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Nintendo and the Decline of Hardcore Gaming 438

Posted by Soulskill
from the point-and-win dept.
angry tapir writes "Chris Jager from GoodGearGuide argues that the rise of casual gaming means near-certain death for hardcore gaming. The sales of casual 'party-friendly' games are massively outstripping the sales of classic hardcore games, and the makers of other consoles are taking note of Nintendo's success in attracting non-traditional gamers to the Wii and DS. There is evidence that Sony and Microsoft are both trying to tap into the casual market, and it's only a matter of time before hardcore gaming goes the way of the Nintendo PowerGlove." Of course, the trend toward casual doesn't just involve Nintendo — World of Warcraft's success (and the huge effect it's had on the MMO genre) is often credited to its focus on casual gamers. While it's not unreasonable for game studios to want all players to see all of the game's content, perhaps there's a better way of catering to the more hardcore players than tacking on difficulty modes and "do it the hard way" achievements.
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Nintendo and the Decline of Hardcore Gaming

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  • by cjfs (1253208) on Friday April 24, 2009 @04:41AM (#27699203) Homepage Journal

    ... there's a way.

    I'll switch to min-maxing Slashdot if it comes to it.

    Ah! Troll mod! Rerolling...

    • by moderatorrater (1095745) on Friday April 24, 2009 @05:56AM (#27699549)
      That's funny, but it's also true. Not too many years ago, there could just as easily been an article about how the rise of computer games would lead to the decline and eventual, near-certain death of tabletop or pen and paper gaming. While it's true that electronic gaming has absolutely eclipsed more traditional methods of hard-core gaming, they haven't been killed entirely. In fact, I would wager that they're nearly as popular as they've ever been, they just don't dominate the space anymore. As long as there are people who are willing to do hardcore gaming, there will be people willing to take their money to feed the habit.
      • by ReformatMe (1519913) on Friday April 24, 2009 @06:37AM (#27699709)
        That's not a fair comparison. Think about the implied costs of pen and paper gaming. Now compare that to the cost of creating a game like COD5 of Street Fighter IV. Why would they waste their time and money on games such as the aforementioned if casual gaming is more profitable?
        • by moderatorrater (1095745) on Friday April 24, 2009 @06:51AM (#27699785)
          They're more profitable for the hits, but I doubt that they're all that much more profitable per game. If every game maker decided to make only casual games, the market would become flooded and it would be harder to make a profitable game. How many different games is a casual gamer going to play through the year?

          Take Stardock, for example. They saw the opportunity created by game companies moving to making console games because the market was bigger and they could get better copy protection. They've been making money hand over fist because they recognized that the PC market was alive and well and nearly vacant, despite the articles about PC gaming dying. The games they make are hardcore games that are also old school and dependable. They're not spectacular, but they know their audience and they serve the hell out of it.

          So, if casual gaming ever eclipses hardcore gaming to the extent that computer gaming eclipses pen and paper, there will still be companies like Stardock that serve the market. Hardcore gamers will never disappear, and companies that are looking to make millions upon billions of dollars probably won't serve them, but companies that recognize the potential and have talent and a passion for gaming will still serve it.
      • by Syberz (1170343) on Friday April 24, 2009 @07:54AM (#27700057) Homepage

        Wait... since when does WoW focus on "casual" gamers? I'm sorry, but a game that I have to play often just too feel that I have made my 15$/month worthwhile isn't what I call "casual".

        Pumping in hour after hour just to get your character to the level cap and then even more hours coordinating a large scale assault on a creature just to get the left boot of butt-kicking just to restart the next day and hope that you'll get the right boot that time and not a 2nd left one is FAR from casual gaming... that sounds pretty hardcore to me...

        As for the casual game numbers being higher... perhaps that's because those games were actually more fun? Besides GTA IV, was there anything else "harcore" of note last year? People don't buy hardcore games, they buy GOOD hardcore games.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by aliquis (678370)

      There will always be RTS, where the people who suck at playing the game still will keep on sucking and the good players will play other good players.

      Only bad thing is "random team" where you have to if you want to team kill the retard you are playing with or keep him ;)

  • by stonedcat (80201) <hikaricore [at] gmail.com> on Friday April 24, 2009 @04:42AM (#27699205) Homepage

    Aside from the vastly outdated Atari 2600 in my basement as a child I was first exposed to gaming in the form of Super Mario Bros., Duck Hunt, and Metroid.
    I look at some of the games today and while I find them visually appealing, they just don't seem to have the same drawing power. :/

    • by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 24, 2009 @04:49AM (#27699243)

      To the young'uns, these newfangled games have even more drawing power than Mario or Metroid ever did for us. Not only are they more shinny, but they also include Trendy Animated Character Du Jour, which kids have been getting trained to love for years before the video game tie-in is even made.

      • by ZeroExistenZ (721849) on Friday April 24, 2009 @07:08AM (#27699857)

        Not only are they more shinny, but they also include Trendy Animated Character Du Jour, which kids have been getting trained to love for years before the video game tie-in is even made.

        I suppose that could have some truth. otoh, the enjoyment in playing games while growing up with hasn't been surpassed by the new shinier things, even though I also was dragged in the 90s with the "upgrade to the next graphics card for more shinyness", always coming closer to "more reality", "better FPS", I've been there...

        I've played through the NFS titles, enjoyed how they evolved, got better, more realistic, but I never spent as much time on any title as NFS2. Same with GTA. Halflife is something else though, the submerging in HF2 was amazing for the few weekends I've spent on it.

        It's hard to tell, for me, wherever it's "nostalgia", the own reference and gameindustry playing on it. (remember the gameboy & tetris hype? Donkey Kong handhelds? Arcades even?) Today, my time is more limited, the context and stories of the games have changed which change the gameplay, and somehow I stopped caring for "better graphics", I was excited about DOOM3, before it came out, but soon the next-gen DirectX games came out and the novelty was lost. Maybe it's context, personal frame of refence (up from a fex pixel on a screen to DukeNukem was a very exciting improvement in 'graphics', today, the bottom standard is pretty high compared to the age where buying a 32mb RAM module would give you a smoother and more "detailed" experience), I don't know. I've stopped gaming because I work more then I have free time, so I make good use of my free time living in the real world as most of my professional life is behind a screen writing virtual things.

    • by Josejx (46837) on Friday April 24, 2009 @06:13AM (#27699609) Homepage

      You mean Mario Galaxy, Wii Play (Duck Hunt+) and Metroid Prime 3? To be honest, I think Nintendo is the only one who has stuck to what they're good at: Making good games.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Rulian (1125325)

        ...Nintendo is the only one who has stuck to what they're good at: Making good games.

        Quite optimistic.

