299: Casual Gamers Are Better Than You

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So... pretty much casual gamers are better because they aren't elitist snobs?... Why is this 4 pages long again?

Also, title is so obviously to bait people xD


I don't really see casual games as advancing games as a whole, it seems more like it's stunting the growth of games... well, god, I could say this about a lot of things...

Anyways my point is, besides the fat wads of cash Zynga and whoever else seems to be making I don't see it really improving games by making them more accessible, I still can't see someone who only plays Farmville giving more in depth games a try...

My belief is that so many people are becoming gamers and being raised gamers these days that eventually people who don't play games will be the minority.

I don't hate casual games, I just don't think they're that interesting.

What a pointedly self serving article, obviously put about by marketers. The fact is that "casual gamers" are basically mindless and uncritical consumer-bots who will chow down on any old crap that is thrown at them like some sort of amorphous product eating C'thulhu monster with no taste buds. They have no critical function, just "om nom nom tastes like poo but I know no different". They will desert one half eaten product for the next without a moment's back glance, and they never make any demands upon companies to produce a better product because at the heart of it all, they just don't actually care. I put it to you, don't drop your standards to fit in with people who don't care about your hobby, and companies desert their core at their peril. Casual gamers are also transient gamers, and no company can rely on them being there, nor are they a useful gauge of a company's inability to produce quality product (expressed in negative, due to the preponderance of bad games).

At the end of the day, video games are a product. You cannot produce a product without some investment, and the aim of the product is to make money. If a significant percent of your consumers are not paying money for this product, your profit margins will suffer. And what are profit margins used for? Creating more product.

So basically, i agree with the premise that Casual gamers are better than pirating hardcore gamers. These fans are hurting their own industry by stealing the product from hard working developers and not allowing them the funds to create more. I really don't see how there can be a justification for piracy, except maybe the "i bought it once, it stopped working, so i pirated a working version", because in that instance, at least some money was exchanged.
Another acceptable justification may be for people outside America, where the price of imported video games is inflated ridiculously (an average new Xbox 360 title sells for about $100 here in Australia. AND our dollar is stronger than the american one atm). And i'll admit that's just bullshit. It would be cheaper to buy overseas and pay for shipping, if only games weren't region coded.

But, in summary, the instance of pirating casual games is much lower (although I know for fact it's possible to pirate games such as Virtual Villigers and Diner Dash) which means, in the instances where the games as for money, they're paying for it. Which then supports the further development of more casual games.

This is ignoring of course the value of indepth story and complex characters vs bright colours and cartoony animation.

Also, we could probably argue casual gamers generally have more going on in their lives, since they don't spend hours upon hours each day glued to a PC or console...but that could be debatable.

As more of a hybrid gamer, I'm not really biased ether way. I play hardcore AND casual games and don't really see the big deal in segmenting the gaming community over it. But that's just my 2 cents.
And now I leave you with a question; what is Pokemon? Harcore or casual? It's got all the collecting and grinding elements of an RPG with a basic story line, yet it's accessable enough that 5 yr olds are playing it, and you can put it down for months at a time and pick it up without missing a thing.

If by core gamers you mean fanboy's of a specific genre (cough FPS's cough), then yes. But really, most gamers, "core" or "casual" usually have specific tastes and they stay within those tastes. casuals just like pretty lights and easy controls, "core" like to shoot things, sometimes in different ways, or they like heavy games of strategy or RPG's or whatever because that's what they enjoy. maybe their time is limited anyways, and wouldn't play anything else because of it.

You have to be careful with your wording though because the REAL "core" gamers ARE the ones who actually try new things and WANT new experiences, but usually in a HARD (or at least interactive) environment, but can't play games that are just too simplistic and mindless or just straight up designed to pray off peoples weaknesses (farmville). Thats ACTUALLY hardcore, to learn entirely difficult new game styles so often and so many times over is actually HARD for a lot of people.

Like, I play just about every genre of game, turn-based or real-time, strategy, FPS, action, button-masher, RPG, puzzle, "artsy indie games", adventure games, card games, casual games, MINECRAFT, etc (if i missed anything and you can name it i've PROBABLY tried it). But the thing is, is that while im able to try new games, I'm not as easily impressed as most people with a lot of them, and in the end, there has to be enough REASON to play for me, because my time is more valuable then just being addicted to bejeweled/farmville for weeks at a time, which in reality is the situation with a lot of these "casuals", and definitely even with the "cores".

But are any of these casuals going to pick up any of the games I usually play? NOPE. Therefore, in a lot of ways, the cores and casuals are actually the exact same. "cores" play core games, "casuals" play casual games.

So, really, this argument is flawed in a lot of ways, and was created for shock value to lure in hits, which it worked for me, but still felt like I should comment. These generalized and super opinionated views don't really help anyone though.

I think it's sad that in order to defend the casual gamer, Sterling resorts to first building a giant wall between the supposed casual gamer and the supposed hardcore gamer, and then telling his readers that they belong on the wrong side (hardcore).

