PopCap Exec Dislikes “Casual Gaming”


Greg Canessa, vice president of videogame platforms at casual gaming giant PopCap Games, isn’t a fan of “casual games.”

The term “casual” can have too many meanings, Canessa said in an interview with Edge-Online, saying it could refer to a genre, a style of gameplay or a gamer’s attitude toward a particular game. While it may have been appropriate prior to the Bejeweled phenomenon, which saw casual gaming explode into the mainstream, these days the genre has grown to become a driving force in the videogame industry. “It’s out of date. We’ve evolved past it,” Canessa said. “I’m an executive of PopCap… but in the past I’ve specifically crapped on the word ‘casual.’ I don’t like the term ‘casual,’ and I’m not going to defend it.”

“It’s a term of convenience for the industry,” he continued. “They needed a name for these downloadable games for PC aimed primarily at women. So they called these games ‘casual.’ I don’t disparage people, including PopCap, for using that term. But I don’t like the term because it’s not a precise term.”

Canessa, who joined PopCap in early 2007 after a stint as general manager of Microsoft’s Xbox Live Arcade, said someone who only plays puzzle games, but sinks 100 hours a week into them, is “probably not” a casual gamer. “But it’s a known term,” he added, “like it or leave it, and PopCap continues to use it.” Canessa’s preferred terms for the genre, meanwhile, may be more descriptive but don’t roll off the tongue nearly as smoothly.

“I like ‘games for everyone,’ and I think that ‘broad-appeal entertainment’ is very descriptive,” he said. “Something like that.”

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