Crosswords & The State of Gaming

Part
01
of two
Part
01

NYT Crossword App

The New York Times (NYT) Crossword app got its start as the New York Times Crosswords Daily in 2009 and was published by the games company Magmic. NYT took over control in 2014 and recently, has been adding new subscription-only games to entice more users to subscribe to the NYT Crossword app. Most advertising for the app is done through Twitter, although a recent out-of-home campaign — the first ever for the NYT Crossword — debuted in Boston and Seattle. Details of our findings are below.

HISTORY OF THE NEW YORK TIMES CROSSWORD APP

Early History with Magmic

The NYT Takes Over

  • In December 2013, the NYT began testing a beta version of NYT Crossword app as a "Try Version 2.0" option in the original app interface.
  • New features that would be included in version 2.0 were the following:
    • The ability to print PDF versions of the puzzle (web app only) was added.
    • In response to subscriber requests, the app would feature simplified menus for the "clear," "check," and "reveal" options.
    • The puzzles would have larger grids and smaller numbers.
    • The ability to complete rebus responses more easily was added.
    • The new version featured updated cursor logic so the cursor would skip squares filled with pen, but would not skip squares that are empty or filled with pencil.
    • The timer was updated to save a solver's stopping point so that it would start at the correct time when the player returned.
  • The New York Times formally took over control of the Crossword App and released the second non-beta version on May 29, 2014.
  • This was the first version that was completely produced by he NYT itself, without the involvement of Magmic.
  • The transfer of the subscription data from Magmic to the NYT was the "first time that Apple ha[d] ever transitioned user-ids of a subscription app," which as a technically challenging, multi-week process.
  • After 900 reviews the app only had an average 1.3-star rating in the iOS App store, with users calling the app "terrible," "a bungled opportunity," and "a major step backwards." Most complaints centered on users losing their past scores and access to the "Times' 18 years of crossword archives."
  • The price for a subscription to version 2.0 of the NYT Crossword app was $40 per year or $6.95 per month.
  • As of June 11, 2014, the app had 200,000 subscribers.

The Debut of the Mini Crossword

  • A few months later, in August 2014, the Mini crossword, constructed by Joel Fagliano, debuted as part of a new app subscription package and would only be available online or in the app.
  • The Mini crossword was an attempt to "encourage more people to try the main New York Times crossword puzzle, which is considered one of the toughest — and which many beginner solvers find overly intimidating."
  • Product director Matt Hural developed the concept of the Mini, which was a 5x5 crossword puzzle, and added it to the app. The Mini would be offered for free on a daily basis right next to the main crossword puzzle.
  • The idea was that beginners would solve the mini each day as a ramp up to solving (and paying for) the main puzzle.
  • The NYT found that the Mini was ideal for a "new generation of solvers" because it only took a few minutes to solve.
  • The Mini also made a "perfect steppingstone for solvers who’d long been intimidated by the difficulty of the main puzzle" and found a new previously-untapped audience.
  • In addition, because each Mini puzzle was created just days before it was published, it could contain topical clues that made it more relevant.

Updates and Device Expansions

  • In September 2014, the NYT Crossword app became available for Windows Phone 8 and Windows 8, and Windows Surface users could solve the puzzle using a stylus. The same app features were available for Windows as for iOS subscribers.
  • In 2015, the Mini became a part of the main NYT news app, which opened up to even more solvers.
  • In January 2015, several features and fixes were introduced to The New York Times Crossword Puzzle app for iPhone and iPad. They included the following:
    • Average solving times were added for unrevealed puzzles. Once a puzzle is solved (without revealing letters), the app would provide the time it took to solve the puzzle and how that compares with the solver's average time overall.
    • If any squares were revealed, that puzzle would not count toward the average, but the time-to-solve would still be provided.
    • A highlighting feature was introduced that would highlight the "info" button if there are any notes attached to a puzzle.
    • The ability to share solving times to Facebook and Twitter was added.
    • The ability to shake the device to undo a letter was added.
    • Downloaded puzzles could now be deleted, but would still be available for re-download later and original solving data would be retained.
    • A "close button" was added to close the "congratulations" screen.
  • In November 2016, the NYT Crossword app was made available to Android users for the first time.
  • The Android app included access to the daily crossword puzzle, the daily Mini puzzle, 20 years of archived puzzles, and a "play anywhere feature" that allowed subscribers to continue playing the same puzzle across devices.
  • As with the iOS app, the Mini puzzle could be accessed through the Google Play store for free. The subscription rate for the full version was also the same, at $39.95 per year or $6.95 per month, with a 50% discount for NYT digital and home delivery subscribers.
  • As of December 25, 2016, the apps had over 245,000 subscribers.

