Developers of casual games should not fall into the trap of thinking players don't understand games, because "casual players will surprise you," according to FarmVille 2 developer Wright Bagwell.
Bagwell — the director of design on FarmVille 2 — said during a FarmVille 2 postmortem at the Game Developers Conference that it's important for developers, especially developers of casual games, to "never insult the player."
"I often hear people say of casual games that their players are not 'real gamers,' that we need to get them up to speed," Bagwell said. "Well, my grandmother plays FarmVille 2, and she's not very good at it. But she plays Bridge and she is amazing at it, and she's also a killer poker player.
"She's an amazing gamer. She gets games. What she doesn't get is Facebook. What she doesn't get is the iPhone. So it's not that she doesn't understand games; she's intimidated by the technology."
"She gets games. What she doesn't get is Facebook. What she doesn't get is the iPhone."
Bagwell said that developers shouldn't fall into the trap of telling themselves that casual players "don't get it," because they'll end up designing games that are way off the mark. Instead, developers need to realize that casual players know a lot about games and have a strong sense of what's good and what's bad. Many players may be new to the technology, time poor and seeking something accessible and relaxing, but it doesn't mean they're not discerning about what they play.
FarmVille 2 is currently playable on Facebook and Zynga.com. It is Zynga's best-performing game with 8.5 million daily active users. Polygon's interview with Bagwell before FarmVille 2's launch can be read here.