299: Casual Gamers Are Better Than You

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Casual Gamers Are Better Than You

As much as hardcore gamers may sneer at casual players, one has to remember a rather stark and unpleasant fact - in more than one way, they're better than you.

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Talk about someone else. I'm the bitter fan that curses the "core" gaming public for not buying creative games like Killer 7 or Persona 4, instead opting to be the 9 millionth person to buy the next CoD. I really don't wish I was a Casual player.

It's funny cuz it's true!

I'm mostly ok with the casual menace among us. As long as Bioware continues to cater to *MY* needs, I'm happy.

So being dumb means being better, soccer moms' decisions are always researched, and ignorance is bliss.

After reading this, I feel dumber already. Guess that makes me "better". Thanks, shitty article!

Seriously, most fallacy-ridden thing i ever read. I'd probably have a rebuttal for each and every line of text if i tried hard enough, but since flamebaiting seems to be the thing with this article, i'm not gonna surrender to the light trolling attempt.

Jim Sterling:
You Wish You Were Casual

As much as hardcore gamers may sneer at casual players, one has to remember a rather stark and unpleasant fact - in more than one way, they're better than you.

Read Full Article

A scathing rebuke, but not inaccurate.

The key take-away here is that developers aren't taking risks because their target audience won't take risks. And as a result? Developers that want to take risks are in fact abandoning the "hardcore" gamer. They're going somewhere that risks are allowed or welcome, while the "hardcore" folks have to continue eating from the same dirty trough as always.

poiumty:
So being dumb means being better, soccer moms' decisions are always researched, and ignorance is bliss.

After reading this, I feel dumber already. Guess that makes me "better". Thanks, shitty article!

Seriously, most fallacy-ridden thing i ever read. I'd probably have a rebuttal for each and every line of text if i tried hard enough, but since flamebaiting seems to be the thing with this article, i'm not gonna surrender to the light trolling attempt.

While the tone of the article rings of "shock value," take a step back and consider the possible truth here: you're pretty resistant to hearing a different point of view, aren't you? I'm not saying it in an accusatory way or anything, but surely it's something you might notice about your response.

I mean, yeah, the article comes across as argumentative... but not quite as argumentative as your response, which is just a bit over-reactionary, no? That's kind of the point the article seems to be getting at--the more fervent someone is about their opinions and beliefs, the faster they'll be to fight something new or different. The fewer risks they'll take on something new or unfamiliar, because they feel it is a personal affront.

The author of the article seems to be indicating that "Casuals are better" is what a lot of up-and-coming developers believe--they're more open to experimentation (in terms of gameplay, controls, price structures, etc.), so that's where the innovative developers are going. Not because they don't want to make "core" games, but because "core" gamers won't let them experiment.

Your own reaction should, if you take just a moment, serve to prove that point--even if you disagree with how the point was presented.

I don't think this is so much that the "hardcore" or core gamer is resistant to change but that we know what we like and at $60 a pop we tend to stick with what we like instead of taking the risk (unless I find a game in a bin for cheap obviously). Ya it might seem like the "casuals" are all about change and accepting new ideas but I think it's more just the developers making games for a demographic that already has it's tastes.

In a couple years I can totally see the conversations about how the casual market is stagnant with the release of "Dance Central 4: Warriors of Prance" or the umpteenth millionth Wii Fit clone and console Farmville. They are new and are embracing what they enjoy, it's not so much that they are embracing creativity or artistic merit, but that they just embrace things that are different from what the hardcore/core gamer does.

Jim Sterling's view on why the happy content farmville gamers are better people than people who play full price games and are discontented reminds me of this.

image

You know what? Maybe PC and console gamers are still buying the games that are really good and enjoying them a lot. Maybe it is just the industry and certain cliques on web sites that are building up the merits of certain types of games beyond what is realistic and blaming the wrong things when reality fails to live up to their dreams.

But we do expect a higher level of analysis when we read and talk about games in places that are supposedly supposed to support that. Just saying that something is adequate, good for what it is, and that undiscerning people without much experience will enjoy it is not enough. In the shallow but useful review score terms that is a 5 to 7 out of ten title at best and praising it as a 8 to 10 level title shows a lack of critical thinking. It's not that we necessarily want to buy games that prove that we are better than other people but that we want to play games that are in some way exceptional instead of good enough and have some sort of trendy feature. We want to be made to believe that some games are better and more worth playing, not just be told that they are with arguments that go against our judgement.

Yes, the casual market is giving devs a good chance to try something new. Despite what all the Nintendo haters on the internet say, I think the Wii will have better long-term effects for gaming than the damage of the short-term piles of shovelware.

However, certain devs *coughZyngacough* are willing to take advantage of the nature of casual gamers. Think like how a frat boy would pull pranks on some new kid because they don't know the world enough. Think how because most of the people who buy Madden don't know much about video games, they can get away with releasing the same game over and over again without the risk of their consumers thinking "You know, why don't they just update the roster with DLC?"

