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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.