        Let's say : Nintendo found out that some people are bored of being assraped by Valve/EA games/and so on...
        Hardcore gaming only means:
        "Hey kid ! Ask your dad to pay you another brand new graphic card just in order to play the same game, but with 3* more polygons !! Isn't that totally HARDCORE !?! Yeahh !! And if you don't do so, you'll be the pwned looser of your class !!11!1 LOL"

        Nintendo just says:
        "You're not hardcore ? You f*cking don't care about FPS, polygons and vertex shade

  • Wait, what?! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by FyRE666 (263011) * on Friday April 24, 2009 @04:45AM (#27699219) Homepage

    "World of Warcraft's success (and the huge effect it's had on the MMO genre) is often credited to its focus on casual gamers"

    Sorry, but if you're writing an article claiming that casual gaming is ousting hardcore titles, you don't pick the world's most notorious timesink as supporting evidence. People who lose their jobs, homes, families and even lives, playing 20 hours a day, 7 days a week are not what I'd consider "casual" players...

    • Re:Wait, what?! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Jugalator (259273) on Friday April 24, 2009 @04:49AM (#27699237) Journal

      IMO, it's an addicting game for casual gamers, and that's why so many play it, and get stuck in it.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by trytoguess (875793)

        Agreed, in the old games progressing to the next stage/level was a pain in the ass. In Wow on the other hand, one could bend all their energies into leveling as quickly as possible, and I guess that could be "Nintendo Hard" in it's own way. But you can just as easily take play in a relaxed casual manner, and simply progress slower, only losing out on getting the shiny items ASAP.

        Casual AND Hardcore, my mind reels. :)

      • Re:Wait, what?! (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Hoi Polloi (522990) on Friday April 24, 2009 @12:42PM (#27703447) Journal

        My biggest problem with WOW are the gratuitous time sinks Blizz has built into it. Quest chains where you have to travel across the continent just to talk to someone that suck up 10 or so minutes, action bars that are just there to burn time (e.g. fishing), painfully slow reputation grinds that aren't a challenge skillwise just matters of endurance, etc. You can spend many evenings in raids and walk out of them all empty handed simply because of a random number generator.

        It's saving grace is that they do have an emblem system to toss folks a bone if they try many runs and are still getting shortchanged. The quests are also relatively simple to solo most of the time so you don't have to stand around begging for help. There are also some pretty inventive and fun quests and instances that keep the game fun.

    • Re:Wait, what?! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by RuBLed (995686) on Friday April 24, 2009 @05:14AM (#27699357)

      People who lose their jobs, homes, families and even lives, playing 20 hours a day, 7 days a week are not what I'd consider "casual" players...

      Well, I consider them people who need serious help. I personally haven't personally met such a person and I'm an avid gamer myself. These kinds of people would just easily be in that situation for other reasons. Replace WoW with gambling, tv, hanging around the street, etc. It's just that WoW seems to be the most accessible hobby for them where they could get away from real life problems or just rebel from the world.

      • Re:Wait, what?! (Score:5, Interesting)

        by mqduck (232646) <mqduck@mqd[ ].net ['uck' in gap]> on Friday April 24, 2009 @09:25AM (#27700813)

        Most people who take heroin never get addicted, and those who do would probably get hooked on something else if heroin wasn't around. That doesn't make heroin a "light" drug.

      • Re:Wait, what?! (Score:5, Interesting)

        by ukyoCE (106879) on Friday April 24, 2009 @09:26AM (#27700835) Journal

        Exactly. I knew a Very Smart guy who has a full scholarship to engineering school. Dropped/failed out due to playing everquest and not showing up for exams.

        But before that, in high school, he would memorize D&D books, and sit in front of anime all the time. He could tell you the HP of every creature in the Monster Manual, but got caught cheating by saving physics formulas in his calculator.

        Non-chemical addiction is often a personal problem, not a problem with the entertainment they spend all their time with.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by KDR_11k (778916)

      That's because the term "casual" is misleading. They only have a casual interest in the "gamer lifestyle" but they do focus a lot on a single game when they play one.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Trepidity (597)

      Indeed, it's been frequently pointed out [isthereason.com] that "casual games" aren't defined by how much people actually play them, but by the perceived time sink. If you in theory could play 20 minutes, it's a casual game, even if a large proportion of people play 5-hour stretches.

      • Re:Wait, what?! (Score:5, Informative)

        by ukyoCE (106879) on Friday April 24, 2009 @09:33AM (#27700913) Journal

        Yeah, this is a stupid definition of Hardcore VS Casual. By this definition Counter-strike is casual, because you can play a match in 5 minutes and then log off.

        A better definition would distinguish the two based on depth. Or in the deragatory sense that "hardcore" is frequently used, on learning curve.

        A game that you can pick up and fully understand (and likely excel at) in one sitting is casual.

        A game that can take weeks or months of playtime and research to fully understand and excel at is hardcore.

        This does not remove the possibility of a good learning curve that let's casual players enjoy a hardcore game too, while not doing as well as their hardcore counterparts. WOW is an excellent example of this.

        A game that can take weeks or months of tedious time-sinks to achieve minor goals...well, we need a name for that. And for the people who take pride in how much time they waste, and demand that their games waste even more of their time.

    • by SL Baur (19540) <steve@xemacs.org> on Friday April 24, 2009 @05:59AM (#27699555) Homepage Journal

      Sorry, but if you're writing an article claiming that casual gaming is ousting hardcore titles, you don't pick the world's most notorious timesink as supporting evidence.

      I've played World of Warcraft every day for over the past two and a half years and there is NO WAY I am addicted. Nope. No chance at all.

      (Oops, gotta run, guild raid on Ulduar coming up in 10 minutes)

    • Re:Wait, what?! (Score:4, Insightful)

      by LandDolphin (1202876) on Friday April 24, 2009 @06:14AM (#27699613)
      They didn't talk about EQ, they talked about WoW...

      Sure, you can spend your whole life in it, but it isn't a requirement like it was in EQ. You can level to 80 and get near everything a Hard Core Gamer gets in WoW with little effort and time. People don't have to spend time in it, that is what makes it causal.
    • Re:Wait, what?! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Opportunist (166417) on Friday April 24, 2009 @06:34AM (#27699699)

      WoW is catering to casual gamers, believe it or not.

      Maybe we should first of all get a good definition of a "casual gamer". The way the industry (and also the article) describes it, the "casual" gamer is not someone who plays every now and then when the mood strikes him but gaming ain't no important part of your life (as the term "casual" would probably suggest). The casual gamer is someone who does not want to "master" a game, but who wants to play it at leisure and still make progress. The casual gamer is not someone who has the will or zeal that he MUST best this or that foe, or master this or that tricky part. He wants to go somewhere, play, and go away with the happy feeling that he's accomplished something, without having to climb a steep learning curve before.