Not only is he making the obvious mistake of assuming that there are only casual and hardcore gamers and that you stay in one group for life, he also somehow manages to play up the hate between the groups on the pretext of defending one.

If I didn't know better, I'd almost think the Escapist was trolling us. The article has no meaningful conclusion and serves better as flamebait than a defense for anything. I don't think of myself as a hardcore gamer, but as someone with 20+ years of gaming experience, I get the feeling that I'm being targeted, for reasons I don't really understand.

Sterling, your Farmville argument is horribly flawed. Do you know how much it costs Square-Enix to make a Final Fantasy game, or for Kojima to make another MGS game? The graphics alone are bloody expensive, and Farmville is a cheap Flash-y game. You just can't even put these on the same playing field if you're talking about costs.

We pay $60 because we're playing movie-quality graphics on a beast of a machine designed to run them. Farmville, on the other hand, requires any old puttery computer to run. Also, we're paying for high levels of plot, complex and enthralling gameplay, and 40+ hours of constant new experiences. Farmville is a grind, has no plot, very simplistic gameplay, and people pay *extra* to enhance a game that isn't giving you anything past a basic "operant conditioning" experience. (Watch Extra Credits.)

Also, let's look at the Wii. It's heralded as a casual gaming boom -- or, to core gamers, a total failure. The problem isn't really that Mom and Dad got into the console and decided they wanted games, too -- the problem is that Nintendo completely shut down its core games for this demographic. They played it as a zero-sum game -- if casual gamers got what they wanted, we couldn't get what we wanted. This basically pits one group against another, fighting for companies' attention, and of course we can't stand casual gaming if this is the case. They're taking all our space and our resources.

Casual gamers are actually *less* open than core gamers, mostly because they refuse to touch anything that requires you to press multiple buttons at the same time. Mom doesn't want to learn how to use a controller. Junior can bang out combos in Soul Calibur like he was born for it. The number of games requiring complex controller shenanigans -- and I don't even mean fighting game type shenanigans, just your normal level of "hold this button, now run, now press a couple more -- are pretty much *every game in existence* for the core demographic. Casual gamers don't want to learn to play our way; they don't want any of our gameplay. They just want to twiddle their avatars. They're the reason that Spore got destroyed, turned from a Supergame into "let's give the n00bs an introduction to several genres of game." They don't want to be skilled, and they don't want to keep track of buttons. Basically, they want a dumbed-down version of core gameplay, and this isn't okay for us.

This would all be okay, if companies could decide to go with *both* demographics, but after the fiasco that was the Wii (and I still haven't forgiven them for Spore), I'm not sure we can play nice with the other kids.

Not to mention that casual games are really really cheap to make. His commentary on Farmville being free and "isn't that just a grand way to do things" is concerning something that takes absolutely no talent, time or investment to make. If it did, there wouldn't be 50 different versions on the iphone app store.

The Hardcore crowd is a demanding one that expects innovation in all the games it plays. Do we buy a lot of sequels? Yeah we do, because we found out that the original version was something worth the investment and we want to support it. These games usually take giant development teams years to bring together, and we pump huge amounts of money into the industry to get that quality merchandise. We even pay three times as much for a "limited edition" where something is gold instead of gray.

Casual gamers spend two dollars on "Angry Birds" or thirty on "Cooking Mama" and all of a sudden they're better than us? They're supporting the industry? Biggest selling title this year was Skyrim, hardly a Casual game.

They aren't worst because they don't know the difference between Konami and Activision, they're worst because frivolous spending causes all that money that we put in to go to games that look and feel like they belong on the PS1. They make the industry stagnant. The reason we don't pick up the wii's and Kinects isn't because it's a gimmick for casuals to have a good time with, but because that's all they're making for it. Every last one of us has dreamt of the great potential that motion trackers could add to games like CoD or Zelda, but what we get are games like Disneyland Kinect and Kinecimals. How would we be able to call ourselves smart if we speant $150 on a piece of merch that plays games less entertaining than Tetris?

So just accept the latest/greatest game, don't question it and just play it for fun.. Yeah I miss those days but I am no longer twelve years old anymore. Yes having some causal gamers is essential in the market like movie or TV show fans. You need these fans for a main product to sell, hell I know people that only buy a xbox or wii just for the use of netflix and older games.

However if you cater to much on either end then it becomes a huge problem like with the Wii or Psp. I love both of those systems equally but marketing isn't strong point for neither one of these systems and holding out on decent games due to lame excuses is only going to add fuel the fire for legit reasons to pirate.

If by "hardcore" you mean "fanboys" then yeah, the article makes sense. However, a real hardcore gamer generally tries anything that has quality behind it and does not have adware leaking out of it. I guess I consider myself "hardcore", but I am more than willing to give games like Amy a chance. I even broke out and gave MW a chance. Even after accidentally stumbling on a hilarious exploit that let me knife kill anyone I lay my eyes on and finding hacked servers which gave me a trillion to one KD ratio, I can find the humor behind playing it. You point on DLC is somewhat right. However, developers of casual games do this all the time, and are quite shameless. Besides, you can always just not buy the DLC.

