Is It Really Casual Clone Wars? (No, Not About Star Wars This Time)

In this week I’ve been browsing different casual games out of interest. I checked some games that were put to time management and hidden object. Downloaded and gave a test run.

Simply testing the demos made me think how is it possible that these games are so similar (and new games are coming out daily). Naturally there are gaps in how well polished the games are, but still if you look at the top 5 hidden objects game, you can see that the game mechanism (ranging from when they tell story, when you can click stuff, when you can get hints and so on) is almost identical. It’s almost like only the skin changes.

(Anybody remember the times when every hardcore gamer was saying how “first person shooters are clones”…)

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining or saying that this would be a bad thing. Casual games are getting bigger and bigger market, and people are buying those games. I’m simply wondering how this can be?

How is it possible that almost every new casual game looks very similar to one top selling game there already is? At some point everybody was doing 3-match games, then it was the time of Betty’s Beer Bar (Diner Dash) time management games. Now the hidden object games. And mix of these.

Is it really so that it’s all clone wars?

Or will somebody figure out another new “casual genre”, and then somebody else makes it bit better & sells big time.

I wonder how it’s come to this point, and what the next big innovation is.

Your thoughts?

Juuso Hietalahti


  1. Working with as many casual devs as I do, I see tons and tons of games. Almost every game that comes out. And I ask this of a lot of the devs I talk to. Everyone is wondering the same thing, and seems to have varied opinions. One opinion I’ve heard a lot is that the future will be genre mixing and little tweaks on top of the popular genres. It sure seems to me like HO games are becoming a lot more like Adventure games.

  2. Virtual Villagers is a type of genre that hasn’t been cloned much. Also the Build-a-lot genre is quite new (which is being clone a little now). So new genres do come along every so often.

    Films clone, Books Clone, AAA Games Clone, Free Games Clone, Restaurants Clone, Fashion Clones, Music Clones, and so Casual games.

  3. Probably, allot of people like more of the same.
    One game is good, but after the player finish that game, he/she wants more of the same. And he/she find it at other games of the same type(“clones”).

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