The Games Expansion Team Forms

  • In 2017, the NYT formed its "Games Expansion Team" to brainstorm and design new puzzles for the NYT Crossword app.
  • The team was tasked with attracting new subscribers — specifically international subscribers — to the app.
  • As Eric von Coelln, the Times’ executive director of puzzles stated, "As the Times looks to expand our base, being able to provide the kind of quality… puzzles to a broader international audience, it’s something we’re really looking to do."
  • In May 2018, the Crossword app was expanded to include a new puzzle exclusively for subscribers called "Spelling Bee," followed by another subscriber-exclusive puzzle, "Letter Boxed" in January 2019.
  • As part of a marketing incentive to lure more people to the Crossword App, "Spelling Bee" was offered for free to non-subscribers during the 2018 holiday season.
  • In June 2018, subscribers to the NYT Crosswords app topped 400,000.
  • On June 10, 2019, a new puzzle called "Tiles" was added to the NYT Crossword app.
  • The addition of "Tiles" was meant to be a "low-stakes game to help users relax and wind down, offering them what game designers hope will be an appealing, 'not too stressful' puzzle."
  • In the first quarter of 2019, the NYT Crossword app had more than 500,000 subscribers and more than 60% are standalone subscribers.
  • In the future, the NYT could look at spinning these new puzzles off into standalone apps, as the "Games Expansion Team" is "creating a product that has standalone value, but being inside the Times brand gives us even more ways of expanding that value to drive revenue for the Times."

Current App Features

  • Current subscriber features of the NYT Crossword app include the following:
    • The NYT Daily and Mini Crossword puzzles are downloaded to the app before they appear in print (at 10 p.m. ET on weekdays and at 6 p.m. ET on weekends).
    • Players have access to more than 10,000 NYT puzzles, including the Daily puzzles through 1993 and the Minis through 2014.
    • Players can access the puzzles on their computers, iOS devices, Android devices, and Kindle devices.
    • Every day at 3:00 a.m.ET, a new Spelling Bee and Letter Boxed puzzle is downloaded to the app.
    • Players have access to PDF copies of various puzzles that have appeared since 1997 in the Sunday Magazine.
    • For online subscribers (not mobile), there is access to the acrostics puzzles that have appeared since 1999 in the Sunday Magazine.
    • Players have access to the subscriber-only bonus puzzles through 1997.
    • Players can connect all devices through their New York Times account and sync their progress (puzzle packs are currently only available on the device on which they were purchased).
    • Players have access to Across Lite, a third-party application developed by Litsoft, that allows web and mobile web users the ability to print and play puzzles with the file extension .puz. (This software is not developed or supported by The New York Times).
  • Current prices for the NYT Crossword app are $6.99 per month or $39.99 per year, but the "Bite-Sized Minis" pack can be purchased for $0.99, "Best Easy Puzzles Ever" pack can be purchased for $4.99, and the "Mega-Mondays" and "Easy Jumbos" packs can be purchased for $8.99 each.
  • Current non-subscriber features of the NYT Crossword app include the following:

List of Versions, Updates, and Fixes (iOS Only)