      WoW is all about this. What makes WoW the huge success it is, is simply that it also caters to those that actually do want to "master" it. It has all the things in place to keep the perfectionists around while still giving the "casuals" the ability to finally, eventually, see the good stuff too.

      • Maybe we should first of all get a good definition of a "casual gamer".

        The best way to define a casual gamer is to first describe their opposite; the hardcore gamer. Now, from my experience there are two ways to stop a "hardcore" gamer, or as I like to refer to myself, an avid video game player.

        1) The first thing an avid player will do upon booting up a game is go into the options menu. If you know casual gamers, and you know avid players, watch them as they start a new title. The avid player will virtually always head into the option menu to tweak settings. The casual player tends to jump right in.

        2) The avid player plays on the harder difficulty settings. Casual players are notorious for playing on the normal or easy modes, finishing the game and never playing it again. In fact, you'll find that a lot of games now name their difficulty settings "casual", "hardcore"(Gear of War: Xbox360), etc, etc. Over time the easy or "casual" difficulty levels have become absurdly easy to cater to this player type, to the point where most avid players will now, by default, choose the hard or "very hard" difficulty setting on their first playthrough, not out of masochism, but because they actually understand that the reward in a game comes from overcoming the challenges it presents. Despite all else, avid players will respect a difficult title (Transformers:PS2)

        The avid player enjoys playing the game for its own sake. They appreciate craftsmanship and will respond to goo quality in gameplay. Casual players play the game simply for the sake of having played it, in the same way they would watch a film. They are out for a fairly automatic, "on rails" experience that resembles a passive film medium as much as possible.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by ukyoCE (106879)

      People losing their jobs, homes, families, etc. to World of Warcraft is pretty rare.

      WoW's success is that it's got a very accessible learning curve. You don't sit down in front of the game and immediately spend 10 hours grinding rats to go up 1 level.

      In fact, their most recent content (and general direction) has been towards a FUN game, with fewer idiotic time-waste grinds. Sadly, there are people who bitch that this makes it "casual", calling themselves "hardcore" in the sense that means "have way too mu

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by JaredOfEuropa (526365)
      Also, I would argue against the idea that WoW has had a huge effect on the MMO genre. It has brought MMOs into the mainstream market, and certainly, other MMO producers will take a look at what Blizzard did and does to make it a success. But in the end I think MMO producers have come away with very little ideas from looking at WoW. I think WoW's initial success had a lot to do with an attractive franchise that hit the market at a very opportune time. After that, inertia took over. WoW was hardly a game
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Cornflake917 (515940)

      Seriously, the author of this article is pretty daft. He makes the argument that hardcore games are on the decline because they are selling poorly on the Wii. No shit sherlock. Why would anyone buy a Wii to play hardcore games? Second of all, some of the games he claims are casual can just as well be hardcore games. For example, the "Guitar Hero" genre has developed some of the most hardcore video game players I've ever seen. Just look at the video of all the kids playing these insane songs. Lets

  • Does not follow. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 24, 2009 @04:48AM (#27699231)
    The sales of casual 'party-friendly' games are massively outstripping the sales of classic hardcore games

    Don't forget that some 'hardcore gamers' also own Wiis. The end is not as nigh as you think it is; people like a change in pace every once and a while.

    Besides, what do you think is happening to all the current hardcore gamers? They don't just disappear, you know.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Maybe they are just growing, starting to work, get a girlfriend, you know... all this takes your time away, no more nights spent training on some hard gaming, so casual games are more handy.

      New generations are not replacing them, they are exposed to wiis and casual games and more easily pick them up.

      Also, at least here in my country, 10-20 years ago video games were considered a nerd thing, so if you wanted to video game you had to isolate yourself, hardcore gaming was your solution. Now video games are som

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by KDR_11k (778916)

        I'd say the loss of time has already happened, people (well, veteran gamers) demand games where they can progress every time they play with not much learning required. Meanwhile "casual" games are all about applying your skill. A single match may only last a few minutes but to progress (beat your own highscore) you must improve yourself.

    • by interkin3tic (1469267) on Friday April 24, 2009 @05:30AM (#27699429)

      I also object to the shoddy logic used here.

      "Casual games are selling really well" is good, but how do you leap from that to "Hardcore games aren't going to be made anymore?" If you follow all trends to their illogical extremes, the future begins to look like a really bizarre place, and death of hardcore gaming is among the least of your concerns. If current population trends continue, in 5000 years the earth would be a ball of human flesh expanding at the speed of light. Of course, that can't actually happen.

      Videogame sales are overtaking movie sales. Anyone seriously think movies are going to die?

      Much the same "Casual gaming" is gaining ground but extrapolating that to say it will continue until 100% of all games sold will be casual in a few years is delusional. That doesn't make sense. People who get into making games because they love making games aren't going to make casual games because goodgearguide said they will. Gamers who like challenging games aren't going to buy wii fit knockoffs just because casual gaming is on the rise.

      I really don't understand where this urge to claim the sky is falling and nintendo is causing it is coming from. My best guess is elitism, new people are coming to our hobby, but they're not into the exact same things we are, so we think they're stupid, some of us become paranoid and start forming odd conspiracy theories where these johnny come latelys are trying to deprive us of our games and make us play wii sports. It's stupid. As long as we have money and are willing to buy games that appeal to us, there will be games made to appeal to us.

      Sony and microsoft are wanting to get in on the casual action. Naturally. That sounds a bit scary until you ask yourself "What good hardcore games were any of them making anyway?" Seriously. Of the three console makers, only nintendo was making many quality titles, and they've been for the kids since I was a kid.

      Microsoft made Halo, only they didn't really make it so much as buy Bungie who made it, and I don't see a Halo 4 coming out or doing well if it does. At the moment, I can't think of a single other microsoft game, besides their flight sim.

      Sony makes gran turismo and God of War, which are nice and all, but again, hardcore gaming doesn't exactly depend on them.

      Terrible article.

      • by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 24, 2009 @06:30AM (#27699679)

        a ball of human flesh expanding at the speed of light

        LEAVE BRITNEY ALONE!!!

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Opportunist (166417)

        Pretty much the same feeling here. People, get serious. Not everyone follows the latest fad, and people will do what they want to do. Why the heck should I play "casual" games when I don't like them? Why the heck should I think that any other "hardcore" players would?

        WiFi is really taking off here, finally. Does that mean that we can't buy wired switches anymore in 5 years? Would anyone be taken serious who suggests that?

        Vegan food has been a fad for a while too, but did all the burger joints close because

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Xest (935314)

        I was going to respond along similar lines as the parent, but I hate idiocy very much and this article displayed a massive amount of it from the author. I simply couldn't put together anything other than a rant at how bad this article was. The parent post however gives me a nice springboard to make some additional points without ranting.

