299: Casual Gamers Are Better Than You

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Jim Sterling:
-Referenced-

Good to hear from you again, Jim. Interesting article, and well stated.

Looking over it, the first thing that caught my eye was the statement about sequels selling better than new IPs because of the skepticism of hardcore consumers. Being an ex-Gamestop employee who has hosted a number of midnight events over a span of two years, you are 100% correct. Nearly 100% of the midnight releases I took part in hosting were for sequels of a certain series like AC: Brotherhood and Call of Duty: BO. They sold like mad, even K&L2, which I knew would suck the second I heard about it. (That game never had a midnight release. Thank God.)

For example, when Risen came out, none of my regular customers gave it a second look, even when I told them I had bought and played it, and enjoyed every second of the game. It wasn't until I had a regular who was a grandmother come in and ask me about it that the game sold. She later told me she loved it, and that made me smile.

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The next part the caught my eye was the section devoted to piracy, a subject I know is hot button, and one which I know you have made plenty of statements on at Destructoid before. In one of your Jimquisition videos, you stated that pirates should admit they're thieves rather than try and defend their actions all the time, and in this case, there is plenty more reason to look favorably on that statement.

I have noticed the drop in the number of high quality, if not appealing, games on the PSP over the years, which saddens me. It wasn't until Invizimals came out that I bought a new, as in on the market new, game for the system, and ever since, I've been enjoying the game greatly. Sure, it's a bit faulty, but I like monster collecting games like Digimon World, so this game, with augmented reality, I picked up without hesitation because it appealed to me. (Even so, my PSP is more of a media player now than a gaming system.)

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All this said, I do not consider myself hardcore or casual. I play a lot of games that are not popular to the masses, but so long as I can find games that play like Borderlands, Gothic, Invizimals, Fallout: New Vegas, Arx Fatalis, and Dungeon Seige III, I'm more than happy to put my money where my mouth is and support the developers.

However, I play Pangya, Minecraft, and Dungeon Fighter a lot when I don't feel like spending anything, or cannot spend spend cash, and those games are just as fun to me as those I have to spend 40-60 dollars to purchase. This is an expensive hobby, but so are my D&D and Warhammer hobbies, so at times, budgeting is the answer.

Once again, good article, Mr. Sterling.

If you're avoiding new IP's, I'd be more tempted to describe you as the industry's bitch than a hardcore gamer. If there were something like racial discrimination between video games, that would be it. It's shallow and ignorant to disregard a game based on the number in its name or the little watermark on the cover, and it's disrespectful to new and low budget developers.

Unlike a $60 game, Farmville and its kin are free experiences. It costs you absolutely nothing to get started, and there's a surprising amount of content to be enjoyed at the entry level.

This is a inaccurate statement in my opinion. You pay in information you give to advertisers via facebook. I would rather not share my data. Same reason I avoid FB in the first place. Congress is considering a privacy law to protect American consumers on the internet. (The EU already has such laws) You can imagine that FB is opposing it.

Protip: Repeatedly insulting your target audience is generally not a good way to convey your point.

I went through a fairly serious Farmville stint last year. Even at the height of my addiction (and I was fairly addicted), I was never having as much fun as when I played other types of games. Planting and harvesting crops was a chore that had to be done, not a leisurely experience.

Though I suppose it varies from person to person.

Enjoying farmville just because its free makes them smarter? If they were any stupider they'd get just as much entertainment out of a cardboard box. [/flame]

AgentBJ09:
The next part the caught my eye was the section devoted to piracy, a subject I know is hot button, and one which I know you have made plenty of statements on at Destructoid before. In one of your Jimquisition videos, you stated that pirates should admit they're thieves rather than try and defend their actions all the time, and in this case, there is plenty more reason to look favorably on that statement.

