck. No titles have been announced yet.
Within the gaming industry Casual Games are defined as games with a mass market audience. They typically have simple rules and intuitive gameplay to allow a player to begin playing with little to no learning curve (in stark contrast to many of the games sold for popular gaming consoles). Casual Games are also designed to also allow game playing in short, or interrupted, bursts rather than requiring a substantial time commitment.
Casual games have often been available for free online, or provided with free trials. They are usually inexpensive, and in the case of online versions – often based o Flash or Shockwave animation technologies.
It’s unclear how much focus the new group at EA will place on online or free games versus mobile versions for cell phones or console games for platforms like the Wii, or Nintendo DS. The area of gaming is, however, considered to be growing rapidly.
The EA move follows a similar effort by competitor Ubisoft which announced the creation of its own casual games division in late May.