Wednesday, January 24, 2007

When the little guys aren't so little anymore...

Saw this on Kotaku today:

Ritual Entertainment Bought by Casual Games Dev Mumbo Jumbo.

Mumbo Jumbo are the makers of the popular casual game as Luxor, among others.

That's got to have a lot of people in hard-core games land going "huh? by who?!"

I probably shouldn't comment too much given that I have a professional relationship with these guys and others like them in the space.

I will point out one thing though. The press release states:

"The combination of Ritual's(TM) high-end, multi-platform expertise and our own industry-leading publishing model will set the bar for quality and sophistication in casual games and create a major industry powerhouse. The casual games market is beginning to mature as evidenced by an increase in consumer expectations. Ultimately, the companies providing the best content will win, which is why we are investing so heavily in the development of technology and original IP."

I have to agree with the assertion that consumer expectations are rising in terms of quality, and eventually, some of that translates to production costs. Developers that think that the cost of casual game development is going to remain as conservative as it is today may be mistaken. At the very least it will split into different strata (the MMO space is probably a good example. there is room for targetted, niche, and/or quirky low-production-cost MMOs, but those developers are very concious of the fact that they are flying under the radar of the big guys. If you want World of Warcraft's customers, you better pony up on production costs to compete.