Sure is a hot button, I've seen many discussion on that topic and I noticed that sometime the "piracy" that is being defended is not quite the same as the "piracy" that is being attacked. This is definitely one of those things that are more complex that what they look, it ain't just either "stealing" or "freedom". The anti-piracy side, for example, think only of the kind of piracy going on on handhelds (which I don't apreciate myself) while the other side is actually defending retro gaming. Something you've admitted to doing.
Your shame about once downloading games that ought to have been free already by then seems unjustified to me. But that's entering the debate on why copyrights just should not last as long as they do, I can provide links explaining why if you are interested.
Then there's the notion that Law is Law even if stupid, unfair, and ineffective. A matter of personal philosophy I guess.
When I defend the "piracy" of older media I don't try, I succeed.

Unrelated to the discussion on piracy, it irks me that "core gamers" are only FPS players. Most of them aren't much more than a bunch of fratboys and bros, just another population of casuals they are. What am I who plays all kinds of games old and new and enjoy them equally ? /rant

What a shitty, condescending article. In what universe does less discriminating equal better? Or for that matter, how is a game that the author freely admits is designed with nothing greater in mind than to be addictive (and the last time I looked, few addicts were actually taking the time to enjoy their addictions) make the player inherently superior to me simply because I choose a different style of game to play. I guess all those idiots that spent hundreds, and in some cases thousands, of dollars buying fucking smurfberries are having more fun and thus better than me.

If the author wrote this article simply to flamebait the gamers, who mind you are the ones reading this, not the soccer moms or other casual gamers, then mission accomplished. Otherwise, this guy has some weird ideas about what makes one person better than another.

Carnagath:
The question is, if the "hardcore" games are such a difficult and niche audience, then why are games still being developed for them? I'd answer, for the same reason why fancy restaurants still exist alongside McDonald's: Because, as unbelievable as that might sound, some people actually take pride in their work and are fulfilled by satisfying a hard audience. Because, apparently, there are people who would rather work for Team Ico or 2k Games and barely break even, than work for Zynga. Shocking, I know.

That is a beautifully appropriate analogy, my friend. By Mr. Sterling's rationale, the people that eat garbage junk, fast food crap are better people than those of us that enjoy a quality meal that might cost more, or prefer a quality, healthy home cooked meal over something made from animal entrails, filler and fats.

It's an absolutely ludicrous position to take, and I can only assume the author is trolling us. Sure, there's nothing wrong with enjoying a fast food burger now and then, but if this very same author were to tell me that the obese person at McDonald's blissfully working on his coronary is "better" or "superior" to me because he enjoys his $4 Big Mac as much or more than I enjoy a $25 perfectly cooked steak and some steamed vegetables, he'd be laughed out the door.

Quality and discerning tastes are not a bad thing.

Dastardly:
The reason he brought up games like Enslaved was to prove the point that far more people bought the new COD than bought games like Enslaved. The point wasn't that Enslaved is the best game ever. It's just that the "core gamer" audience is more willing to shell out money for sequels than to even try a new IP. You tried it and didn't like it, which is bound to happen, but you're still in a minority. Most folks wouldn't even give it the time of day because it's not a same-old safe bet.

This also presupposes that the audience for CoD and Enslaved are two separate entities. I'm sure there's actually lots of crossover. Also, and it's unfortunate that it's almost become a requirement for success, Enslaved offers no online competition, which is a huge selling point and a huge factor in replaybility for an FPS game.

The article can basically be boiled down to: "Ignorance is bliss"

Also, I see your Farmville and raise you a LOTRO.

"Hardcore" gamers hate "casual" gamers (regardless of how they define both of those terms) and the industry that caters to them because it means fewer games are being made that cater to 'them'. They feel entitled to have a large selection of (according to their personal definition) high quality games to pick from, and feel immediately threatened by (again, according to their definition) low quality products selling well.

They immediately and defensively rage against these games and those who play them because their success means a larger portion of games being made will cater to the large demographic that buys them.