  • This list is provided as insight into how often the NYT Crossword app is updated and what types of updates are made.
  • January 26, 2016 (This is the first update noted on the App Store) — Version 2.7.0 — A "tab bar" was introduced, which would make the app easier to navigate and fixes were made to the archive calendar, syncing capabilities, cursor skipping, and the "Congrats" message.
  • May 4, 2016 — Version 2.7.1 — Added the ability to use AirPlay to stream the NYT Crossword puzzle to Apple TV and fixed notifications.
  • September 7, 2016 — Version 2.7.2 — The authentication and login system was upgraded to improve the syncing process.
  • September 8, 2016 — Version 2.7.3 — Fixed a crashing problem.
  • October 6, 2016 — Version 2.7.4 — Optimized the app for iOS 10 and fixed a statistics reporting issue.
  • January 23, 2017 — Version 2.8.0 — Made access to the Mini and Daily puzzles easier, and fixed the "new-puzzle notification toggle on the profile screen."
  • February 13, 2017 — Version 2.8.1 — Improved puzzle packs screen display for the iPad.
  • June 29, 2017 — Version 2.8.2 — Added a prompt to ask user if they would like to continue their last puzzle if they have minimized the screen for longer than a minute.
  • September 7, 2017 — Version 2.8.4 — Fixed an issue with limited access during airplane mode and improved app stability.
  • October 10, 2017 — Version 2.8.5 — Optimized the app for iOS 11 and fixed statistics and puzzle pack screen display issues.
  • November 13, 2017 — Version 2.8.6 — Fixed contrast puzzle settings and crashing issues.
  • January 8, 2018 — Version 2.9.0 — Added a direct link to the Wordplay column for tips on completing puzzles, improved the Voice Over accessibility for visually impaired users, and optimized the app for iPhone X.
  • February 14, 2018 — Version 2.9.1 — Fixed crashing issues when restoring purchases of puzzle packs.
  • March 28, 2017 — Version 2.10 — Added a security update.
  • May 17. 2018 — Version 2.11 — Updated the settings screens for easier account management and added social sign-on capability for Facebook and Google.
  • May 23, 2018 — Version 2.12 — Bug fixes.
  • June 17, 2018 — Version 2.13 — Pinch-in and zoom fixes and visual enhancements.
  • July 23, 2018 — Version 2.14 — Added additional encouragement for puzzles that are nearly solved.
  • August 29, 2018 — Version 2.15 — Introduced Autocheck, a new feature that allows the answers to be checked by the letter and fixed a keyboard display issue.
  • August 31, 2018 — Version 2.15.1 — Additional bugs fixed.
  • September 25, 2018 — Version 2.16 — Introduced Siri shortcuts for "Solve the Crossword" and "Solve the Mini" for iOS 12 users and introduced a "From the Archive" section that highlights recommended puzzles based on user skill.
  • November 8, 2018 — Version 2.17 — Improved Voice Over capabilities and added additional solver feedback and encouragement.
  • December 17, 2018 — Version 2.18 — Added a highlighting feature of the "day of the week streaks."
  • March 19, 2019 — Version 2.19 — Updated the iOS password manager integrations and re-added the feature that shows how many puzzles are left to solve in a puzzle pack.
  • June 24, 2019 — Version 3.0 — Added leader boards for the Mini Crossword puzzle, updated "Recent Puzzles" to be a part of the "Play" tab, and added a highlighting feature for puzzles not yet solved.

