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When you hear “gaming”, your first thought is probably some massively multiplayer battle royale played by millions around the world, perhaps an epic RPG with a huge world to explore, maybe an action-packed science-fiction adventure that you can experience from a first-person perspective. Among these high-profile titles, there are quite a few massively successful titles, selling millions of copies and often spawning franchises with dozens of entries. But no matter how big their player bases are, these high-profile games pale in comparison with casual games.

Casual games are usually simple and fun to play with short sessions that their players can easily fit into a lunch break or a ride on public transport. They are very easy to learn (and sometimes surprisingly hard to master), and definitely addictive, always leaving players craving for more. And more. Perhaps this is what makes some casual game types so incredibly popular and successful.

There are several basic types of casual games that appeal to a surprisingly large number of players, across several device classes, and many demographics. These types are perhaps the most successful of them all.

Match 3

As the name suggests, the goal of “match 3” games is to match at least three tiles (gems, candy or whatever else the designer thinks of) on a grid, to make them disappear. This game type is around for longer than you may think: among the first titles that fit you find titles like Tetris and Chain Shot!, both released in the 1980s.

One of the most successful desktop “match 3” games is Bejeweled, PopCap Games’ 2001 title that sold more than 10 million copies. Its success pushed the genre into the spotlight, leading to the release of many copycats, and ultimately to the launch of the (in)famous Candy Crush Saga, the fifth most successful mobile game in history ($5.14 billion in revenues as of last year), and the second-most-downloaded mobile game across all platforms.

Social casino games

Those who think all gamblers are in it for the win are wrong: there are plenty of players that are simply passionate about the quick and easy fun of casino games, no matter if they play at a social outlet or the JackpotCity online casino. Social casino games are surprisingly popular, especially among members of certain demographics, and millions are playing – more or less casually – in online outlets like the JackpotCity.

A 2017 report published by gaming intelligence powerhouse Newzoo has shown that more than a third of all PC gamers across the US, UK, and Australia have played social casino games, with the bulk being in the 36 to 70 demographic. These players prefer slot machines, playing at outlets like Slotomania or MyVegas, and bingo, a game especially popular in the UK. At the time, Big Fish Casino was the most popular app, with more than 10 million downloads on Android alone.

Endless runners

Finally, let us mention one of the most successful casual game types that, unlike many others, relies on dexterity and reflexes rather than luck or eyesight: endless runners. Especially Subway Surfers.

As of last December, Subway Surfers was the single most successful mobile game with more than 2.7 billion downloads since its release in 2012. In 2019, the title was the third-most-downloaded title, and in the last decade, it clearly dominated the players’ preferences, overtaking all of the above, along with all similar games with themes inspired by popular franchises like Despicable Me: Minion Rush, Sonic Dash, and others.