        When he says Sony and Microsoft are looking to get into casual games, I don't think he was talking about first party titles, just that they were pushing that route and perha

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by ookaze (227977)

          Microsoft and Sony are doing this not because they in any way want to do away with hardcore games on their title, but because they want to expand their market.

          So 3 years later they finally understand what Nintendo was saying they were doing back in 2006?
          Talk about dense competitors.

          Ironically, he is suggesting that Nintendo is going to do extremely well because they're pushing the casual games market. Unfortunately, this is why Nintendo will actually fall behind if they don't take action - Microsoft and Sony are moving into casual games whilst also strongly supporting hardcore games, whilt Nintendo isn't diversifying in this way. Effectively, Microsoft and Sony are holding ground in the hardcore market whilst pushing to gain ground in the casual market whilst Nintendo are sat purely in the casual market seemingly refusing to budge into hardcore whilst simultaneously risking having their market share chewed away by Microsoft and Sony.

          Unfortunately, you're completely wrong because your premise is wrong. Better hope MS and Sony understood better than you what Nintendo says it's doing since years.
          It's very simple to see where you're wrong. You say Nintendo push casual gaming which is completely wrong. Nintendo is pushing games for EVERYONE!
          Every time they say it, it falls on deaf ears from their competitors. No wonder

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by GF678 (1453005)

      Besides, what do you think is happening to all the current hardcore gamers? They don't just disappear, you know.

      Actually, they do. I know this because myself and most of my previously-hardcore gamer friends are not gamers anymore, and if I'm going to be gaming it's only casual games these days. Why? Mostly out of necessity; I got older, and found my priorities for my time had changed. You just can't sink the time required to be a hardcore gamer anymore, unless you're young and/or don't have anything else to

  • by 278MorkandMindy (922498) on Friday April 24, 2009 @04:49AM (#27699239)

    How many times does it need to be said?

    Show me that stats that say their main player base comes and goes on a monthly basis.

    Show me a casual gamer who DOESN'T buy gold.

    World of Warcrack IS a great game, I have spent more than the usual $100 for the game itself. Perhaps that is what the article means? It is likely to bring back people who have not played for a while? Suck them in for a few months, then spit them back out into their normal lives, free from addiction?

    Repeat after me : WoW is NOT casual gamer friendly!

    • I was a casual gamer who didn't buy gold and yet I enjoyed the game immensely. It's not that hard to make money in the game if you do a bit of research. I played no more than 20 hours a week and yet when I quit I had about 4000 gold at level 66.

      • by VinylRecords (1292374) on Friday April 24, 2009 @05:03AM (#27699307)

        I was a casual gamer who didn't buy gold and yet I enjoyed the game immensely. It's not that hard to make money in the game if you do a bit of research. I played no more than 20 hours a week and yet when I quit I had about 4000 gold at level 66.

        20 hours a week is a lot of time. Is that really casual? If you said you played a sport for 20 hours a week would you call that casual? "I play baseball casually 20 hours a week". Sounds hardcore to me as it's quite an investment.

        • No more than 20 hours a week. Not 20 hours every week without fail. Sometimes I would play around 5 hours in a week and sometimes if I had nothing better to do I would play around 20.

      • by 278MorkandMindy (922498) on Friday April 24, 2009 @05:06AM (#27699327)

        20 hours a week is not casual gaming.
        20 hours is two 5 hour sessions on the week-end and 3, 3 hours raiding sessions.
        (you make up the extra hour logging on every day to check and relist stuff in the AH. Sorry, Auction house...)
        Not casual.

        Pulling out the Wii fit and having a bash once a week is casual.

        You CAN be a casual gamer and spend 20 hours a week, you just need to put that new title down after you finish it and not have a need for another one immediately after.

        • I never went raiding - never even made it to level 70.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by umbrellasd (876984)
          Your last statement confuses hardcore gaming with addiction.
          • casual -- small use, usually infrequent and in balance with time spent on other entertainment
          • hardcore -- large use, usually at regular intervals and consuming significantly more time than most other forms of entertainment
          • addiction -- very large use, as often as possible; disruptive to other essential life activities (child rearing, eating, earning a living, etc.)
      • Casual != !hard-core (Score:5, Interesting)

        by pjt33 (739471) on Friday April 24, 2009 @05:13AM (#27699355)

        If you "do a bit of research" into a game's economy then you're not a casual gamer. If you play 20 hours a week then you're not a casual gamer, and if you play the same game for 20 hours then you're probably also moving up into the "committed gamer" bracket.

        • No I played 20 hours some weeks. Other weeks I'd play the odd hour here and there. As for doing a bit of research I'm not sure how typing in "making gold in WoW", reading a couple of articles and spending half an hour figuring out Auctioneer made me an addict.

          • by pjt33 (739471) on Friday April 24, 2009 @06:06AM (#27699575)

            You're missing my point: it's not a dichotomy of "if you play games then either you're a casual gamer or an addict". There's a spectrum, and you fall in the middle. At the very least you want three pigeonholes: casual, committed, and hard-core.

            Someone who plays Minesweeper or Bejeweled for half an hour in their lunch break some days and occasionally has an evening playing Wii Tennis with friends is a casual player. Someone who intentionally invests time in a game to improve their ability is no longer playing casually but showing a level of commitment. Someone who self-identifies as a gamer, spends hours every day playing games, or aims to be recognised as an elite player of one game is hard-core, but not necessarily addicted.

            • Ok fair enough. As a poster below has categorised himself I'd say I was an avid player but nowhere near the kind of player that logs on at 5pm and goes to bed at 1am without a break.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by 16Chapel (998683)
        No more than 20 hours a week, huh?

        I spent less time per week earning my degree!
        • Your cue should be the words "no more than" not "20 hours per week". On average I spent less than 10 although between 58 and 60 I spent about 40 hours over 2 weeks rushing through the last content. I only made it to 66 when TBC came out through lack of effort and interest and eventually cancelled my account.

    • by RzUpAnmsCwrds (262647) on Friday April 24, 2009 @06:07AM (#27699579)

      Show me a casual gamer who DOESN'T buy gold.

      Show me the reason you need to buy gold.

      I am decidedly in the 'avid' category for WoW (I'm not sure I'd say 'hardcore'), since I average 15-20 hours per week. So I'm not representative. Neither are my friends, who all have over 2000 hours of playtime over the last 4 years.

      That said, you can easily make 100g in a single hour. Icecrown dailies run ~13g each, and they take less than 5 minutes in most cases. Then there's WG, which is pretty much a guaranteed 40-50g in 30 minutes or less (typically more like 20 on my server).

