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Fantasy sports as asynchronous casual MMO for men November 30, 2007

Posted by jeremyliew in asynchronous gaming, casual games, games, games 2.0, mmorpg.

I posted recently about my interest in asynchronous gaming. Andrew Chen posted in the comments that fantasy sports leagues were probably the best and most popular example of these – a very good point. That reminded me of a post that Charles Hudson put up recently, saying that Fantasy Football is casual games for men. He breaks down the reasons for Fantasy Football’s success as follows (summarized):

Simple game mechanics – If you understand how the NFL works, you can play fantasy football.
There is a good combination of luck, skill, and strategy. Skill comes in working the waiver wire, doing your homework before the draft, and staying on top of who’s emerging during the course of the season… However, there’s a lot of luck involved – you can’t control who gets injured and how long they’re out.
The time commitment is manageable (unlike other fantasy sports) – You can basically manage a fantasy football team in a few hours a week… The beauty of fantasy football is that almost all of the action takes place in about 24 hours per week.
Fantasy football is a social experience – Go to any sports bar on Sunday and make an offhand comment about one of the players on your team. Guaranteed you’ll get at least a few other folks at the bar who have a rooting interest in one player or team. Because the rules for fantasy football are fairly universal, two players in separate leagues can often have a good conversation around fantasy football in general.

I most often hear casual games described as games with relatively simple gameplay, manageable time commitments, and a good combination of luck, skill, and strategy. Fantasy football has all of these elements, even if they’re not obvious.

Worth reading the whole thing.


1. Chris - November 30, 2007

A lot of those game play mechanics are also prevalent in Fantasy Celebrity Leagues (Fafarazzi.com). In these leagues, people form leagues and end up with 10 unique celebs on their team after the draft. Teams score points when their celebs are mentioned in the gossip blogs.

What’s interesting is this is a game that has scoring occurring every hour while fantasy football is once a week. There could be an argument made of designing games that differ based on “typical involvement time”.

I think the most common thread amonst both of these is the social aspect in which is brings people together through a fun competition.

2. Charles Hudson - December 1, 2007

Thanks for the pointer, Jeremy. And thanks for putting a framework out there to help classify how these casual gaming experiences work – it’s been useful and I wish I’d had it before I penned this post.

3. The Forge · Are fantasy sports MMOs? - December 2, 2007

[…] Jeremy Liew has an interesting post up today about fantasy sports as asynchronous MMOs, which was itself spawned by an article in early November by Charles Hudson about fantasy football as casual games for men. I’m not a fan of watching sports and don’t play fantasy sports but I get some of the appeal, and while I wouldn’t classify fantasy sports as an MMO (I’m a traditionalist – if there’s no world representation, it’s not an MMO) I think Jeremy and Charles are right insofar as they serve the same purpose and have a great deal of similarity. […]

4. Chuck - December 3, 2007

Not only are Fantasy Sports MMO casual games, but they have proven to be a critical component in the way many men socialize with each other. Donald P Levy of UConn (the Huskies) wrote a PHD dissertation that “tells the story of a group of men enthusiastically engaged in what seems to be a benign pastime. However, by using fantasy sports as a point of entry, this research offers insight into the construction of masculinity among one group of men, and its implication for them, their friends, family and partners as well as how their habitus or second nature may very well be changing.”

5. David Downes - February 20, 2008

And, new innovations in Fantasy Sports, such as YouGaming.com’s concept, create a new category in gaming as the offering has bona fide utility in both a contest implementation and in a regulated wagering implmentation.

Fantasy sports games can differentiate across several dimensions, providing many different variants. However, real differentiation in fantasy games (sports, events aside) is diminishing. (See http://www.yougaming.blogspot.com)

6. Recent Links Tagged With "casualgames" - JabberTags - November 9, 2008

[…] public links >> casualgames Fantasy sports as asynchronous casual MMO for men " Lightspeed… Saved by DragonI on Sat 08-11-2008 VNA and Pelixi competition Saved by teppo on Wed 29-10-2008 […]

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