MARKETING INSIGHTS

Historical Marketing Strategies

  • Not much appears in the way of marketing in the early years of The New York Times Crosswords Daily 2009 app.
  • On the NYT Crossword web page, subscribers could print and play the NYT Daily crossword puzzle for $39.95 per year or $6.95 per month. Home delivery subscribers received free access, but there is no mention of the actual iPhone app from Magmic.
  • In October 2009, a small blurb advertising the Magmic app shows up on the NYT Crossword page.
  • The link from the web page blurb leads to a short description of the app, which states, "Magmic Games and The New York Times are pleased to offer mobile versions of the world standard in Crossword and Sudoku puzzles. Both applications give users access to the same daily puzzles featured in The New York Times print edition with elegant user interfaces and multiplayer features. Officially licensed by The New York Times."
  • The NYT Crossword web page remained largely the same through 2012, but in 2013, the page dropped all information about the app, which coincided with the NYT takeover of the app.
  • It wasn't until August 1, 2015 that a new web page design appeared on the NYT Crossword page, when links to the Mini crossword, the subscriber page, and to other puzzles went live on the website.
  • On the "Subscribe to The New York Times Crossword" page, potential subscribers saw an offer for one month free, with access to the paper's "newly redesigned app" and the ability to "start a puzzle on one device and finish it on another."
  • In addition, the new subscriber page showed that Times subscribers received 50% off their crossword subscription.
  • The price remained the same, at $39.95 for a year or $6.95 per month and it was available on the App Store or the Windows Store.
  • The NYT Crossword page looked generally the same until 2019, when it changed slightly to include mention of one of the new puzzles available on the app (Spelling Bee) and a new way of advertising the price. For instance, rather than show the $39.95 per year and the $6.95 per month, the new site showed 81¢ per week (pay monthly) or 38¢ per week (pay yearly).
  • On the checkout page, it showed a total of $3.47 per month or $19.97 per year, which was the discounted price for subscribers. The full price was not advertised on the website.

Current Marketing Strategies

  • Currently, the New York Times Crossword app is advertised on the "Mobile Apps" page of the NYT website.
  • The links on the "Mobile Apps" page lead to the current New York Times Crossword app App Store download page, where the app currently has a 4.9-star rating on 48,500 reviews, and to the Google Play store download page, where the app currently has a 3.8-star rating on 2,490 reviews.
  • In February 2019, The New York Times launched an ad campaign for the Crossword Puzzle and specifically, the NYT Crossword Puzzle app.
  • The campaign, which debuted in Seattle and Boston, was an "out-of-home effort for the Crossword centered on the line 'Wordplay, every day,'" and encouraged "viewers to download the crossword app."
  • The advertisement showed "whimsical illustrated grids" and suggested times when playing the crossword could be a nice diversion (such as waiting for coffee to cool or for a date to show up).
  • The campaign is specifically focused on the Mini Crossword, which takes just minutes to complete, but as seen earlier, it is a clever mechanism for getting people to eventually subscribe to the full puzzle.
  • According to OOH Today, this campaign represented the first out-of-home marketing effort ever for the NYT Crossword puzzle and ran through March 21, 2019.
  • Advertisements were visible in Boston on digital out-of-home screens, billboards, on train station platforms, on buses, and in bus shelters. In Seattle, they were seen on light rail trains and in city buses.
  • As mentioned by The Drum, "The Times remains focused on growing Crossword subscriptions and engaging even more players by introducing new puzzles and games."

Twitter Advertisements

  • The NYT Crossword puzzle also has its own Twitter account which appears to have been created in 2016, but this is used for both the print and digital versions. Advertisements include the following:
  • RESEARCH STRATEGY

    To find the history of the New York Times Crossword app, we used media articles directly from the NYT, along with those from other reputable outlets such as CBSNews, Adage, Adweek, The Drum, and OOH Today, among others; the NYT Crossword blog; industry publications such as Polygon, Windows Central, and TouchArcade, among others; and the Internet Archive tool known as the Wayback Machine. This allowed us to provide a comprehensive timeline of the NYT Crossword app. We made sure to exclude any references to the print version of the puzzle, except where the two puzzles were advertised or linked in the same publication.

    In an effort to determine how the NYT Crossword app has and is being marketed, we again used the Wayback Machine to provide screenshots of advertisements. During our research, we discovered that until 2017, the newspaper did not advertise the app much at all, and in fact, did not seem to place any ads outside the newspaper's website. In an attempt to find such ads, we used the Times' own website (by way of the Wayback Machine), reputable marketing-focused sources (including Adage, Adweek, and The Drum), social media, and commercial archive sites like iSpot and Quartz. Unfortunately, all we found was a brief mention of the app when it first became available in 2009 and commercials for the newspaper itself.