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

Interesting that you say that, because it makes you sound like you identify yourself in what he's saying.

You should probably note that:
a) the article is quite tongue-in-cheek.
b) he repeatedly states that he's not saying anyone is a bad person for how they enjoy games.

Well I've put in probably over a hundred hours on "Skyrim" all told, and still consider myself a "casual" gamer. And I don't see a contradiction there.

I will play anything that gives me enjoyment, stop playing it for weeks (as I've done with Skyrim), then pick it up again. I've played indie titles and mainstream hits. What exactly does that make me on this scale?

The biggest delusion here is that there's a set "core" gaming group, as compared to a "casual" gaming group. Where are these so-called "core" gamers? I've never met one. And my social set, without wishing to imply negative connotations, are the biggest group of geeks, nerds and techies that I can imagine.


"Casual" games are not "indie" games are not "innovative" games by default. What does that mean? It means that a casual game isn't automatically innovative, that an innovative game isn't automatically indie, and that an indie game isn't automatically casual. That might seem like an obvious deduction to you but think about what that implies. Casuals are still a market, and all markets are fated to be tapped like dopey consumerist mineral veins, so as time goes on we'll see those casual gaming trends being milked to death just as we've seen in the, quote, "hardcore" scene. Regenerating health versus limited actions per day. Lacking single-player campaigns versus "Tell all your friends to play and you'll get free stuff!" mechanics. CoD and Gears clones versus endlessly recurring iterations of rhythm and minigame-collection party games. I will say, however, that casual games, casual gamers and the entire casual market should not be underestimated as a tool for expanding interest in the medium and for taking (stupid) risks that seasoned veterans wouldn't dare to, bless their naive little hearts (and I mean that, I almost envy their optimism). Just don't assume that your gran is going to be the deciding factor behind the creation of the next "gaming work of art". These noobies are just as likely to buy a game in limited print with strange, stylized box art and little word of mouth backing it up as any of you. In other words, chances are the average FarmVille player wouldn't be too keen on Braid.

Just remember: All those games that you love that no one bought? Psychonauts, Beyond Good & Evil, Earthbound, whatever you can think of. No one bought them, casual or hardcore, not because those games were original IPs but because they were weird ones. Just look at what happened with Scott Pilgrim vs. the World. People will always be people, shitty generic tastes and all. No amount of social gaming or motion control "innovation" will change that, and really will only exacerbate that truth. Justin Bieber will always be a god amongst tween girls so long as he remains an androgynous sellout (kidding... mostly). So, as far as artistic merit and creative endeavor go, no, casual gamers are not better than me, and neither are hardcore gamers, because they're both demanding safe repetition.

Pseudo-pretentiousness aside, I think it's important to keep in mind that "cores" aren't really abundant, they're just loud. If you ask me (like I know you will :D), we all need to be more open to original ideas. They'd become more affordable if we'd let them. No more realistic shooters clogging up the local GameStops, no more sequelitis, no more DRM because games would be affordable and piracy largely unnecessary (though still rampant, just less so). Imagine a world where a GOOD game would run you maybe $20 USD, tops, and be worth every penny. Wouldn't that be a nice world to live in? And maybe then cores would leave the casuals alone. And by "leave the casuals alone" I really mean "stop ranting incessantly about casuals", because really, what can a teabagger actually do to a Sims fan?

You can let your eyes rest now.

this has failed to convince me
its poor attempts at logos fall onto sales figures with no backing, and percentages with also no backing.
its ethos is terrible, while the author tries to identify himself with the audience( escapists) with his recollection of the kinect, it only furthers the already prominent idea that the author's opinion is biggoted.
as for pathos, none of it appeals to the target audience.
all i can get from this is that its a failed attempt at a shock essay.
3/10 try again.


I have asked this many times, and came with different answers, and I will ask again.
What does the game industry, or rather the videogame community in general consider a "hardcore gamer" and a "casual gamer"

Like, I'm still trying to figure that out.
Is it based on hours clocked in on a daily/weekly/monthly basis playing games?
Is it how experienced they are with the game?
How many games they have?
How passionate they are?

What exactly is it?

It is almost universally agreed upon that the Wii managed to garner a lot of the "casual" crowd. However, as far as I am concerned those people aren't casual, because beforehand they never touched a videogame in their life.

I for example consider myself as a causal player. I don't clock in untold hours into a videogame on a daily basis.
In fact I haven't played a game in weeks.
However I'm not "stupid" as the industry wants us to believe. I didn't need the leveling system in Skyrim dumbed down for me to understand.

This just always confuses me. This "market" has already existed. Heck, there are a lot of staff here on the Escapist that are "hardcore" by definition, but are more than happy to discuss new and fresh ideas in gaming.

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