When people think of gaming today, their mind probably goes straight to eSports. Ten years ago, few people had heard of the term for competitive video game play.
Today, it’s one of the most prolific and fastest growing sectors in entertainment. Top-earning players have tallied up to £7million in earnings, while leagues for games like Dota 2 now offer prize pools of close to £50 million.
Overwhelmingly, these leagues focus on highly competitive and fast-paced games. Players must be able to make quick and highly accurate decisions, sometimes working as a team and other times solo.
For the average person who hasn’t played a video game, eSports are overwhelming to watch. After all, there’s a reason younger generations gravitate towards this type of entertainment: they grew up with it. For non-digital natives and even those who grew up with home consoles and handheld consoles, eSports might simply be unattractive due to its pace and learning curve. However, that doesn’t mean these types of highly casual gamers aren’t enjoying digital gaming.
In fact, there’s been a rise in puzzle and brain games that offer casual and logical fun. Most of these are played on mobile devices, making them accessible and perfect for short stints. Here’s why these titles, despite all the flash and big money of eSports, are picking up steam with casual gamers.
A New Spin on Nostalgia
It might seem odd that, today, so much focus is being placed on casual and brainy games, but humans have been interested in strategy and puzzles for centuries. Let’s cover a quick example.
Poker originated from other card games like pochen, which means it’s slowly been evolving for centuries.
Some scholars even point to the medieval game of As-Nas as a possible Persian origin of the modern game. Studying a glossary of important terms highlights just how varied and complex poker is as a brain game.
Players must memorise hand rankings, learn when to make their moves, and even know how to read their opponents.
Given how long the game has been around, mobile players today who call and bluff their way to the top are enjoying an activity that’s actually been present for hundreds of years.
Viewed in this way, brain games include an element of nostalgia—and they’re often a bit more familiar than a digital-age-only game like PUBG Mobile.
Accessible for All Ages
A person in their 30s, 40s, and 50s is more likely to know the basics of poker than the basics of a mobile eSport game like Garena Free Fire. This is true far beyond the realm of poker, as well. Let’s take a look at another example: Ludo. Like poker has been around in the west for centuries, Ludo comes from the ancient Indian game of parchisi.
Today, ludo is the most-played mobile game in the country. That’s because the strategy board game is played by people of all ages. Whether or not a person has a passing interest in eSports or competitive gaming, they’re likely familiar with the Ludo board and its rules. Even if they’d never consider themselves a ‘gamer’, Ludo is a title that they’d likely gravitate towards regardless of their age.
An Exciting Multiplayer Format
So far, we’ve covered how puzzle and brain games are nostalgic and accessible for people of all ages. While eSports has a hold on younger generations, casual mobile titles remain the domain of gamers of all ages. But there’s another reason why they’ve picked up steam in the past five years: puzzle games have started to expand multiplayer options.
In keeping with the above examples, a poker player can invite friends to play in a ‘home game’, which is a private and online game between friends. This means friends can sit around the virtual table no matter how far apart they’re living. The same goes for titles like Ludo, which is a multiplayer game. Anyone who downloads a Ludo app can invite others to play against them or they can face off against anonymous strangers.