The Growing Popularity of Free & Casual Games

Free online internet gaming has exploded over the past 10 years and now comprises a large collection of game developers, publishers, web portals, and millions of casual game players. Talented game developers are in more limited supply than publishers and portals. Yet, they are steadily growing in supply as more companies and brands look for sponsorship deals with high-quality upcoming free games.

Casual Games

Wide brand exposure can be gained from sponsoring free online games, and more companies are looking towards game sponsorship and in-game product placement as a serious advertising platform. Portals are in the greatest supply, with a huge amount of gaming-orientated sites offering the developers creations. Indeed some game developers also offer their own web portals such as Ninjakiwi and Armor Games. These are two more popular and innovative gaming developers, with Armor Games holding a top 1000 traffic rating.

Behind such successes are talented flash game designers and coders; usually, one or two experienced designers plant the seeds of top free gaming websites. Casual gaming, both free and paid downloads, have become so huge online that the genre has the greatest presence in the world’s most highly trafficked websites.


Ninjakiwi has an in-house team of developers; they are owners of the trendy brand of games named Bloons. The first Bloons game was introduced in mid-2007, and the series has already been played hundreds of millions of times. If you compare such an audience exposure rate to the most popular video watched on youtube, it is easy to see why advertisers are turning to free online games to reach global audiences. What’s more intriguing are the demographics behind casual game players, with a considerable percentage of the audience being young adults. This demographic has caught the attention of many blue-chip companies, including mobile giants Orange and O2, who regularly advertise through Mochiads – an in-game preloading ads platform.

As the advertising revenue increases for free games, so will their design’s creativity, detail, and complexity. Developers are now creating games targeted specifically at certain age ranges, including teens, young adults, and mums.

Ninjakiwis’ list of games is expanding rapidly. As their brand has received greater exposure over the past year, they have branched out from their original success of Bloons to produce other games with different concepts; some have been received with more enthusiasm than others. Some of their successes include:

Bloons – Including the player packs, more bloons, and even more bloons, tower defense games, hot air balloons,

  • Bloons pop 3
  • Boombot Games – 1 and 2
  • Hotcorn Games – 1 and 2
  • Potion Madness
  • Powerpool
  • Replay Racer – 1 and 2
  • Rings
  • Shinju
  • Sinta
  • Zeba

Ninjakiwi has established a loyal fan base, with their range being published across hundreds of medium to large-sized gaming portals. One of their advertising platforms is through the previously mentioned Mochiads, a major advertising platform for game developers and game publishers who earn revenue from publishing games. A small advert is shown whilst each game is loading in a web browser; developers and publishers earn money from game impressions and advert clicks.

The other free games developer previously mentioned Armor games are the larger of the 2. Armor develops in-house games and sponsors independent developers, funding their creations and offering revenue sharing across their advertising platform. Armor Games has a much more extensive range of games than Ninjakiwi and have funded the creation of some of the most imaginative games on the internet; a list of some of their best games is compiled below:

  • Armed with Wings – 1 and 2
  • Crush the Castle
  • Hedgehog Launch
  • Hedgehog Launch 2
  • Fancy Pants Adventure – 1 and 2
  • Gemcraft
  • Gemcraft Chapter 0
  • The Last Stand 1 & 2
  • Pillage the Village
  • Sonny
  • Sonny 2
  • Warfare 1917

It is common to find developers and portals alike sharing each other’s games. This idea was originally invoked by the biggest casual free game provider on the internet – Their success grew from allowing web admins to publish their games on thousands of smaller sites. Sharing and creating viral copies of successful games can prove a very lucrative strategy on the internet.

There are many more high-quality game developers, publishers, and portals; ones worth a mention include Crazy Monkey Games, Addicting Games, Newgrounds, and Kongregate. Free game production has also seen the remake of many old classic arcade games, which will delight fans of the 80’s arcade.

Classic games such as PacMan, Ms. PacMan, Space Invaders, Pong, and Frogger have all been remade using flash and are now available to play as free online games. Paul Neave, a talented flash developer, is responsible for such flash reproductions.

More comprehensive flash gaming communities have sprung up within this landmark 10 year period of growth. One example of a trendy community is MechQuest, one of the currently 5 flash games created by Artix Entertainment. MechQuest is an online Fantasy/Sci-Fi Web RPG game that offers both a free and premium paid side. The game is built using flash and has millions of members in its community. Striking a balance between casual and hardcore gameplay, it aims to offer a compromise allowing players who do not wish to spend all day at their PC’s a casual multiplayer experience.

Of course, free online games such as MechQuest, AdventureQuest, DragonFable, ArchKnight, and are a step in the right direction for what online gaming should be about (if we are looking from a healthy perspective), they offer gamers a balanced dosage of online fun which don’t require a lifelong commitment to progress and gain in-game rewards. The total opposite would be games such as World of Warcraft, designed to reward excessive amounts of gameplay.

The free games market will continue its rapid growth in the foreseeable future, and more developers will come into the market. Whether flash will remain the market’s main publishing platform remains to be seen, but for now, it will keep its dominant position with all free online game developers using it. Fans can expect to find more elaborate free online flash games being introduced in the coming years as free games compete and very much encroach upon paid game audiences.


Alcohol scholar. Bacon fan. Internetaholic. Beer geek. Thinker. Coffee advocate. Reader. Have a strong interest in consulting about teddy bears in Nigeria. Spent 2001-2004 promoting glue in Pensacola, FL. My current pet project is testing the market for salsa in Las Vegas, NV. In 2008 I was getting to know birdhouses worldwide. Spent 2002-2008 buying and selling easy-bake-ovens in Bethesda, MD. Spent 2002-2009 marketing country music in the financial sector.