Microsoft usually decides which games it will make next by asking its own game developers. But today, its Microsoft Casual Games division said it will ask fans what game they want the division to make next.
It’s not just a focus group. Rather, Microsoft is going to take votes and tally them up. The casual team makes releases for “casual players,” or those who consume games in bite-size chunks of time, in contrast to more serious hardcore players. Microsoft’s casual titles include Solitaire, Minesweeper, and Mahjong.
In a blog post, Kevin Lambert, design director of the team, and Derek Dutilly, lead producer, said they are excited about letting the community pick the next casual game that the division will make.
“I’m completely excited to see what directions the community will take us and the influence they’ll have on our products,” Dutilly said.
Microsoft has been building casual games for over 25 years, starting with Solitaire for Windows 3.0. The Microsoft Casual Games team’s latest games debut on the Windows PC and on mobile devices.
“Now, for the first time in history, Microsoft Casual Games is collaborating with our fans on product and development choices,” the blog post said. “We’re not just allowing the community to read about what’s going on, but we are actually involving the community to vote on which games we should make next and provide feedback on how to improve the overall game features.”
Microsoft created a web site where players can vote on the next game, read about the development of existing casual games, share opinions about current and upcoming features, and join an “inner circle” program to get early access to builds and choose features.
Microsoft started with a list of games that people have requested over the years and whittled it down to five ideas. The voting is open now until December 17. The candidates include games based on chess, casino, bubble, Hearts, and word themes.