The same applies to established titles "dumbing down" the experience to be more accessible, they reflexively see it as a start down the slippery slope to losing one of the dwindling number of "high quality" franchises that exist to the ever growing, uniformed mob that is the "casual gamers."

And the exact same reason is why they don't like to see an established franchise innovate. Oh sure, they cry and clatter for innovation, but at the same time they want to get what they expect when they pick up, say, Final Fantasy or Mario, and while they insist on innovation in general, they don't want to see the series they love potentially becoming "low quality" as a result of it.

Overall, it's a childish view and it doesn't take a rocket scientist to see why this group isn't catered to. It's the rich kid who was raised a sheltered life with all the toys he could ever want suddenly stepping into the real world and seeing the mobs of "inferior" working class people and scoff at anything that caters to that crowd, while at the same time feeling threatened that this ever growing population may someday dethrone him from his position as being superior to them.

incal11:
Sure is a hot button, I've seen many discussion on that topic and I noticed that sometime the "piracy" that is being defended is not quite the same as the "piracy" that is being attacked. This is definitely one of those things that are more complex that what they look, it ain't just either "stealing" or "freedom". The anti-piracy side, for example, think only of the kind of piracy going on on handhelds (which I don't appreciate myself) while the other side is actually defending retro gaming. Something you've admitted to doing.

Your shame about once downloading games that ought to have been free already by then seems unjustified to me. But that's entering the debate on why copyrights just should not last as long as they do, I can provide links explaining why if you are interested.

Then there's the notion that Law is Law even if stupid, unfair, and ineffective. A matter of personal philosophy I guess. When I defend the "piracy" of older media I don't try, I succeed.

I can see where you're coming from, but I do try and buy those games if I can. I have recently found copies of Blood and Ultima Complete, but those are never cheaper than 39.99 for a physical copy in any condition no matter where I look. I'm not a big fan of virtual games, but they're far cheaper in this regard.

If you wish to link the articles you were talking about, I'd like to see them.

Unrelated to the discussion on piracy, it irks me that "core gamers" are only FPS players. Most of them aren't much more than a bunch of fratboys and bros, just another population of casuals they are. What am I who plays all kinds of games old and new and enjoy them equally ? /rant

To be honest, I really like FPS games. However, my favorites within this genre are those that are 100% FPS, or those with some secondary elements of play, like RPG elements or puzzles.

Borderlands and Serious Sam are my modern favorites, while Heretic, Quake, and Blood round out the older ones.

I think it is a mistake to try and divide gamers into some black and white group when most probably fall into the grey. I play both kinds of games, and games like Tetris, which are casual now, were not considered casual when it came out.

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.

This reminds me on moviebobs 'Death of pc gaming' article.

Shock value, with a title to make me want to rage.

I disagree, whilst gamers may not like new ideas; it's most likely because most new ideas are tripe.

Most casual gamers are barely playing games in the first place.

The answer to a populace that will not accept anything unless it's gritty and full of swear words and has a number at the end of the title is not a populace that will accept anything as long as it's full of glitter. Both groups will judge on dumb preconceptions to judge games and support anything that's widely marketed to them.

The hardcore gamers' defence of their hobby is stupid, but the casuals probably wouldn't even admit Farmville is a videogame. And if a game wants me to play it for free and maybe pay money if I want special stuff, it'd better at least be better than the competition.

I must say I'm surprised to see Jim Sterling writing here as I was only recently subjected to his Youtube videos by someone trying to make a similarly futile point about casual vs. hardcore audience as it pertained to the support of a specific title (i.e. game exists because of casual audience and balance changes to game should cater to them not hardcore audience). I was very much unimpressed with his POV and reasoning (I also really wish I had the ~4 minutes I spent watching his video back). The first mistake as several others have pointed out is his decision to speak in absolutes. Casual gamers are faeries and rainbows and are geniuses for playing nothing but low entry level freeware games. Hardcore gamers are evil idiots for not properly supporting intellectual properties, pirating things they do like and generally being douche bags. Riiiiight. Flamebaiting article at its finest and hopefully the last one we'll see from Mr. Sterling.