So, basically, the people playing games that install spyware on your computer are the good guys? That's what you want us to support? Free-to-play, pay out the ass later, installing spyware, games?

Jim Sterling:
You Wish You Were Casual

As much as hardcore gamers may sneer at casual players, one has to remember a rather stark and unpleasant fact - in more than one way, they're better than you.

Read Full Article

Great article. I agree 100%, and I play both hardcore and casual games, so I consider myself unbiased.

Dastardly:

Your own reaction should, if you take just a moment, serve to prove that point--even if you disagree with how the point was presented.

Correlation doesn't imply causation, and you're making assumptions you really shouldn't. My mind is very open and i certainly did consider the truth behind the article. It didn't last. Using debatable facts about piracy to prove a point about casuals, assuming certain things are true without proving them to be so, generalizing a lot more than he should, using a deliberately inflammatory point of view even though it wasn't needed at all and so forth.

But surely my calling of bullshit means i'm too closed-minded to accept his totally valid points. Logic 101.
Ironically enough, i'm not even the demographic he's targetting with this - i'm just pointing out he uses shock value to give him credibility rather than solid reasoning.

I think it only seems like casual gamers are far more open to new ideas because casual gaming is a far more recent idea, everything they are doing is relatively new so its not a fair comparison. And you cant really blame the consumer for this, how much say do we really have in what is made? I have liked games that I havent seen a sequel for, I have hated sequels, I have hated prequels, I have had buyers remorse over games (I got Vampire Rain for fuck sake) and I also dislike series like Halo and Gears of War. My input didnt stop anyone making Halo Reach or Gears of War 3, its rather unfair to say "you" as though every person who could read this article is responsible for the lack of creativity that corporations often have... and lets be honest, things can be a little too "creative". Example: Noby Noby Boy.

Oh and this article, a tad "bite the hand that feeds" isnt it?

Just what exactly has become of the Escapist? It feels like since the Zynga invasion with last years March Madness the "Casuals are so amazingly awesome and Farmville is great" articles continue to pile up. Not to mention the switch to the publishers club and the general dumbing down of the articles.

There are so many factual, spelling and grammatical errors in this "article" that I honestly have no idea where to begin.

I'm going to go back to playing Mount & Blade. I hope you enjoy paying money for whatever the latest personal data collection scam is on Facebook or whatever it is you do.

Twenty years from now, we're going to look back at this as the period when gaming took off as a socially acceptable recreational activity, to the extent that your grandma was playing games -- and wonder why in the hell we ever saw this as a bad thing.

In the short term, sure, it makes publishers put down that interesting new IP and run screaming for the shovelware money pile.

But in the long term? More of society playing games? More money going into games? Games like Wii Fit 'gameifying' workout routines and Chore Wars gameifying household responsibilities -- how can any hardcore gamer be so against this rapid expansion of the medium into all the corners of the modern experience?

Great article and a nice open discussion about the state of gaming and the gaming industry. I am enjoying reading the comments many people are proving one of his points right with their angry reactions. Don't take it personal guys but, from the perspective of a PC gamer who is not "hardcore" or even "core" this article makes a lot of sense and describes the way I and others like me see "hardcore" gamers and the state of the gaming industry.

I was thinking about arguing, but no. Really, no. I disagree with everything you claim. Some things you say are a fact, but the idea that this makes one group of people *better* than another is silly. *You* may think so because of the value you assign to these actions. I disagree. Yes, there are bad mindsets. Some things ought to change. Does this mean "we" are bad people? What kind of an attitude is this?
I'm a music fan. I have certain expectations of the music I expect my favorite bands to make. Sometimes even they fail, and I will be sad and not buy the album for a while, and someone who is less into the band buys it because he is not biased. Cool! But am I worse than him then? I doubt it.

Play farmville then if you like. Don't tell me that makes me a worse person if I don't though, unless it is your sole desire to be a dick.

Jim Sterling:
Hardcore gamers - and do bear in mind that I include myself in that bracket - like to stamp their feet and scream that publishers have "abandoned" them, but when I look at the distrust of new things, I cannot say I blame them all that much. I don't doubt that most core gamers, the ones who don't spend all their time bitching about reviews on forums, genuinely adore the hobby and want to support gaming, but we are not the worth the amount of attention we demand.

The casualization of games has nothing to do with hardcore gamers not being open enough- it's being driven by the fact that games now need to sell far more copies in order to turn a profit. Case in point- last generation, 400,000 copies was a minor success. This generation, it's a flop. In order to try to sell more copies, publishers are dumbing them down to try to reach as broad an audience as possible.

