Casual Connect Europe: There's no place for tutorials in casual games, says King.com's Tommy Palm
Tips for cross-platform success
When is a casual game a casual game? When it doesn't have a tutorial, according to King.com's mobile guru Tommy Palm.
Speaking during this year's Casual Connect Europe in Hamburg, one of Palm's top tips for studios looking to make a splash in the casual scene is to do away with tutorials.
"If you need a tutorial to explain your game, then perhaps it's not really casual," he opened, before going on to explain why King.com is so driven on focusing on cross-platform releases.
Spreading games across multiple devices isn't just a case of scooping up more downloads, but rather helps discovery and engagement across all the chosen formats – especially mobile.
"Casual games fit the profile of multiple platforms very well," said Palm, noting that the three biggest platforms for such releases for the future are Facebook, smartphones, and – most importantly – tablets.
Facebook appeals to first time gamers, said Palm, and helps bring newcomers across to mobile platforms. Mobile itself has "changed the landscape of games forever" thanks to the launch of Apple's iPhone in 2007 and the latter release of the App Store in 2008.
Tablets, however, offer a whole new breed of casual gamer, with users typically using their slates as "dedicated gaming devices."
Tablets, therefore, shouldn't just be home to mobile ports, Palm suggested, but rather should benefit from dedicated versions of games – even if those games are multiformat.
"This is the best gaming platform out there right now," said Palm of tablets. "It's important to respect it as a different platform to smartphones."
Indeed, touchscreens as a whole require a whole new approach from developers – something studios are still only now getting to grips with in 2013.
"Mouse game control is not the same as using a touchscreen, and using a touchscreen is not the same as using a joypad," offered Palm. "For smartphones, there is no layer of obstruction when it comes to controls."
Targeting all forms of control at once requires "small multi talent teams working in agile environments," he added, as well as rapid prototyping and testing, intuitive controls, game design that "respects user data", and – crucially - no tutorials.
No one could say King.com doesn't know what it's doing, either. In December alone, the mobile version of Candy Crush Saga amassed 10 million downloads, and King.com is "looking to recruit heavily in mobile to meet the demand of our fans."
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