NEWS - Friday, February 23, 2007

Microsoft Launches Casual Gaming Website

About Microsoft Casual Games Microsoft® Casual Games now offers more than 400 games via MSN® Games, Messenger Games, Microsoft Windows® Games, Xbox Live® Arcade and soon mobile games, providing the ultimate playing experience to more than 125 million casual gamers per month and allowing players from around the world to compete, collaborate and socialize — anywhere, anytime. What Is a Casual Game? Casual games are a variety of card, puzzle, word and arcade-style games available on all five of Microsoft Corp.’s game platforms. From PC to mobile platforms, casual games are known for being easy to learn and difficult to master — providing gameplay that gives you a fun, entertaining break whether you’ve got five minutes or five hours. Who Plays Casual Games? If you’ve ever played solitaire on your PC, you’ve played a casual game and might even be considered a “casual gamer.” A casual gamer is anyone — regardless of age, experience or gender — who enjoys taking a break and having a bit of fun with an online, downloadable or networked game. In fact, playing games is the third most common activity users do with their personal computers (No. 1 is using e-mail; No. 2 is Web browsing). According to DFC Intelligence and the Casual Games Association, the number of consumers attracted to free casual games is estimated to be more than 150 million worldwide, which means 57 million people in North America will play casual games online at least once this year, up from 34 million four years ago. From grandparents and kids to teenagers and working parents, everyone can benefit from the relaxation and stress-reducing entertainment that comes with playing casual games. According to a recent comScore Media Metrix study, there are more than 60 million visits to online games sites per month; 52 percent of those visitors are female, and of those women the majority are age 25 or older. How Big Is the Casual Games Industry? The casual games space is growing at an unprecedented rate, and Microsoft has emerged as an undisputed leader in multiple-platform casual offerings, with more than 10 years of experience in the space. According to DFC Intelligence, revenue from casual games is expected to grow from $713 million (U.S.) in 2005 to $1.56 billion (U.S.) in 2008, fueled by the global appeal of games such as “Bejeweled,” “Hexic®,” “Diner Dash” and “Bespelled.”


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