Publishers can easily get more money out of a hardcore gamer than they can a casual one. If it was just a matter of hardcore gamers not buying new IPs, developers would just need to release more sequels. The issue is that there simply aren't enough hardcore gamers to support 40 million dollar budget games. They need a broader market for that.

I never really thought of Famville's demonization as plain ol' sour grapes before.

HG131:
So, basically, the people playing games that install spyware on your computer are the good guys? That's what you want us to support?

Whoa thar. who said anything about you supporting it? The entire point of the article is that other people might like it, and you shouldn't look down on them for their choices, even if you disagree with them.

Better? Absurdity. When you have 20+ years of video gaming under your belt, tripe like Farmville fails to impress on every level. Casual gamers don't have all those years of experience, so all that easily accessed crap looks pretty good while the core games all seem overly complicated.

Like that now common wisdom; put a ps3/360 controller in your parents hands and turn on any fps game. They will display an all consuming level of failure so inconceivable you might think they're auto walking into every wall and corner on purpose.

I think the biggest problem is that people equate hardcore with being interested in nothing more than generic FPS games that really aren't good anymore, but just have a massive online community full of dickheads (i.e. Halo and Call of Duty serieses). Not all people who describe themselves as "hardcore" would agree to that, but certainly a large number of closed-minded people I have come to know will say that.

In that, they dismiss hundreds, perhaps even thousands, of excellent titles that they'll never enjoy or experience because they have such a small bubble of enjoyment. They may never get into a true survival-horror game. They may never have fun with a well made RPG. They'll just sit around, shooting and T-bagging upon reflex. Again, not all people who are hardcore gamers do this, but I know enough where this could (if it isn't already) be a stereotype.

Read this as: Casuals have low standards, buy things based on novelty and are cheap. Frankly the insinuation that you get a better deal playing free and cheap games and paying for good hardware and games is stupid was kind of offensive.

Pros: The rapid expansion of the gaming community and demographics
Developers trying new idea in gameplay

Cons: Less sequals to IPs... wait, that's a good thing
More shovel ware (in some ways debatable)

How many copies of the same realistic FPS's have been sold? Homefront, CoD, MW, all follow the same format in multiplayer, just different maps. They may have a few differences but as someone who only plays them on console when at a friend's I couldn't tell you the difference in game since there really isn't one (haven't played Homefront so no knowledge there.) So why pay $60 for the same game time and again for a few new maps and occasional feature, not counting DLC? The "casual" gamers that so many look down will play the quirky random game that actually has innovation (farmville not being one) and will play a greater number of games.

So the system gets some crappy shovel ware, who cares, it doesn't take that much effort to push it out the door, relatively cheap to make and funds itself.

Its not that the casual gamers are dumber, hell to enjoy a simple game is harder to do than enjoy a more advanced game. What's better, a good feature film at full cost that has been remade three times or a series of 5-10 min shorts of different nature that don't cost anything and are mostly good? Claiming that people who find enjoyment in social games are dumb is a highly elitist, narcissistic and backwards view. I'm gonna wrap this us, the new causal market is helping the industry regardless of the hardcore elitist taking his blinders off.

Casual gamers aren't so much 'better' or 'more open' so much as attracted to a slightly different type of shiny thing than the hardcore crowd. I pretty much see them as two sides of the same coin, with the casual group piling on the latest Farmville clone, and the hardcore group piling on the Call of Duty clones. Neither one would support games like Okami or Psychonauts. The article does raise some great points and uncomfortable truths, though, about why hardcore gamers are being 'abandoned,' or at least feel like they're being abandoned, because of piracy, stagnation, and so on. No one wants their work being stolen consistently, and only a mediocre developer wants to make the same game over and over with the only change being slightly shinier graphics (which is what the hardcore crowd prefers).

diadia:
Great article and a nice open discussion about the state of gaming and the gaming industry. I am enjoying reading the comments many people are proving one of his points right with their angry reactions. Don't take it personal guys but, from the perspective of a PC gamer who is not "hardcore" or even "core" this article makes a lot of sense and describes the way I and others like me see "hardcore" gamers and the state of the gaming industry.

What he said. All the people saying his article is factually wrong without providing facts themselves. Its both funny and sad...

diadia:
Great article and a nice open discussion about the state of gaming and the gaming industry. I am enjoying reading the comments many people are proving one of his points right with their angry reactions. Don't take it personal guys but, from the perspective of a PC gamer who is not "hardcore" or even "core" this article makes a lot of sense and describes the way I and others like me see "hardcore" gamers and the state of the gaming industry.

I think that many of us have short tempers with Sterling because we know about his sensationalist tabloid journalist techniques.

But we would be interested in hearing your problem with the game industry and how it relates to failings in the customer base for their games. From the article there seemed to be arguments that certain types of promising games they are making are not selling enough copies because of negative people on web sites. Another is because console and PC gamers are sticking too much with games that they know will be good because they have had their fingers burned too many times by highly recommended games that turned out to be a waste of money.