    However, in 2017, a new Games Expansion Team was formed and this is when we finally found some advertisements for the app and new subscriber-only games on Twitter. It became apparent that social media has been the primary marketing outlet for the NYT Crossword since then. In 2019, though, it appears that the Games Expansion Team and the NYT are beginning to branch out as a first-ever out-of-home campaign to advertise the NYT Crossword app was launched in Boston and Seattle. This was the only formal off-Twitter advertising we were able to identify. However, media interviews with the Games Expansion Team members and other executives at NYT appear to be strategic marketing moves as well. The primary mechanisms for gaining subscribers until now are word-of-mouth, NYT subscriber discounts, the introduction of new subscriber-only puzzles, and social media.

    Note that by necessity for the historical nature of this request, many sources are beyond our 24-month limits. In addition, some information that may not be available through the Wayback Machine without using the filters has been added to a separate Google document for easier retrieval.
Part
02
of two
Part
02

Quarterly State of the Market

Some innovations that were announced during the second quarter of 2019 include cloud gaming, the modernization of classic casual games, possible new platforms for casual games, games within existing apps, using casual games for loyalty programs, using casual games for diagnostic and health tracking reasons, and the establishment of new casual games divisions within game development companies. Details of these innovations, as well as a list of casual games that debuted between April 1 and June 30, 2019, are below.

INNOVATIONS

Cloud Gaming

  • On April 8, 2019, the South China Morning Post published an article discussing the new direction in which gaming platforms are headed.
  • In a response to "changing customer behavior," video game developers are finding new ways to entice players to play.
  • Google is planning to debut Stadia later this year, which is a console-free game streaming service, which will allow players to store gaming sessions in the cloud and be able to "jump across phones, laptops and browsers with Google’s software."
  • Likewise, Apple announced its Apple Arcade, which is being advertised as the "Netflix of Games" and is expected to launch in the fall.
  • Subscribers will gain access to more than 100 Apple-currated games that are exclusive to the service.
  • In addition, players will not have to pay for extra content, which is a common business model for many mobile games.

  • On April 29, 2019, more details were revealed about Google's Stadia cloud gaming service. There will likely be subscription levels that allow gamers to play on an hourly, monthly, or yearly basis. The hourly component is a new wrinkle to gaming subscription plans and "makes it easier for cloud gaming skeptics to test out the service before they shell out $40 for an entire month."


  • On May 28, 2019, GameDaily published an interview with Jack Tretton, head of Interactive Gaming Ventures (IGV) and former head of Sony PlayStation, in which he said that all players in the industry, including independent developers are watching the advent of cloud gaming very closely.
  • Tretton stated that he is curious about the business model because "if I can just sign up for X dollars a month to play that game to my heart's content by streaming it, why would I buy it on another platform? As a developer and investor, I've got to see a business model that says this is as profitable and not a threat to putting my game out on console or PC to bring it over to a cloud streaming service."
  • He also indicated that cloud gaming may be better for casual games that have been on the market for a while than for other types of games or new releases. He states, "Any type of streaming service or any type of catalog subscription download is great for games that have kind of run their life cycle and are part of a selection of games you can play when you have some spare time."

  • On June 7, 2019, Google announced that Stadia, the new cloud video game streaming service, will be available in November.
  • Cloud gaming is expected to "massively expand the market" as streaming will make it possible for people to play games on "older PCs or Macs or smart TVs or a whole variety of things" and "the role of consoles is going to become diminished."
  • Exclusive games will be the key to success for cloud streaming services, as Piers Harding-Rolls, head of games research at IHS Markit stated, "I believe major exclusives will be key to driving consumer awareness of and desire to adopt cloud gaming services."

