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What is Casual Gaming?

By Bethany Keene
Updated May 16, 2024
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Casual gaming is a type of video game or gameplay targeted at a large, varied audience that does not want to devote a great deal of time to the game. Games intended for casual gaming are usually fairly simple, and do not require the player to learn many new skills, or a complicated set of rules. This is in comparison to a more devoted gamer, sometimes referred to as a professional or "hardcore" gamer, who may devote hours every day to advancing in a particular video game and learning new skills.

There are no defined rules for casual gaming, however. A casual gamer may enjoy playing more difficult, immersive video games, but only has a limited amount of time to do so. Technically, anyone with an interest in video games can be considered a casual gamer. A casual gamer may invest less money in video games or video game consoles than a "hardcore" gamer, or may employ different styles of play which he or she finds enjoyable, but may be less suited to progression within a certain game.

Casual gaming may take place on a computer, either with additionally installed software or online; a video game console that is stationary or portable; or even a handheld device such as a cell phone. Casual video games are usually designed for the user to be able to pick up and play the game when he or she has a few minutes to spare, and to easily put the game down again when he is done. Casual gaming is generally intended for users of all ages and skill levels to enjoy.

Casual games may or may not be saved after each time played, which can make it easier for the user to quickly progress through the game. Some types of casual games are pre-installed on computers or cell phones at the time of purchase, and are generally just used as ways to pass the time without the game player actually becoming emotionally invested in the game, or needing to develop specialized skills in order to succeed at gameplay. In addition, some gaming consoles are targeted more at casual gamers, and offer games and additional peripherals that may be enjoyed by members of different ages in a family rather than by a more frequent gamer. Casual gaming is a very popular pastime for people of all ages and skill levels, and can be a great way to encourage the whole family to spend more time together.

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Discussion Comments

By bythewell — On Jan 05, 2014

@pastanaga - But Sudoku is based on a traditional game. Many recently developed casual games are based around the idea of getting people addicted so they will pay when they reach a hurdle in the game.

But most of these games seem to be basically the same, to be honest. Once you've played one, you've played them all.

By pastanaga — On Jan 04, 2014

@KoiwiGal - It does depend on what kind of game you get though. There are plenty of casual gaming sites out there which host games that never end, or at least, which you keep playing to better your score, but I don't feel like I'm addicted to them. I just play them every now and then when I'm bored and looking for something to fill in the time.

The Sudoku game on my smartphone is a perfect example. I usually just play it on the bus and each game lasts just long enough for me to get to where ever I'm going.

By KoiwiGal — On Jan 03, 2014

The annoying thing about many so-called casual games is that they can be completely addictive to the point where you don't realize that you've spent hours of your day on them. Good casual games tend to have a finish line, since at least then you can stop obsessing about them.

The worst ones make you wait for every achievement or give you an option to pay. In one I realized that in order to win the game I was going to have to pay $75 to obtain a particular item, or play for about a year straight in order to earn it.

I decided I'd rather play something else.

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