Never before has casual gaming been so prevalent in our society. Years ago, it required a PC or a console in order to be considered a gamer, but the definition has shifted. Now, anyone can be considered a gamer. Because of this, causal games have become a viable market and websites like Facebook have joined in, housing numerous casual games and time-sinks to appeal to every kind of gamer. In an attempt to capitalize on this gaming craze, EA has joined the fray with the longest-running prime-time television show in history, The Simpsons.
Being one of the most well-known companies in the console and handheld market, it was only a matter of time before EA put forth their first effort in the world of casual Facebook games. Due out later this year in September, EA is planning to release a Simpsons game for the online platform. This is no surprise as EA has quite a strong track record with the Simpsons IP in the past with titles like The Simpsons Road Rage and more recently The Simpsons Game.
While both of these were strong titles, the nature of the Simpsons Facebook game is still unknown. Most likely though, it will follow the standard Facebook trait of being meant for play in short bursts. This is the type of business model that companies such as Zynga have mastered with its titles FarmVille and CityVille. As such, it will also most likely be free to play while also allowing for micro-transactions that give the player added benefits.
It would be interesting to see the Simpsons game offer exclusive real-world content from the series similar to the way Lady Gaga made tracks from her new album Born This Way available early in FarmVille. While it clearly wouldn’t have hardcore appeal, this connection to the popular television series would attract massive amounts of gamers of varying ages.
Alongside this announcement, EA went on to say that they are also working on bringing the popular simulation series Sim City to Facebook, but with CityVille already establishing itself as the model Facebook game, is there any hope that this popular series can draw on its past fame to overtake Zynga’s offerings?
Regardless of how you feel about the casual gaming market that thrives on Facebook, it’s a sign of changing times in the gaming industry. While it used to be a hobby for the hardcore, gaming has exploded into the mainstream, becoming available to absolutely everyone.
Would you play a casual Simpsons game on Facebook? How do you feel about the games that are available on this online platform?