Modernizing Classic Casual Games

  • On May 15, 2019, Windows Central published an article about how Microsoft's Casual Games team is following the trend of putting a casual spin on previously non-casual games.
  • Specifically, Microsoft is developing Forza Street, a casual version of its Forza racing games and Gears POP!, a casual version of its Gears of War game.
  • In addition, the Casual Games team is tasked with modernizing games like Solitaire to appeal to today's gamers.
  • Paul Jensen, head of Microsoft's Casual Games team, stated, "We want to bring our entire portfolio up to speed and modernize it... Solitaire, Mahjong, Minesweeper, Sudoku, etc. We've been iterating on Solitaire, averaging updates every six to eight weeks for the past seven years"
  • Moreover, the team is considering bringing these existing games to new platforms. Jensen stated, "We would like to have Solitaire in every single place where it makes sense... our focus right now is building our portfolio on PC and mobile, and web[sites] too."
  • With the arrival of the Xbox Live API on iOS and Android, Microsoft has a renewed focus on mobile games.

  • On May 28, 2019, an interview with Peter Molyneux, founder of 22Cans, at Casual Connect London revealed that current innovation in the casual game space is to "make it simple... [and then] make it even simpler."
  • Molyneux believes that "in the games business, some of the biggest innovations were not radically new ideas, but evolutions of existing IP," so new iterations of classic games is the way many developers are innovating today.

  • In a May 30, 2019 interview at Casual Connect London, Jonathan Blow, Braid creator, agrees that chasing trends is not innovating. He states, "Everybody is always concerned with what’s going on right now. I’ve been doing this since 1996 and every couple of years there [are] new things, and everybody’s just as panicked and interested in new things. You have to decide, as a developer, what time frame am I trying to play on? Am I a developer who’s concerned with one or two years, or am I building an arc where I’m really going to accomplish something in twenty years?"

Possible New Platforms for Casual Games

  • On April 4, 2019, Forbes announced that Snapchat entered the social gaming space with six new games including "Bitmoji Party," "Alphabear Hustle." "C.A.T.S.: Drift Race," "Snake Squad," "Zombie Rescue Squad," and "Tiny Royale."
  • Snapchat indicated that the platform has low barriers to entry and that "developers are able to create games that accommodate at least 32 friends." This may represent an untapped market for casual games.

  • On May 29, 2019, Fast Company published an article on the upcoming Playdate console, which is a very limited video game-playing device that allows downloadable content.
  • The Playdate is expected to debut next year, but it is already going viral because it is an "off-center hardware project that could only be borne from independent companies."
  • The device will come with one game preloaded, then each week for 12 weeks, a new exclusive game will be downloaded.
  • Playdate games will not be "100-hour, multiplayer epics, but they’ll be fun diversions, requiring very little overhead for developers to create because the low-fi hardware means advanced physics and graphics are off the table."
  • The first 12 games are a precursor to other game packs that will be "purchasable after they’re released."
  • This article was included because it appears that this console may be an ideal match for independent casual games.

Hiding Games Within Existing Apps

  • On April 1, 2019, Forbes published an article on how to play Google's casual "Snake" game in Google Maps for April Fools' Day.
  • "Snake" was announced as a "primarily mobile game" that could be accessed by opening Google Maps on any mobile device and downloading the update.
  • Reviews indicated it wasn't the best Google Maps game ever embedded in the app, but it was a "perfectly fine way to kill a couple of minutes.

Casual Games for Loyalty and Rewards

  • On May 28, 2019, research and consulting company PSFK posted an article about Canadian supermarket No Frills' new online digital shopping video game that allows shoppers to earn reward points by playing a "retro style game" called "Hauler: Aisles of Glory."
  • The game is based on the "in-store shopping experience" and allows customers to "collect points hauling groceries and avoiding blocks like diamonds and expensive speed boats."
  • Gamers (and shoppers) can earn points based on real items that they purchase in-store, such as toilet paper, laundry detergent, apples, peppers, avocados, cookies, and more. Users can also earn points by just logging in every day.
  • This innovation may provide the opportunity for casual games to partner with retail outlets to combine game play with loyalty rewards programs.

