The Ten Best Casual Gaming Articles of 2014 – Part 1

Matthew Warneford

So far this year readers of our TWICG (This Week in Casual Games) newsletter have wanted to find out more about Flappy Bird, how to retain users, and make more money from those playing their games. We know this because we’ve been looking at which stories have been clicked the most so we can put the ten most popular into this blog post. Other stories that caught our readers’ attention looked at Candy Crush, Clash of Clans and nearer the end of the year our virtual reality.

If you haven’t signed-up for TWICG yet, click here and get the week’s most insightful casual game articles sent to your inbox in one handy weekly email.

For now, here are the ten stories that our readers have clicked on more than any other over the past six months.

How Flappy Bird Became an Overnight Success

At the start of 2014 Flappy Bird became the biggest game on the app stores, had a mysterious and elusive developer and took over the Dubit office. Most interesting of all, nobody saw it coming! So how did such a simple game, from a developer nobody had heard of before, make it to the top of the charts? Techcrunch spoke to the game’s creator to find out. As well as reading the article also check out the comments section for other possible explanations.

The Emotions that Trigger In-game Spending

At the heart of the free-to-play model is the understanding that people will pay for your in-app purchases if they find your game fun – but what is fun? According to Nicole Lazzaro of XEODesign it’s driven by four emotions: curiosity, frustration, amusement, and desire. In this article the author examines how these four emotions can improve engagement and in-game spending.

Ten key Facts About Mobile Games in 2014

We know everyone doesn’t have the chance to read every issue of TWICG, so this listicle from the Guardian acted as a handy reminder of what’s been going on in mobile gaming. If you’ve been wondering if people are still paying for mobile games, if Angry is still the most popular type of bird, or how TV is playing its part in mobile success, this is the article for you.

How to Create a Billion Dollar Game

Writing for Develop game designer and free-to-play advocate Oscar Clark has detailed what he sees as key to creating the next billion dollar game. Drawing on the opinions of other experts Clark points towards an understanding of your audience and being unique (so stop trying to emulate Candy Crush and Clash of Clans). Warning: we can’t guarantee that reading this article will ensure your next game grosses one billion dollars, but it might help.

The DNA of Candy Crush

While Candy Crush has been busy making billions for its publisher, King, it’s also been criticised as a clone of Bejewelled and an example of everything that’s wrong with free-to-play. In May we decided to investigate these claims by examining the DNA of Candy Crush and four other popular match-3 games. In this post we find out what makes them what they are, why they succeed and whether Candy Crush is as bad/great as people say.

What Makes Games Addictive?

Candy Crush, Farmville and Clash of Clans all have one thing in common – they’re incredibly hard to put down! But why is this? The answer is in psychology. In this feature for the Guardian Keith Stewart outlines the hidden processes that sit under some of the most popular games, including Candy Crush, Angry Birds, Farmville, Clash of Clans and Flappy Birds. So next time you find yourself unable to put Angry Birds down you can blame the disproportionate feedback.

Lessons Learned From Flappy Bird

February began with the amazing story of Flappy Bird – the game nobody had heard of which suddenly became the biggest thing on the App Store! But at the time of writing Flappy Bird is no more and has been replaced by a wave of clones. Games Industry International spoke to a number of developers and polled them on what we can learn from sudden rise and fall of Flappy Bird.

Understanding Clash of Clans’ Monetization Structure

Whether it’s the Simpsons: Tapped Out, Smurfs Village or Clash of Clans the formula for ‘click and create’ mobile games is rather standard, as is the monetization system. That’s what makes this post on the All Work All Play blog so interesting. Using a number of graphs and formulas its author manages to explain the how Clash of Clans prices its currencies, balances discounts and the affect they have on real money and time.

Seven Tips for Virtual Reality Worlds

Earlier this year we created our first virtual world designed to be experienced with a virtual reality headset! This post on our blog breaks down what we’ve learned from developing for virtual reality and what you can do to get the most from VR.

Five Reasons why Players Leave your Game

With player acquisition costs rising, making sure those who play your game come back to it has never been more important. Fortunately this report featured in Gamasutra makes use of data taken from 80 free-to-play games to highlight the five most common reasons that players leave.

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