More gamers would support games if idk... THEY STARTED MAKING GOOD GAMES!

Our "Hardcore gamer audience" might be more accountable for buying if all the AAA games weren't so terrible. The issue is not with us it is with YOU the developers, the publishers, and the industry itself.
Why should we be accountable to buy every god forsaken un-original piece of shit the Cloneo-matic game machine churns out. Every AAA title they come up with is labeled innovative while it is nothing but cut and paste copy of the other AAA games they make. It is not the consumers fault they do not want to get behind that low-quality a product. Its like some idiot kid saying 'No one wants to be my friend because i am superior and they are all defective" when in reality they are just a poor human being.


Same case with gaming today. The industry is full of disappointments, our lack of interest in following you into the abyss is not our fault, and you are despicable for trying to make it seem as such.

That casual superiority based on sales is just you catering to a different audience because you cannot satisfy the previous demographic.

My hatred for Zynga about Farmville has less to do with the fact that it's a dull button clicking waste of time than the fact that they got lucky as hell with their basically stolen dull button clicking waste of time. It had a better name, so it caught on.

After reading this article I feel like I have been blamed for supporting the industry for over 15 years. Just because I am a 'hardcore' gamer or whatever you want to call us, I really cannot see the logic that we are not open to change. We have seen and supported the industry through years of change and innovation.

Since most of this article is based on a single person's subjective viewpoint and observation, I would like to say that from my experience, it is the casual gamer that is not willing to try new things. You ask your Bejewelled and Farmville player, soccer mum and granny to play something like DA or Mass Effect or Fallout and they sit there and tell you how they aren't gamers and 'are not into that sort of thing'. Surely an industry that is based on the pop cap model of making games, i.e. making ungodly amounts of money out of something that cost them £10 to make, is just going to set a precedent of 'we don't need to make epic, story filled games, but rather we can make Zuma 40'...cough, yeah really innovative.

The article mentions Kinnect and all you hear in game shops is 'oh it's like the Wii'. That's not trying anything new, that's just buying something on the basis of it being like the old, which the article just accused hardcore gamers of doing. Not to mention, it is us 'more tech-savvy' that have really driven the sales and took on board the Kinnect hardware. The fact we wanted to hack it to use it for something better than what Microsoft were doing with it, shows we like innovation. Yeah, we aren't using it for its purpose, but we are sure as hell supporting it because we are going out and buying the thing.

I understand that it is extremely important for more people to get out there and try games, and the odd time sink here and there is awesome, but ultimately it won't benefit the industry. All the people I know who play casual games leave them. They play them to death for 3 months solid and then get bored and not play another game. It's why all my non-gaming friends are selling their Wii's at the moment, because they got bored. The way I see it, is get these people to play the 'casual' games then get them onto something more substantial, something that will hold their interest and want to play more games for a longer period, rather than obsessing over Farmville and then forgetting it existed.

I also really do not understand the argument of "Now tell me, who is smarter? Bear in mind, of course, that the Farmville player is having just as much fun as you are, regardless of the experience's respective depths. I'd say it's smarter to dictate for one's self how much an experience is worth". That argument makes no sense. I do not find any enjoyment from playing Farmville. I tried it, I hated it, I moved on quickly. It's not because I was predisposed and coming from a 'hardcore' standpoint where I don't want to accept change. I didn't like it because it bored me. So that experience was worthless to me, the fact it is free does not justify it being worthless to me. Whereas the hours I have put into building characters in Mass Effect, has in my opinion, brought me more than enough entertainment and enjoyment, to justify buying it.

More Fun To Compute:

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?

