Big Fish expanding in sea of casual game lovers

Big Fish Games is diving into more countries as the sea of casual game lovers grows exponentially worldwide.

The company behind "Mystery Case Files" is adding Brazilian, Portuguese, Danish, Dutch, Italian, and Swedish language websites in a move to enlarge its customer base.

Seattle-based Big Fish is on track to easily top 100 million dollars in revenue this year, with more than half of the money coming from outside the United States.

Big Fish has offerings in France, Spain, Germany, and Japan and bills itself as the top online subscription service for casual games played on computers.

Women ranging in age from 25 to 65 years old make up about 80 percent of Big Fish customers, with the company's core audience described as "moms and kids."

"Our games are easy to play, hard to master and as a result fairly addictive," Lewis said while discussing the appeal of Big Fish titles in genres including puzzles, strategy, board games and brain teasers.

"There is no blood, no violence, no foul language, no advertising," he continued. "We define casual as accessible by anyone, playable by anyone, and reprehensible by no one."

Members of the Big Fish game club typically pay seven dollars to download a game while the price is 10 dollars or more for non-members. More than a billion games have reportedly been distributed from bigfishgames.com.

The eight-year-old firm has a studio but also gets titles from hundreds of independent developers worldwide. Big Fish club members can try games for free before deciding whether to buy them.

"Historically, games were a guilty pleasure," Lewis said. "Companies like ours have paved the way for consumers to openly embrace their love of casual games."

(c) 2010 AFP

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