      So, yeah, at that rate, I don't see why anyone would need to buy gold. One hour a day for a month and a half and you have 5000g.

      Now, if you want to argue that your time is worth more than the cost of the gold, that's possibly a decent argument. But it's not like the game is making it hard. There are plenty of casual WoW players who get their gold through quests and dailies, and they have access to the same stuff as everyone else - it just takes a bit longer.

      It's not like you can buy good gear with gold anyway. Gold is basically for augments (enchants/inscriptions/thread/etc.), gems, and misc items like repairs, mounts, and respeccing.

      Repeat after me : WoW is NOT casual gamer friendly!

      To tell the truth, no multi-player game truly is. Either it's too easy/random (e.g. MarioKart Wii) or it's too challenging. Games that are too easy/random aren't rewarding long-term because there's little opportunity to improve. Games that are too challenging make it difficult for casual players to play.

      You, as a casual player, are never going to beat my 2v2 team. We're not exactly "hot shit", but we just missed Deulist last season, which means that we are better than 97% of the arena teams in the game. You need to invest a significant amount of time and practice to get into the top 3%; we played over 600 games in Season 5 alone, and we've already played over 150 games in Season 6 (which started 3 days ago).

      There are three options if you're a casual player. You can accept that you're not going to compete with hardcore (or even semi-hardcore) gamers and have fun. You can become a hardcore or semi-hardcore gamer. Or you can stop playing the game because you realize that it doesn't matter.

      Buying gold (or even a character) isn't one of those options. It doesn't make you a better player, it doesn't really get you better gear, and it's not going to enable you to compete with hardcore gamers. To put it bluntly, it's blatantly obvious who belongs in high-end raid content and who doesn't. And it's just as obvious who bought their characters in arenas or BGs. Skill is not something that you can buy, and despite popular opinions, skill still plays a major role in WoW. The first season I ever played arenas seriously (Season 2), we ended at 1690. In Season 3 we ended at 1776. In Season 4 we ended at 1840. Despite the challenges in Season 5 (DK/Holy Paladins, Hunters), we still ended at 1940. And in Season 6 our MMR is already above 2100 (albeit largely because of balance changes).

      Sidenote: For anyone who claims I play too much WoW, consider this: how much time do you spend watching TV every week? I spend about 2.5 hours per day on WoW, which is about as much time as the average American spends watching TV. I can't argue that playing WoW is a 'better' use of my time than watching TV, but I do find it more enjoyable than watching TV.

      • by 278MorkandMindy (922498) on Friday April 24, 2009 @06:31AM (#27699683)

        The issue is not that you HAVE to buy gold. You don't. You are correct that dailies can get you a heap of cash, quickly.

        Casual players do not play dailies that often. Why? Because they want to play stuff they haven't seen or done and dailies=grinding. I bought gold simply because I wanted to get a full frostweave set and worked out it would take me two months of playing at my normal rate to gather the materials. (then they nerfed it!)

        So I simply bought gold to quarter the time. I used the rest of my time to play the game and not grind. I buy gold to play content, not save up for it.
        (gold is about $13US for 1000, so I consider working for one hour a better proposition than grinding for 20)

        I always accepted that I would be behind hardcore players in skill and in equipment.

        To get back to my point, what you are demonstrating is commitment to the game.
        If you grind for cash, you are not casual.
        If you consistently play over years (or even months) in arenas, you are not casual.

        Time is one indicator, commitment is another. You may be borderline in time spent, but your commitment makes you not casual.

        You are NOT a casual player. I am not judging if that is a good or bad thing, perhaps it is better than going to bars and picking up diseases? It still doesn't change the fact that you are NOT a casual player.

  • VG Cats (Score:5, Funny)

    by jevring (618916) on Friday April 24, 2009 @04:51AM (#27699249) Homepage
    This very issue was addressed on VG cats in the last strip [vgcats.com]
    • I hadn't checked that site in two months. That was the only new comic up. He honestly took two months to come up with THAT?

  • by twoallbeefpatties (615632) on Friday April 24, 2009 @04:58AM (#27699277)

    Scan down on this series of graphs [anandtech.com] that Nintendo showed at the GDC to the graph titled "Nintendo driving US Growth." The level of sales of games across all platforms has been fairly flat for most of the decade... up until the Wii came out, at which point the other two consoles continued to sell at a mostly flat rate but Nintendo's went up and up.

    It's sort of a harbinger and a point of relief. On the one hand, When you've hit a wall on the number of people who are really interested in devoting so much of their time to a 40+ hour game, the only way to go up is with people who aren't in that group. Microsoft wants more money just like everyone else, so they have to expand into the same area. But it's still a mark that there's a solid base of hardcore fans as well that are always going to need to be served, and when Microsoft's plans to make the XBox wii-ish fails to bring in a large new audience because they realize that they're not the Wii, they're going to have to think about serving the base that they've got already.

    I'm also a bit loathe to decry the sudden death of hardcore gaming when just last year, 2008, we were decrying the fact that we were trying to find time to play Fable 2, MGS4, GTA4, Fallout 3, and a host of other solid games. The fact that release schedules aren't lining up very well in this year's favor isn't going to scare me off just yet, and that's just about the only real evidence that he offers that the hardcore gamer is about to die. What's more likely is that we just won't have the same glut of triple-A-grade content devoted to them.

    I don't know why the hardcore gamers are worried, though. They're just gonna spend all their time playing Diablo 3 and Starcraft 2 in a couple of years anyway.

  • by VinylRecords (1292374) on Friday April 24, 2009 @04:58AM (#27699279)

    April 6, 2009 - Sony's PS3 outsold Nintendo's Wii during the month of March. Sales of the PS3 were reported at 146,948 units as opposed to the 99,335 Wii units sold. In third place, the Xbox 360 is noted to have 43,172 units sold.

    Apparently, Ryu Ga Gotoku 3 (or Yakuza 3, here in the U.S.) and Resident Evil 5 helped urge the PS3 sales, as both games were at the top of the software sales charts. This is, comparatively speaking, good news for Sony's current-gen hardware, though analysts predict that the PS3 will not threaten the Wii's global dominance of the market.

    http://www.reuters.com/article/technologyNews/idUSTRE53511I20090406 [reuters.com]

    TOKYO - Nintendo admitted Thursday that its hit Wii video game console was going through its toughest time yet in the competitive Japanese market, but it said there was no plan to cut the price.

    "The Wii is in the most unhealthy condition since it hit the Japanese market," Nintendo Co. president Satoru Iwata said. "The current condition in the Japanese market is not the one we want."

    But a price war with rivals was not the answer as Nintendo is already the market leader, he said.

    "A price cut in a difficult economy cannot really excite the market and drive up sales. As of now I really don't think that a price cut is a good option for us," he told a news conference.

