Jessica Rovello Interview


posted 1/5/2007 by Charles Husemann
other articles by Charles Husemann
One Page Platforms: PC
GamingNexus: Where do you see the line between casual games and hard core games?
For the most part our games, and I’m going to generalize here but I think this is how a lot of people in the industry define it, are gamers that you can learn in under 30 seconds. So you don’t really have to spend a night reading a manual, you don’t need to learn cheat codes, and they are very simple to learn. In a lot of cases, with the strategy and the puzzle games they take a long time to master but you don’t need to take a thesis course to figure out the game play. I think a lot of people who older are a little bit intimidated by what’s considered the core market right now in terms of the learning curve they have to go through to just to be able to engage the game they are playing. 
GamingNexus: Do you see the market changing at all as the average of gamers gets old. Do you see the age of your demographic shifting up or staying the same? 
I think it is going to shift up. I think there are tons of core gamers now who are eventually going to make up the bulk of gamers in the future and they will shift up the casual gamer to maybe even a little bit older than they are right now. You’re definitely going to have forty and fifty year olds who in ten years who are still playing their PS3 or Xbox 360 or whatever the equivalent is going to be ten years from now.    We see the service we are providing in the market we are providing it to as being very, very big and very, very strong. We don’t see it going anywhere and it’s interesting because a lot of people who define themselves as gamers are just the people who have a game system in their house or play World of Warcraft or who play what we consider to be more core games. But if you go into any office and you look behind the majority of women’s desks, you’ll see Solitaire half the time. Those women are playing upward of sixteen to twenty hours per week so for us that’s pretty hard core, even though they are playing casual games. The amount of time they are spending is a lot. 
GamingNexus: Is there any kind of conversion from your audience to the core audience or does it pretty much end with the casual games. For example, do you see people who started playing Mahjongg and have migrated over to World of Warcraft?
That’s difficult for us to track because we aren’t offering the more hardcore games so we can’t see how that progression would take place. I think it’s there and I think it is evidenced by what you are seeing now in Xbox Live Arcade. That there are people who have game systems in their house now who are women that have sons who are playing on the Xbox and when they realize they can get games like Bejeweled and play them on the Xbox then they are already getting one step of the way there before moving on to games that are a little more serious and a little more hardcore.
GamingNexus: You talked about designing for women, do you specifically design a game for women or do you look for a great game that you think women will enjoy? 
I think that we look for great games that women will enjoy. It is difficult to talk about this because I believe in what we do and I believe what we do appeals to women specifically but at the same time I feel that what we do really more broadly appeals to the casual gamer as opposed to a woman casual gamer. I see people in our industry who look to make games that they are “Targeting to Women” and a lot of times those games have cartoony characters or they have ponies. They have things that might appeal to an 8 year old girl but they are not appealing to a 35 year old woman. So I think what we are trying to do is appeal the core casual gamer in our design. So it’s light and it’s airy and it’s fun because what the casual gamer is looking to do is de-stress, have a good time, and forget about everything else that is going on around them. 
GamingNexus: Do you have any thoughts on the Nintendo Wii and what they are trying to do with the system?
I think it’s really interesting. I don’t have a Wii yet but I do have a DS and I use it a lot. I think that it’s a great step forward in terms of the industry and how they are looking to target different gamers that those who are playing the Xbox 360 and PS3. It’s kind of a new generation of gamers and a new segment of gamers to get them interested in video gaming whereas they might not of in the past.  
GamingNexus: What games are you playing now? 
Hmm, gaming is my job so a lot of the games that I play every single day are the games that we have on our site. So I mostly play causal games, so the games we’re putting out on our site which are free online games like slot games, puzzle games, and word games. I play a lot of games like backgammon and I play all of the new casual games that hit the market that are in the downloaded space which we also offer on our site. Games like Travelog 360 Paris, Diner Dash 3, Slingo Quest, Mystery Case Files, and anything else that is in the casual game space right now.
GamingNexus: Do you have a favorite game of all time?
Definitely, Ms Pacman. As old school as that is I could play it all day, every day.
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