Ah I see well I don't read enough of Sterlings stuff to know about his sensationalist tendencies. I mostly thought the article raised some good points about why the industry seems to be focusing more on casual games and putting a lot of money and time into marketing to those people. I also agreed a little with his discussion on the negative attitude of many (not all) gamers have. I can see why people took his comments personally but I think we all have seen/heard of those negative, angry, biased gamers or gamers who pirate games then complain about what companies are putting out and so ...I dunno. As an almost outsider of the gamer world/life I don't know enough to be super knowledgeable but I liked the article and thats why lol.

You're all a bunch of nerds, they're all a bunch a nerds, and we're all a bunch of nerds.

I have a problem with the whole "they play for free" argument. These free games take little to no talent and money to make. Its a hollow experience. I can read bad fan fic for free online or I can pay for a well written book by someone who takes pride in the craft. Im all for people playing farmvile if that is what they want to do but its not fair to act like its the same as a true game. They are 2 different animals. Now as for me Im gonna fire up Marvel vs Capcom 3 and kick someone in the face

The point of this was???

I can't believe how almost every foundation of this statement is just plain untrue. Core gamers are the ones who are good for the market and who have a knowledge of what is good and how the industry should develop, supporting the truly good games. Casual gamers don't buy what they like, because they don't even know of the games they like. They just buy whatever's best advertised and in this way bring the industry down to more and more of these garbage games. Casual gamers don't even play the best casual games ffs..
Also, some arguments that have been posted here before. I can't be arsed writing more now since I'm tired. This article wasn't even worth my time..

This is Jim Sterling we're talking about. He's always pretty edgy when it comes to game politics (you should see his thoughts on PC players and pirates). It's weird how his words seem to actually be accusing me of being a scornful, game-stealing dickbag even when I know I'm not.
And, uhh, on that note: more Video Game Show What I've Done would be awesome. It cracks me up every time :D

Edit: Not that I don't agree with him on some points. I'm going Swedish for this one.

Veloxe:
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.

That's a good point. You can already see that happening with Guitar Hero and Rock Band. They were new concepts that were both embraced, but now that they have had sequels, they don't seem new or innovative anymore.

Also, I would buy Warriors of Prance in a heartbeat, and not leave my prancing grounds for days.

So casual gamers are better because they are willing to spend their money on things they don't actually know anything about, while at the same time they are better because they like to play free games while we are willing to pay money to companies we know and trust?

You need to go back to high-school English and learn how to craft an essay with a valid thesis and information that is consistent with the point you are trying to make.

More importantly is someone who reads a free magazine in the doctor's office (let's assume it's something really stupid and trashy... like farmville but in magazine form) and reeaally enjoys it, because they are ignorant, are they better than someone who enjoys the works of particular authors and is willing to spend their money on those books?

Ignorance is never better.

AgentBJ09:
I can see where you're coming from, but I do try and buy those games if I can. I have recently found copies of Blood and Ultima Complete, but those are never cheaper than 39.99 for a physical copy in any condition no matter where I look. I'm not a big fan of virtual games, but they're far cheaper in this regard.

For a collector it makes sense to pay so much for a physical copy of an old game, but if you do it to "support the industry" or the guys who made those games chances are that you are mistaken. However supporting GoG for making the best old games known to a larger public is fine I guess.

If you wish to link the articles you were talking about, I'd like to see them.

Well first copyrights length weren't always what they are today:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Copyright_term.svg
For an in depth view of the implications of copyright you should read the "Free Culture" book, don't be misled by the title, it's not an apology of wanton piracy:
http://fr.feedbooks.com/book/2750
Then there's the various cases and studies that goes against the general consensus on copyrights. I don't deny there may be cases where illegal downloads did cause harm but that's not because "piracy is wrong". There are other factors like how close to the fans the authors are, what public does the game appeal to, what other games are around at the time of release and so on and so forth:
http://www.spiegel.de/international/zeitgeist/0,1518,710976,00.html
http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn4831-net-music-piracy-does-not-harm-record-sales.html

To be honest, I really like FPS games. However, my favorites within this genre are those that are 100% FPS, or those with some secondary elements of play, like RPG elements or puzzles.