    Industry figures showed this week that the rival Sony PlayStation 3 had outsold the Wii in Japan for the first time in 16 months, with sales of the Nintendo console dropping almost two-thirds from a year earlier.

    http://www.abs-cbnnews.com/technology/04/09/09/nintendo-says-wii-losing-luster-no-price-cut [abs-cbnnews.com]

    - - -

    Maybe the casual gamers have moved on and now only the hardcore gamers remain to purchase new software and peripherals? The Wii is at market saturation nearly everywhere and now it's time for the PS3 and X360 to move ahead at least in month to month sales.

    For some anecdotal evidence I own all three consoles, each one since their own launch date, and I never touch my Wii (cue childish sexual jokes). In the last month I've hammered away at Valkyria Chronicles and Metal Gear Online for my PS3 for hours upon hours every day. For my 360 I play Virtua Fighter 5 and Fallout 3 regularly as well. And between both the PS3 and 360 I play Street Fighter II HD Remix and Street Fighter IV daily as well. My Wii? Maybe when Dead Space Wii comes out I'll plug the console back in but my god has that thing been collecting dust for months.

    Not to mention what hardcore treats the PC is getting coming up by way of Blizzard. I already told my boss I needed a week of vacation off for both of the releases of Starcraft II and Diablo III...

    Is hardcore gaming dead because of the Wii? No. Nintendo can't stroke its ego quite that much.

    • by Gadget_Guy (627405) on Friday April 24, 2009 @05:42AM (#27699505)

      Just because the PS3 outsold the Wii for 1 out of 16 months (in one country), doesn't mean that only the hardcore players are left to buy peripherals and software. There are still substantially more Wii owners out there than any of the other consoles, and some of those people are still buying new accessories.

      And given that you are obviously a hardcore player (who are apparently now in the minority), your personal preference of which console you use cannot have any bearing on this discussion because you cannot extrapolate it to all other gamers.

    • by KDR_11k (778916) on Friday April 24, 2009 @06:19AM (#27699637)

      Or maybe it has to do with there being no major Wii game releases in several months? Yes, there was Wii Music but that fell pretty flat (can't have a smash hit every single time) and didn't really sell systems. The release drought on the Wii simply prevented the Wii from increasing in appeal in that period of time and thus sales slowed down as the number of appealed-to-but-not-sold-to people ran low. This has nothing to do with "casual" gamers losing interest and everything to do with there simply being no games for them to be interested in.

      If you want anecdotes here's mine: When the Wii drought kept going for too long I bought a 360 (it was fairly cheap, 200€ for the 60GB Pro, down from 240€) to expand the library I can buy titles from. Because I couldn't find anything interesting on the shelves I got some points for XBLA and my first game on this brand new HD gaming system was a port of a Playstation 1 game that I bought because I liked the sequels on the handhelds (CvSotN), now capable of displaying its 320x240 graphics in glorious HD. Maybe it's the way demos are set up on the system but only one of the six retail games I bought had a demo, most of the demos I played ended up repelling me from the game. By now I've really enjoyed two retail games on the system and liked three downloadable games quite a bit, I've still spent 30€ less on games than the console itself. Played the games I liked to the exhaustion point (either the ending or where they got boring) and now the thing's collecting metaphorical dust. It simply has a total lack of games, anything good is available on the PC as well and costs 20€ less there (with much faster pricedrops so even bigger savings if you wait for the bargain bin). I'm sure someone would be inclined to point at Gears of War now but guess what, they didn't even release that in this country (because reducing the violence would mean "compromising their artistic vision", whatever the vision behind a game about space marines chainsawing alien dinosaurs is*...). Meanwhile my Wii kept accumulating games, both retail and downloadable despite being in a release drought (WiiWare wasn't in a drought and many older retail games kept falling into the bargain bins).

      *=Speaking of space marines chainsawing alien dinosaurs, Dawn of War 2 got a 16 rating, Gears of War was apparetly too violent even for an 18 rating. Seriously, a freaking Warhammer 40k game passed as 16 without any censoring and they can't get Gears of War into a sane range?

  • by 91degrees (207121) on Friday April 24, 2009 @05:04AM (#27699311) Journal
    There are literally millions of hardcore gamers! Even if we have a billion casual gamers, there will still be those millions of hardcore gamers.

    There will always be a market. If most of the developers are developing casual titles, then there's a decent niche for any medium sized developer to aim for the hardcore market segment.
  • by meist3r (1061628) on Friday April 24, 2009 @05:21AM (#27699375)
    What we once dubbed a "hardcore" gamer was someone that played all kinds of games for hours and hours on end while everyone else was doing "real" things (as these fools called them). Nowadays everyone's a gamer. It's casual to have two or three consoles and play a couple of hours every week. That is what the hardcore used to do, they were only hardcore because everything was vastly more expensive and skill was involved. There are still hardcore gamers but they're outdone by the mass of casual players that live up to the level of former hardcore. I think we should think of new distinctions. I, for one, call the people that play only Wii Fit and Samba de Amigo TWATS for example.
  • by KDR_11k (778916) on Friday April 24, 2009 @05:25AM (#27699397)

    The death of hardcore gaming is happening because of the rising dev costs with stagnating sales. The core market is limited in size, it's not really growing much and as such the sales are limited. The focus on graphics among the HD consoles massively increases the development costs (factor 2.5) while very few additional sales are gained from the better graphics (and few sales are lost by having weaker graphics). Without casual gaming it wouldn't survive either because it's collapsing under its own weight, not anything else's.

    The success of "casual" gaming merely comes from the massive numbers of people outside the core market who were previously unwilling to buy games. However, their demands aren't going to stay rock-bottom forever and producing highly profitable games with a cheap and crappy dev team in a few months won't work forever. While more complex games aimed at these people will have to look different from the ones that are being aimed at the hardcore they're by no means impossible. Applying the term "casual" however is wrong, these people can and will get very involved in a game they play, possibly moreso than "hardcore" gamers judging by the difficulty modern core games are dumbed down to. That should be considered, we're not talking about people who play a game for five minutes and then put it on a shelf, they've got attention spans much longer than the traditional gamers though they may have less time per game session.

