From: PlayActive (a LavaMind Company)
Published: Mon Dec 05 2005

LavaMind, a San Francisco-based game company that has been producing award-winning games for over a decade, has just launched PlayActive (, a game publisher focused on the $600 million casual gaming market.

Over the past five years, the market for casual games has grown from almost nothing to a multimillion dollar business dominated by puzzle games, card games, and word games. By 2008, analysts forecast the casual game market will reach $2 billion, with $1 billion coming from downloads and the rest coming from advertising and subscriptions.

The growing appeal of casual games isn't a mystery. "Most people can’t afford to sit down and play a game for two hours," says Naomi Kokubo, President of LavaMind, "but they still want to play. That's where casual games come in. They're the snack food of the game business. It's like having a power bar instead of a whole meal."

The sweet spot for casual games is women in their 30s and 40s, but it's not just women playing these games -- it's boys, girls, men, and even the elderly. "The beauty of these games," says Kokubo, "is that they're truly mass market. Believe it or not, even hardcore gamers enjoy them as a break between other games, and the elderly are using them to maintain their cognitive skills. It's addictive exercise for the brain."

LavaMind's goal is to design games so that the player is satisfied with the experience within five minutes, but the game itself goes on and on. "Usually, someone tries our games for a micro-break, expecting to play less than 10 minutes," says Kokubo, "but they might end up sticking around for an hour or more."

Unlike the video games, casual games don't cost millions to develop. "Because of the lower development costs, we can afford to experiment," says Kokubo. "Our goal is to launch 10 games over the next year, with each game targeted at a slightly different demographic within the casual market."

As the casual game market grows, analysts expect it to rival the PC and console game markets. LavaMind plans to grow with the market, building out it's gaming portal, increasing the production value of its titles, and expanding its distribution from the PC and Mac to interactive TV platforms, wireless devices, portable media players, and even Internet connected consoles, like the Xbox 360.


LavaMind ( is a San Francisco-based game publisher that owns and operates the PlayActive gaming portal ( LavaMind has published numerous titles, including the games Serpengo, Wordigo, Gazillionaire, Zapitalism and Profitania, as well as the websites the Virtual Pet Cemetery, Utterly Outrageous Recipes, and the LavaMind Study Center.


752 - 38th Ave.
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Company: PlayActive (a LavaMind Company)
Contact Name: Tom Harting
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