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Hardcore vs Casual labels

Posted: August 7th, 2011, 7:31 pm
by VideoGameCritic
In the past few years there's been a lot of discussion about the merits of labeling some gamers "hardcore" and some "casual".  I'm sure a lot of you cringe at these labels.  I think a lot of the contention had to do with the fact that Wii gamers were being lumped into casual crowd, even though many were serious about their gaming (me for example).

For years I downplayed these labels, but with the advent of iPhone games and social games like Farmville, I'm starting to think they finally make sense. 

Let's face it, just about everyone has played a video game in some form.  Even if it's Solitaire on the computer, or a free iPhone game, you can't escape them.

However, there are a specific group of people who take their games much more seriously.  They save up their money to buy special editions of sequels.  They discuss gaming on forums.  They compete with each other.  They collect games.  They might play games for hours on end, or specialize in one particular game.  These are the hardcore gamers.  If you're on this forum, you're probably in that category.  You consider gaming a hobby, not just a time-killer on the bus, or something you tried on Facebook.

So who are the casual gamers?  Pretty much everyone else in the world.  That's a lot of people, so it's a pretty lucrative market.  It includes most of the females on Facebook or using cell phone.  There may not be many iPhone hits on par with "Angry Birds", but if you add up all the money generated by these types of games available, it's huge. 

That said, casual gamers are not going to sink big bucks into their games.  The hardcore gamers are a smaller group, but we are willing to invest large chunks of our income and time into gaming.  We make Call of Duty, Street Fighter, and Legend of Zelda games best sellers.  We line up to buy the new consoles.  We are mostly young males, but we are trending older all the time.  We are still the core audience that the industry targets, and for good reason.

So what do you think about my characterizations?  I'd like to hear them.

Hardcore vs Casual labels

Posted: August 7th, 2011, 9:34 pm
by Leo1

I think you described the two segments perfectly.

But I tend to not be too crazy about the "hardcore" label. Too many people that consider themselves hardcore gamers just play the latest Call of Duty, Madden, and Halo title each year and have little involvement and exposure to the hobby otherwise. So I avoid that label like the plague, even though I'd probably qualify as a hardcore gamer by most definitions of it.

My Xbox 360 group on my gamertag is something like recreation. I specifically wanted to avoid associating myself with the hardcore label. I generally find when someone labels themselves as such that they're largely ignorant about the hobby, only play games in a few of the most popular franchises, could care less about the history of the hobby, etc.

To me, a hardcore gamer should be a well rounded gamer. They should love gaming and be dedicated to the hobby while experiencing many different aspects of it. Someone that concentrates on just one small part of the spectrum that then proceeds to claim that they're a hardcore gamer just makes me scoff at the term and how it gets used.

Hardcore vs Casual labels

Posted: August 7th, 2011, 11:21 pm
by Adamant1

Indeed. These terms have become so loaded with hostility, entitlement issues and ignorance over the years it's better to just avoid them altogether.

Your description of two different "kinds" of people who play video games is accurate enough, but unless you feel like posting that article every time you mention these words, most people are just going to assume you're using them like most other internet idiots are - "hardcore" means me and the games I like, whom game companies should always cater to, while "casual" means games I don't like, and the people who play them are the scum of the earth, while any company who makes any such game is committing high treason.

Hardcore vs Casual labels

Posted: August 8th, 2011, 1:34 am
by gilly
Like Leo, my xbox gamertag is listed under the "recreational" label instead of hardcore. I feel I'm a dedicated gamer for the last two decades, but teenagers that only play call of duty call themselves hardcore.

Hardcore vs Casual labels

Posted: August 8th, 2011, 5:24 pm
by MythicRobDog1
[QUOTE=gilly]Like Leo, my xbox gamertag is listed under the "recreational" label instead of hardcore. I feel I'm a dedicated gamer for the last two decades, but teenagers that only play call of duty call themselves hardcore.

Maybe we should have 3 labels: Casual, Dedicated and Hardcore. I personally consider myself more of a Dedicated gamer as I don't compete very often and play very select games from each genre. I do however keep track of the gaming culture in general which I think is considered more of a "hardcore" thing to do in some ways.

Hardcore vs Casual labels

Posted: August 8th, 2011, 5:41 pm
by Hardcore_Sadism1
This whole issue with labeling just baits the snobbiest try-hards out there. Not to mention some of the excessive Nintendo hate during the Wii's lifespan.

Hardcore vs Casual labels

Posted: August 10th, 2011, 12:55 pm
by Julio III
I'm a "hardcore" gamer in that I own all the current consoles (except 3DS), read gaming newsites and forums, but a lot of games, including a lot of wallet-damaging imports yet I spend a huge portion of my gaming time on so-called Casual games, especially on my phone. Doodle Jump, Bejeweled Blitz, Wurdle, quick addictive score attack distractions.

Hardcore vs Casual labels

Posted: July 23rd, 2014, 8:54 am
by scotland171
Our Katana Logan brought this up in the unpopular opinions thread. The term casual gamer is used for dismissal; its a way to marginalize their opinions or tastes or buying habits. Instead, its just sports or television, where people are involved from mild awareness to fanaticism. Labels are good for marginalizing, like dismissing a strong female video game character as just a token, or another person as a dudebro. Hearing an opinion in the context of who is giving it is proper, but not to make us vs them groupings so that you can just stop listening.

That said, some labels make sense. Gaming is so diverse and ubiquitous, as Dave pointed out, anyone who is under 50 has almost certainly played them. Some, like ourselves, are hobbyists. We identify as gamers, we spend a significant amount of leisure time involvied in gaming in some fashion. There should be some label that describes that, but still understands that others play games differently, and are not interested in the past, future, or health of the hobby. Thats its one of our primary hobbies, and not o e of our occassional ones, does make a difference.

Like just about everyone has drunk wine at times, but others are wine collectors, oenophiles for wine lovers, aficionados for wine fans, and still others are sommmeliers with a deep knowledge.

Hardcore vs Casual labels

Posted: July 24th, 2014, 12:49 am
by DaHeckIzDat1
I've always considered myself a casual gamer, as in I play games just for fun. There are a couple franchises I follow, but I've never been the type to run out and buy a game on release date. I play when I have the time, and occasionally I'll allow myself to dedicate a while day to playing a game (though as I've gotten older and developed other hobbies I've found that to be less and less appealing). To me, that makes me a casual gamer, while the hardcore ones are the gamers who are willing to spend several days in a row playing a single game, they wait for midnight releases of games they're excited for, they'll ask for days off work to spend time playing new games, etc. I guess my definitions are a bit different than other people's.

Hardcore vs Casual labels

Posted: July 28th, 2014, 12:48 am
by DaHeckIzDat1
[QUOTE=scotland17]Thats a neat viewpoint. For you, its about investment, and not what you are actually playing or how you play it.

Its a bit like sports again. Some people watch a game here or there follow your local team, and if you miss a game or they are eliminated, no big thing. Ohers change their schedule and are heavily invested with time, treasure and emotions. Like catching a NCAA March Madness game here or there, but others have their brackets, watch hours of ESPN or other commentary, try to stream the games on their work computers, etc. Or even Harry Potter or other book series that create a fever pitch of involvement.

So, for you, would it be fair to say casual means its just one hobby among several,,and there is small personal emotional investment, but hardcore would be a primary hobby with substantial personal investment?[/QUOTE]

Yeah that's a good way to put it. There are definitely some games I wouldn't mind picking up on release date, but if I don't it's no big deal. Usually I'll wait until the price drops. If it's a game like Skyrim, I might even hold out to see if they'll release a game of the year edition with a bunch of new content added in.