  • As has been said before, Correlation does not equate to Causation! For at least a decade now, the games industry has shown an incredible growth. Its bigger than motion pictures! We can safely say that more people have been gaming, its become less of a social taboo (or sign of nerdiness) and more mainstream. I think it would be safe to assume that with more people gaming, there are also more people going hardcore. Its better to say there are "more gamers" than to say there are "more casual gamers".
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by dmcq (809030)
      I'd have thought the casual market was more cyclical driven by fashion. So yes there are more casual gamers but it isn't straightforward capturing the market at any given time. The PS2 had this market a while ago with eyeToy, Singstar and their exercise games. I haven't the foggiest why Sony didn't try developing it more and lost the market to the Nintendo Wii. And yes it does go against common sense in that we've seen it all before and it didn't happen.
  • Look what happened to music when it was popularised. Or movies. Or television, newspapers, radio... When the general population gains interest in something, the market has a tendency to pander to the lowest common denominator. That hasn't meant no more "hardcore" movies or tunes are being made. In the games industry, we get casual gaming instead of Britney or your feel-good rom-com. There will always be fewer people willing to put in time, effort and thought into their entertainment (note that this is not
  • by oberondarksoul (723118) on Friday April 24, 2009 @05:36AM (#27699465) Homepage
    I'm sick of what seems to be the sudden belief that, unless a game has the most up-to-date graphics and is filled with so-called 'mature' content (which seems to be a euphemism for gallons of blood and swearwords), it's not 'hardcore', and anyone who doesn't play it is a casual gamer by default. Gaming is my main hobby, and I spent the majority of my free time and money on either playing games or other related activities; and yet apparently because I don't own an Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, or a gaming-calibre PC, I'm not one of this self-professed hardcore.
    • by Gleng (537516) on Friday April 24, 2009 @06:26AM (#27699663)

      I agree. I own a PS3 and a Wii (alongside many other consoles, from the Atari 2600 upwards), and I seriously think that Mario Kart Wii is one of the most temple-throbbingly diabolic games that's ever existed. It's worse than NetHack for actively wanting you to fail.

      It's referred to as Sweario Kart in our household, and I recently discovered that the Wii Wheel is rather more aerodynamic than you'd think after I was blue shelled on the finish line during an online race.

      I'm not allowed to play it when my wife's at home anymore. :(

  • Casual games, the American Idol / Britain's Got Talent of the industry.

    As Simon Cowell's found out, it's easier to shove out something half arsed that the public will quickly forget about (but not before ploughing millions into first) than to come up with anything original.

    The fickle public, I hate you.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by dangitman (862676)

      As Simon Cowell's found out, it's easier to shove out something half arsed that the public will quickly forget about (but not before ploughing millions into first) than to come up with anything original.

      Yet, the most originality appears to be happening among the so-called "casual" games, while the "hardcore" are mostly endless re-iterations of the same thing.

  • by w0mprat (1317953) on Friday April 24, 2009 @05:58AM (#27699551)
    (Ill get modded down, but it needs to be said...) Just because Nintendo et al are catering to a previously neglected market for games, thus making more of their revenue form people who aren't traditionally the customer base of the games industry, it *does not* follow that hardcore gaming is being dumped, dying or abandoned in any fashion.

    Exploiting a previously unfilled niche, for overall growth does not require that some other aspect of the system loses out. Aside from obvious logical flaws in TFA's rant, observations above don't stack up: since when are World of Warcraft players considered 'casual'? You could be forgiven for making that assumption of course, until you actually meet a few or play yourself.

    Hardcore gamers are not going anywhere, even if they aren't going to be the biggest percentage of revenue in the future.

    So unless the current mainstream s selling their PS3s in order to buy a Wii - making a change in habits - the overall games market is growing because of the addition of new consumers.

    I would have found it a more plausible read if TFA was talking about how casual gaming is a *gateway drug*, and how it is a very clever marketing move.
  • Who needs all the buttons on those newfangled contollers and their sleek, flash consoles?

    In my day, real men beat games with only a joystick and one, albeit majestic, button.

    The "Big Three" of classic gaming (in order of superiority):

    1. Atari 2600
    2. Nintendo NES
    3. Sony Playstation (the first one)

    Video game systems are following relatively the same path as cars:

    Cars: 1950's - 1970's = Awesome machines
    1970's - 1980's = Mediocre contraptions

    • by Dwedit (232252)

      Sorry, but the Atari 2600, with it's 128 bytes of RAM, and graphics rendered on the fly by the CPU as the raster descends the screen, barely counts as a game console. I wouldn't consider anything before Colecovision (a whole kilobyte of RAM!) to be any good.

  • by blind biker (1066130) on Friday April 24, 2009 @06:15AM (#27699615) Journal

    ..even for an outsider like me, putting "World of Warcraft" and "casual gamers" in the same sentence, seems odd to say the least. I associate WoW with people spending several hours per week, even per day, playing online.

    But, if I've been wrong, I am glad: there's this beautiful real world that awaits to be discovered - it would be a pity not to do that, and waste your time playing WoW instead.

  • The distinction between casual and hardcore does not come from the games themselves, but from the players. You give an hardcore player the most casual game there is and he will still play it as if it were a hardcore game, fiercely competitive, min-maxing every aspect, etc. Chess for example is a pretty good casual game, rules are simple enough to learn relatively fast, a match is short enough to kill some time with a friend if you have nothing else to do, etc. Yet, there are people who dedicate their lives
  • by samsmithnz (702471) on Friday April 24, 2009 @06:25AM (#27699655) Homepage
    He doesn't get it. The hardcore gamers aren't gone, Nintendo has just tapped into a new market - parents, girlfriends, grandparents, young, old and everything in between.

    From what I've seen about my friends and family that play wii (and have never played Playstation or XBOX), they get bored of wii sports/guitar hero/wii fit/etc. after 2 or 3 months and then never pick up their wii again. If anything, the hardcore gamers are the ones that are going to stick around and continue to buy new games
  • It's not that there are fewer "hardcore gamers". There are more casual gamers, that's all.

    Sure, gamers grow up and some drop the hobby or tone it down, but a new generation grows into playing at the same time. If anything, the market is growing because consoles are far more mainstream than C64 gaming ever was.

    At the same time, young adults who used to play board games in my time (I don't even want to know how much time we spent sitting 'round a table playing) move towards casual computer games. Why? Because

  • by obarthelemy (160321) on Friday April 24, 2009 @06:32AM (#27699689)

    It seems there is a debate about what casual means:

    - rare, short, light gaming sessions: the gaming pattern is what defines "casual"

    or

    - ages 7-77, easily accessible: the accessibility is what defines "casual"

    Anyhooo, I guess casual gaming will kill hardcore gaming the same way family sedans killed sports cars. Slow news day ?

    • Both (Score:3, Insightful)

      by mkcmkc (197982)

      In my day, I spent hundreds of hours playing Quake (and I don't think I've seen anything that matched it), but I no longer have the time, energy, patience, or remaining carpal tunnel capacity to put up with learning some game's 17 inverse lower Egyptian Ninja super power spin moves. Plus, I have little kids and a wife, so unfortunately the spurting gore- and slut-fests are out.