Do you agree with these points and how do you see improvements in other newer markets?

SilverUchiha:
I think the biggest problem is that people equate hardcore with being interested in nothing more than generic FPS games that really aren't good anymore,

I don't. I've seen the kvetching over Dragon Age 2, Crysis 2, and Mass Effect 2. People complain about games being generic, but if anything is changed at all, fans start complaining.

but just have a massive online community full of dickheads (i.e. Halo and Call of Duty serieses).

Expand that to "any online game". There are plenty of jerks playing TF2 on PC.

Not all people who describe themselves as "hardcore" would agree to that, but certainly a large number of closed-minded people I have come to know will say that.

I find 'closed-minded' is often used as a synonym for 'has a different opinion than me'.

JonnWood:

SilverUchiha:
I think the biggest problem is that people equate hardcore with being interested in nothing more than generic FPS games that really aren't good anymore,

I don't. I've seen the kvetching over Dragon Age 2, Crysis 2, and Mass Effect 2. People complain about games being generic, but if anything is changed at all, fans start complaining.

but just have a massive online community full of dickheads (i.e. Halo and Call of Duty serieses).

Expand that to "any online game". There are plenty of jerks playing TF2 on PC.

Not all people who describe themselves as "hardcore" would agree to that, but certainly a large number of closed-minded people I have come to know will say that.

I find 'closed-minded' is often used as a synonym for 'has a different opinion than me'.

It's easy to make someone sound stupid when you take their quotes entirely out of context.

SamElliot'sMustache:
The article does raise some great points and uncomfortable truths, though, about why hardcore gamers are being 'abandoned,' or at least feel like they're being abandoned, because of piracy, stagnation, and so on. No one wants their work being stolen consistently,

Such as how PC gamers pirated Crysis just to use as a benchmark, yet cried about it when the sequel was multiplatform?

SamElliot'sMustache:
only a mediocre developer wants to make the same game over and over with the only change being slightly shinier graphics (which is what the hardcore crowd prefers).

Developers aren't the ones calling the shots- publishers are. And they LOVE making the same game over and over with slightly shinier graphics. It's cheap and it provides a nice, reliable money stream. This is, in fact, Bobby Kotick's stated strategy.

The casual market is simply larger, and more willing to buy cheaply made games.

My immediate reaction after reading this was 'Well fuck you too buddy'. I feel like I'm being attacked.

Core gamers cannot be counted on to support good games, but casual gamers can be counted on to support almost anything, so long as it piques their interest.

The problem with all the games you listed is that they had poor marketing. Even if your game is phenomenal, if nobody knows it exists then it's going to flop.

And yes, I suppose casual gamers can be counted on to support anything. Because after all, they are like magpies, buying something then abandoning it the second something shinier comes along.

So what, they're better because they don't research a bit before buying? They're better because they're mindlessly consuming?

This article makes a lot of assumptions and dubious "givens". As a hardcore gamer, it's assumed I pirate games. I don't. It's assumed I don't like casual games. I do - Plants Vs Zombies (245 hours) is one of my all-time favorites, and I liked World of Goo. I'm close-minded, and won't trust new IP's? Hell, it's the "established" IP's these days I don't trust, with some of my favorite companies (Bioware, Crytek) churning out crippled, stunted PC games as they court the console player. Frankly, I'm very interested in new companies and new titles, as I hope they haven't yet been infected with the EA virus they call a business strategy, chances are better that they are not developing it multiplatform, and that they might actually have a fun game (with perhaps a fresh take on things).

Maybe I'm "unique" amongst those of us who call ourselves hardcore gamers. I doubt it.

A good portion of this article boils down to: ignorance is bliss. At least, it is for the gaming industry. Since us hardcore gamers are actually more knowledgable and a bit pickier about what games we'll spend our dollars on.

So "hardcore gamer" now means that you're buying whatever the "big" companies release?
However, illseva.

Edit: Yes, that is both my captcha and the greatest counter-argument ever.

While I liked this article, and do agree with most of the points, I think you cast too wide a net when defining "Hardcore" gamers. Personally, I think of there being 3 different camps which (like everything) have overlaps at the edges; Casual, Populist and Hardcore. While hardcore gamers do have a lot to answer for as outlined in the article, I think blaming the demise of new IPs or crappy & exploitative DLC on them is unfair.

Other then that, great article.

Edit:

BonsaiK:
Great article. I agree 100%, and I play both hardcore and casual games, so I consider myself unbiased.

Same. As long as the game is Fun, I'm all for it *goes back to Bejewelled*

"Core gamers seem to resist the new and distrust the unique"

Minecraft. Now STFU Mr. Sterling if that is you real name.

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