"Casual" computer/videogames -- those family-friendly, non-violent puzzle, word, trivia and classic arcade-style games are now played by more than 100 million people regularly -- over half of whom are female. Games like Bejeweled, Diner Dash, Bookworm and Chuzzle collectively consume more than 3 billion hours of women's leisure time per year, according to PopCap Games, the leading developer and publisher of casual games.
PopCap's own website demographics reflect the increasing popularity of casual games among women. Of the 7 million monthly visitors to www.popcap.com, 72.8% are female, 71% are over the age of 35 and more than 43% are married with children.
Part of the appeal of casual games to women may lie in the potential health benefits these games can provide. "Casual word and puzzle computer games such as 'Bejeweled' can help people exercise and enhance their concentration and focusing skills, and control stress by cognitively 'blocking out' the negative stresses of the day, at least temporarily," says Dr. Carl Arinoldo, a psychologist in Stony Brook, N.Y., who is a stress-management expert.
Available for PCs, Macs and mobile devices, casual games are inexpensive (usually around $20), yet provide many more hours of entertainment -- and even relaxation -- than the traditional "hardcore" games many women steer clear of.
"Casual games are a great way to take a break, relax for a little while and de-stress after a long day," says Michele Lewis, a mother of four who home-schools her children while holding down two jobs.
Best of all, casual games are inexpensive (usually around $15-20 each) and can be purchased online, so the game is available right away. There's literally something for everyone, from spelling words with tumbling alphabet blocks and matching sets of colored gems to caring for fish in a virtual aquarium.
Check out these popular sources of downloadable games:
Yahoo Games ( http://get.games.yahoo.com/ )
PopCap Games ( http://www.popcap.com/ )
AOL Games ( http://games.aol.com/ )
Real Arcade ( http://www.realarcade.com/ )
Microsoft Games Zone (http://zone.msn.com/ )
SOURCE: PopCap Games
CONTACT: Garth Chouteau of PopCap Games, +1-415-602-8147, or
Web site: http://www.popcap.com/