      When I get home from a long day at work, I want to blow up easy-to-hit baddies for a while, or walk around in an interesting and we

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by CelticWhisper (601755)

        That 2nd paragraph is everything I've been trying to articulate to people about games for the past 2 years. Thank you thank you THANK YOU for putting it so concisely and perfectly.

        I've long been of the opinion that games need to have some kind of, what was it called in Vista, "tilt switch" to detect potential player frustration. Frustration isn't fun. They share a common starting letter but they aren't one and the same. When people get frustrated, they stop having fun. When they stop having fun, they s

  • by V50 (248015) * on Friday April 24, 2009 @06:33AM (#27699691) Journal

    I'd just like to point out that what is deemed "casual" in World of Warcraft is usually very different from what is deemed casual regarding the Wii.

    Actually, in WoW, the term hardcore and casual are thrown around to mean so many different things, they are almost worthless. Before I got bored and quit recently, I was the raid leader and main tank of a medium sized guild. I raided typically 4 hours a day for 3-5 days a week, and spent a quite a bit of time in addition to that farming, PvPing, gearing up guildies in 5-mans, etc.

    Your average person would probably call that hardcore, but in WoW, that would be considered casual by many people.

    When I imagine a casual Wii player, OTOH, I imagine someone who doesn't spend much time or money playing games, has a Wii, maybe spends a few hours a week playing Wii Sports, Mario Kart Wii, etc, and maybe busts it out for friends. Much different than a WoW casual.

    Anyway, the idea that "hardcore" and "casual" gaming are in a zero-sum conflict is silly. Both can and will survive, and there is a huge amount of overlap between the two. "Hardcore" gamers frequently will play a game of Wii Sports now and again for a change of pace, and there's nothing stopping a Wii-loving casual soccer mom from playing Halo 3 on her kid's Xbox 360 once in a while.

    Most "hardcore" gamers I know own either all 3 systems, or own a Wii and a 360 or PS3. (I have all 3.) They may grumble about the Wii and casual games from time to time, but most still enjoy a good game of Mario Kart now and then.

  • Seeing as this is the end of hardcore gaming, does this mean we can finally see the year of Linux on the desktop?
  • I consider my self a "hardcore gamer" in the sense that I prefer games where there's actually some progress to made. No matter whether it's a story that slowly unravels, a character that develops or just new levels which are a little different/more difficult than the previous one. I don't switch on my PS3 every day - not even every week - but still, virtual dart or bowling is not for me.

    The reason why people like me have started to look into so called "casual" games is that it's actually these titles that a

  • And? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by ledow (319597) on Friday April 24, 2009 @07:20AM (#27699901) Homepage

    Please, tell me what's new?

    I owned over 200 Spectrum games, I completed *exactly* one (Nonterraqueous). If you go by the number of games that can't *be* completed but which I got very, very, very involved in, then you can probably include the Gauntlet series, Chaos, Bruce Lee and Target:Renegade. I pored thousands of hours into games over several years, but only managed to complete less than 1% of them. That *doesn't* necessarily make me a casual gamer, it just means that I got bored of most of the games quite quickly and played something more interesting. If you look through my software libraries of the time, you can see exactly where the most time was spent and there are entire *years* where I didn't play the new games I was buying because I was so busy with the old ones. Does hardcore gamer mean "plays a lot of games", "spends a lot of time playing games", "plays games through to the absolute finish", "plays the newest games" or what? It's such an obscure term it could mean anything, and technically I've been in all those categories for parts of my gaming life.

    Casual games *are* played by hardcore gamers, it all depends on what and how you want to do with them. When I bought Half-Life 2, I played it through on Medium difficulty. Why? Life is too short to spend thousands of hours on the extreme levels reloading and reloading to get the perfect 100-health, every objective run. But some people did just that. Does that mean that I'm somehow in the same market as the Wii "wiggle the controller once a minute" crowd, or that I am somehow vastly different from that crowd? No. I actually play things like WiiSports all the time, but also find that you just cannot get a good FPS/strategy on such machines. My most common games to play are the old games I used to own via emulation... does that mean I'm not a "hardcore" gamer? I spent hundreds of hours honing my skills on CS and CS:CZ, does that make me one?

    The elements that, to me, make a "hardcore" gamer are:

    Time dedicated to the task.
    Difficulty of the task to a new player.

    Thus, it has *nothing* to do what the actual games that are played. It's like saying that a professional tennis player is a "hardcore sportsman" but that someone who spends every spare moment they have running but doesn't actually compete isn't one. It's really just a matter of dedication.

    Just a few categories to jog people's brains but are the following considered "hardcore" gamers or not: NES Speedrun fanatics? Professional Counterstrike players? Dedicated Counterstrike players that don't compete?

    So discussing hardcore gamers as something seperate from casual gamers (although we can all pick out the two from our friends without needing a formal definition) is crazy. The game I spent five minutes on might well be considered a "hardcore" game. I've never even *loaded* World of Warcraft... does that make me ineligible? But what about the time and money spent, and the skills gained on a ten-year-old game? That doesn't count?

    Hardcore gamers will always want different games to casual gamers. The proportion of each in the world has changed recently, but it doesn't mean *anything* can be predicted from it. For all we know, it might mean that in ten years time *everyone* is a hardcore gamer because they were introduced gradually to games by the casual games and sought out more. Hardcore games won't die while someone wants to pay for them. Casual games won't die while someone wants to pay for them. Discounting actual hardware inadequacies, both types of game can be produced for any hardware. Nothing's going to change.

  • by Lifyre (960576) on Friday April 24, 2009 @07:25AM (#27699923)

    I fail to see the correlation of a growing population of gamers and many of those being attracted by party games and the death of hardcore games. Maybe it is because you are ignorant enough to think it is the game that makes you hardcore. A new gamer who plays party games in all their spare time is just as hardcore as someone else playing "Ultimate Blood Explosion 3" for the same time.

  • by Endo13 (1000782) on Friday April 24, 2009 @09:37AM (#27700949)

    ...the article author doesn't.

    The resurgence of casual gaming is indelibly tied to the new wave of game peripherals. From chick-friendly sing-alongs to the genre-crossing Guitar Hero,

    Sorry guy. Guitar Hero has never been casual. If by "casual" you mean a game that you can play casually for a few minutes/hours here and there and have fun, then basically every decent video game ever made qualifies. There is absolutely nothing casual about truly 'beating' Guitar Hero. Just ask the players who got a legit 5-star performance of Through the Fire and Flames on expert.

    A truly casual game is one with no real incentive to ever play more than a few minutes at a time. The Klondike Solitaire that comes with Windows would be a perfect example. The instant the game includes some kind of reward/incentive that requires you to invest significant time blocks or lots of practice it is no longer casual. Now sure, it can still be played casually, but then so can every good video game under the sun. You just have to avoid the non-casual parts.

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