Casual Games as a Diagnostic or Health-Tracking Tool

  • On April 28, 2019, Wral TechWire published the findings from a research study designed to detect Alzheimer's disease through video games.
  • Using a smartphone app called Sea Hero Quest, which is a casual maze game, researchers found that "players with a high genetic risk for Alzheimer’s took less efficient routes to reach checkpoints in the game."
  • Approximately 4.3 million people played the game, providing researchers with subjects for "the largest dementia study in history."
  • On May 29, 2019, Forbes ran an article about Nintendo's plans to create a sleep-tracking version of Pokemon Go, called Pokemon Sleep. While this is not a casual game, it does represent an innovation that may be the forefront of a new trend, which is using games to track heath-related data such as sleep.
  • Nintendo has delegated the task of creating a sleep-tracking Pokemon Go game to its Magikarp Jump team that will "serve as a regular, catching-based Plus during the day, but track your sleep at night."

A New Casual Games Division

Paywalled Resource

  • On June 24, 2019, ResearchandMarkets released a report entitled "Global Video Games Market Outlook to 2024: Analysis on the Immense Popularity of Battle Royale." This report is behind a paywall, but it includes innovations in the industry for console games, PC games, casual web games, and mobile games.

E3 RECAP

  • The 2019 Electronic Entertainment Expo was held on June 11 – June 13, 2019, and the buzzword at the E3 event, as it is known, was "casual gaming."
  • According to Gigaom, "Almost every game maker in attendance had casual gaming on their briefing agenda, even if only name-dropping the idea." The "casual" tag applied to "family-friendly games, games for everyone, usability, intuitive controls, and accessibility."
  • Electronic Arts dedicated an entire press conference at E3 to its Casual Games Division and showcased its games for the Nintendo Wii, as well as its mobile and internet-based games. The company stated that casual gaming is "the fastest-growing area within all of gaming."
  • Ubisoft spent about half its press conference talking about its "Games for Everyone" initiative, which the company expects to drive 20% of its total revenues for 2019, more than double its share from 2018.
  • Microsoft spend time promoting its "upcoming line of 'family-oriented' games" and Sony debuted its EchoChrome game, which is essentially a "black-and-white perspective puzzle game."
  • Midway, Activision, 2K, and THQ all mentioned their commitment to casual games for consoles, mobile phones, and Internet browsers.
  • A list of all upcoming games announced at E3 can be found here. The platforms and genres for each game are not noted for all games and it appears that most announcements were for PC, console, and Steam, but it is likely there are some casual games for mobile and browsers that were announced as well.

NEW CASUAL GAME APP RELEASES APRIL – JUNE 2019

UPCOMING CASUAL GAME APP RELEASES

RESEARCH STRATEGY

To find announcements regarding new releases and innovations within the casual gaming segment specific to apps and browsers, we began by searching industry publications like GameCrate, GameInformer, AndroidAuthority, IGN, GamePressure, and Metacritic, among others. This tactic provided us with lists of new releases, along with their release dates and genres. This allowed us to cobble together a comprehensive list of casual games that had been released during the second quarter of 2019 (which was defined as between April 1, 2019 and June 30, 2019). To make our list, the game genre either had to be specifically titled as "casual" or fall into a casual category like puzzle, cards, general action, or general. We did not include strategy, MMO, first-person shooter, AR/VR (except Angry Birds), simulation, adventure, role-playing, battle royale, or sports games, as these did not appear to fit the definition of the casual genre.

After finding the casual games that had been released for the second quarter of 2019, we turned our attention to announcements of innovations. For this, we likewise used industry publications first, but augmented our findings with articles from reputable media sources such as Forbes, Yahoo! Finance, Reuters, Fast Company, and USA Today, among others. These allowed us to determine what is new and innovative in the industry based on the types of services and products discussed, as well as the frequency with which they are mentioned. We also included a link to a paywalled research report that was released in late June that could also offer information on innovations in the industry. Finally, we examined recent news out of the Electronics Entertainment Expo (E3), which was held in early June to shed some light on what was discussed in terms of casual gaming at this premier annual gaming convention.
Sources
Sources

From Part 01
From Part 02