Borderlands and Serious Sam are my modern favorites, while Heretic, Quake, and Blood round out the older ones.

You are a true FPS fan, and I apreciate that you are not a graphic whore. The ones labelled "hardcore" today are the GoW and CoD fans... hardcore? more like hard-headed to me :/
Personally I also play RTS games along with the reflexion, adventure, space, rpg, platform, fighting, simulation and racing games of any period. Not to boast, but people are quick to label themselves the "ultimate hardcores" and that makes me laugh, especially when I think of the insane monomaniacs that make me look like a soccer mom.
http://www.youcollectwhat.com/the_ultimate_video_game_collection.html
Maybe there's more than one meaning to hardcore, there's the ones who like to perfect their experience and reflexes in a particular genre, while others like to test their wits with lots of variety...

Duskflamer:
And the exact same reason is why they don't like to see an established franchise innovate. Oh sure, they cry and clatter for innovation, but at the same time they want to get what they expect when they pick up, say, Final Fantasy or Mario, and while they insist on innovation in general, they don't want to see the series they love potentially becoming "low quality" as a result of it.

Nothing wrong with perfecting gameplay mechanics, but the sensible issue here is that dumbing down is not innovation, even if it's advertised as such. You can dismiss an elitists opinion on the ground that it is only arrogance, but when someone has played so many games of a certain genre that person's opinion does have some weight.
A game that can please an elitist as much as a newcomer, that's perfection. What's wrong with that ?

Decent piece whose core points are all true, and no surprise at the reaction of the huffy "hardcore" fanboys who'd never dream of playing Angry Birds because they're not sufficiently confident in their masculinity. (Rather than for the proper reason, which is that it's shit.) But this is total bollocks:

"just tell a gaming community that piracy is wrong and you'll be bombarded with abuse and threats from those trying to justify their actions"

Self-styled hardcore gamers are without a doubt THE most angry and vociferous anti-piracy witch-hunters in the gaming universe. Bring the subject of piracy up on any sizeable gaming forum and you'll get a tiny handful of people defending piracy and an absolutely vast screaming lynchmob calling them thieves and scum and wringing their hands about the terrible damage suffered by the industry (no matter how crushing the weight of evidence to the contrary gets).

Damn I think my IQ drooped by 50 till I finished reading that, but hurray I'm now better then others!

Ignorance is bliss, but it is not progress, many people seem to mistake those.

RevStu:
Decent piece whose core points are all true, and no surprise at the reaction of the huffy "hardcore" fanboys who'd never dream of playing Angry Birds because they're not sufficiently confident in their masculinity.

Why would I buy a Jesus Phone to play Angry Birds when I have already played all of the PC games that it has ripped off.

diadia:
Ah I see well I don't read enough of Sterlings stuff to know about his sensationalist tendencies. I mostly thought the article raised some good points about why the industry seems to be focusing more on casual games and putting a lot of money and time into marketing to those people. I also agreed a little with his discussion on the negative attitude of many (not all) gamers have. I can see why people took his comments personally but I think we all have seen/heard of those negative, angry, biased gamers or gamers who pirate games then complain about what companies are putting out and so ...I dunno. As an almost outsider of the gamer world/life I don't know enough to be super knowledgeable but I liked the article and thats why lol.

There is some dark humour in thinking that the most critical people about games online are people who pirate them but I don't see the point in getting sanctimonious about it or being paranoid that everyone is pirating games. You also see plenty of PC gamers on forums who are more than happy to show off their large collection of games on their steam account and brag about spending hundreds of hours in games they love.

I think the idea that developers get sick of making games for us just because we complain on forums is a bit much. As a market we are people who can and do regularly find games from indie developers and support them while the reporters and people who are less interested in games ignore us. The games press in particular seem obsessed with movie like story games and will happily forget that games like Minecraft, Mount & Blade or even Starcraft 2 exist. It's people like us who keep them alive.

xscoot:
I was going to point out all the wrong things in this article, but as soon as I was done reading it I found that it was written by Jim Sterling.

Jim Sterling is to videogame journalism as Robert Kotick is to videogames. I don't really think I need to say anything else, especially since all the other people here are tearing the article apart for me.

So... what you're saying is that Jim Sterling is one of the most influential forces in gaming journalism? You're comparing him to the CEO, President and Director of Blizzard Activision, who make some of the most popular games in the industry?

Which side of the fence are you sitting on exactly?

This forum appears to be filled with similarly glib, reactionary comments to what was on balance, a interesting and thought provoking article. There's a lot of "casual" links being made between casual games and spyware, casual games and pyramid schemes, casual games and cancer...

I made that last one up but it's par for the course, everyone else seems to be demonising them.

I tried farmville and found it fun up until the point where I was at the top of my facebook friends leaderboard. The moment this happened it eliminated the competitive element and it was no longer fun. I haven't played it since and probably never will.
I agree with the people that hardcore gamers are more discerning than casual gamers. I think a large part of this is due to the price. If you have to spend £40 on a game, you're gonna make sure you don't waste your money on something that claims to be original but in reality is terrible. I'd like to think of myself as unbiased as I have an iPhone and so I play casual games frequently as well as frequently indulging in the hardcore FPS crowd.

Farmville is a trap, sunk cost, loss aversion, faraday cage kind of thing. Playing it because it's "free" and in your browser is not so much a real choice for some of these people, as an instinct. I will -not- respect people who let their lives be dictated in this way.

Yes WoW is too but that does not make it any better.

The bordening of the industry is welcomed by most, i think many gamers embrace 'casual' games without being aware of or caring about the "Hardcore Vs. Casual" debate. Most of us long time fanatics have no problem with these types of games. The problem is one of quality.

As a 'Core' audience i think this self-falgulation in the face of the 'casual' audience is pointless. The long term audience is the most well equipped to actively seek out new experiences, your example of K&L2 is flawed; the reason K&l2 outsold enslaved is becuase it had some very heavy promotion behind it and is in a 'hot' genre right now, if i didn't sepnd 1/2 my life refreshing gaming sites i would have never even heard of enslaved. This is an example of a problem with the AAA games industry rather than the audience.

In this new climate there have been some really amazing games made that strike back at the essence of what a videogame can be. Plants Vs Zombies and World of Goo are two great examples of what casual games SHOULD be, as in they shouldn't really be what many people think of as 'casual'. The word has become a byword for shit, and lets face this is deserved. Companies are taking this fresh audience for a ride. Im not talking about low price games like "cut the rope" or "Angry Birds" these are some of the most important games in the last few years because they show off how an idea, barely any funding and a little bit of luck can become not just a good, low priced game but a storming sucess. Im talking mainly about sovelware and especially social 'games' of late.

Going from a touching tale of a boy fighting giant serene ancient beings to save someone he loves at cost to his humanity to buying a cartoon cow for in a game that requires loose change to progress makes many want to be sick. Gaming as a medium has many choices ahead of it, in a previous article (which i have bookmarked but can't find right now) the concept of "Games as toys" Vs. "Games as Film". Casual games at their heart limint the concept of what a game can be to the gamer and the immense ammount of money they have been making coupled with many in the industry saying that iredeemible non-games like "Farmville" "are the future" The core gamers fear can be forgiven. Casual games are shit. Or at least almost all of them are shit becuase their creators think their inteded audience are idiots. 'Casual' games made for this myth of 'Casual gamers' ARE something to deplore. We should be trying to make good games regardelss of their genre, budget or platform not trying to market sub-par products to an audiecne we assume not to know anty better.

I think the Gamers have the right to be protective at this point in the history of the medium where we are on the verge of some really great works, having the creative efforts of an entire industry shift focus from crafing involving experiences to making browser interfaces that try and hoover money from you would be an almost criminal act.

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