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Casual Gamers Are Actually More Critical Then Hardcore Gamers?

The so-called "hardcore" gamers are, to be honest, elitist bastards. They're even the worst kind of elitist bastards: the kind that thinks they're smarter then those who are only "casually" participating in their hobby while they're not. How? Read on.

Tim Tavernier, Blogger

March 19, 2010

6 Min Read

First up some clarification. Yes, the title and summary scream "ooh ooh look at me, look at me" and promises nothing more then some immature ranting. But in fact...it's a trap!! 

It's A Trap!

It's a Trap!

It's a trap because I will be challenging some (hypocrite) ways that people think, they don't have to be right or correct, it's just the fun of challenging them. We are off course all children of the Enlightenment, right? So let's spring this trap then!

Reason nr. 1 The Casual Gamer is Smarter: He/She craves functional innovation far more. 

This industry, and its reporters, pride itself as one of the most innovative sectors in the world and in a certain extent this is true but there are different kinds of innovations. Innovation for the sake of it doesn't work, the party that comes up with the most practical and functional innovation does win. This console generation proves this to a certain extent where one console functionally innovates in such a extent it manages to attract new audiences while the other two innovate in such a manner they only are capable of holding to a fraction of last generation's market. The Books of Prof. Christensen (the dreaded Disruption Theory) explains the workings of this gap of marketperformance between Nintendo and other two. But how does this prove my point? Well, look at the gamesales of each console.

On one hand you have the console that is driven by games that innovate in control schemes, injecting new fun in old principles and creating new fun themes, on the other hand you have the two Shooter/Buttkicking with a sniff of sandbox consoles. But what is more interesting? The people on the first console don't buy me-too games or only if they're really good and add innovation. WiiSports and WiiPlay created a mini-game collection avalanche, very few survived it. WiiFit created a fitness game avalanche...same result. On the other consoles? Well, the Halo-clones and God of War-clones almost cover their entire assortment and the "far smarter" hardcore players eat them up. Fantastic way to promote innovation folks! 

Yes, the Great Secret behind luring these elusive "Casual" Gamers is actually *shocker* innovating in a functional way. But what is innovating in a functional way? Well easy, you functionally innovate when the innovation adds to the function of the product. For Videogames the function is to deliver interactive entertainment content. The keyword being Interactive. A Controller with 14 buttons, patches and hard-disk installs (the times my friend and me joked how we could play his Wii when a new PS3-game was installing have been numerous) does not deliver this.

Reason nr. 2 The Casual Gamer is Smarter: He/She doesn't Fall For Hype.

Again, sales figures. How does the standard "hardcore" game sell? It sells the most the first month and then drops like a brick. This Spike-like sales-curve is sometimes called by economists as the Hype-curve in the context of Product Life Cycles. It means as much that sales are completely Hype-fueled and loses momentum because word-of-mouth doesn't agree with the hype. How does the standard Wii game sell? Quite a bit different. Interesting is to look up all the million sellers for the Wii and then observe and a lot of those games were never seen in any top 20 list. Nice example was Carnival Games. Didn't appear in any weekly UK chart, then suddenly it was number 10 on the annual UK chart. The standard Wii-game actually "slow burns" under everyone's radar. Gaming journalists, being the most "hardcore" of the bunch and following the logic from this blog post, the most stupid of all elitist bastards, are off course flabbergast at this phenomenon. Let's bring back some 101 Economics in. This so-called "slow-burn" is actually a more logical and natural and classic sales-curve. Most recent example is Just Dance that slowly crawled up the rankings. So much that Ubisoft decided to make a commercial for it...weeks after release. A product that goes trough this more natural sales-curve actually succeeds better in attracting a wider audience because of the positive effect of word of mouth. And in following point 1, these "casual" gamers only buy games that are good, aka with as few limitations present in delivering its as compelling as possible interactive entertainment content. Games with quite some limitations or bad content will get negative word of mouth killing the momentum, resulting in the Hype-Spike.

Reason 3: They Don't Fall for Higher Prices, DLC's and Collector Editions.

You know when a industry is failing? When it starts exploiting it's still existing (but shrinking) user-base. *puts Old Bugger hat on* I know of a day where Collector Editions where just that, really rare items, not something you see as much on the shelves as the regular version. I know of the days when games came in big ass boxes with allready full of extra's, I remember de days when we had Expansions Packs that actually Expanded the game and not already on the disk content you have to pay extra for to get or has some code that has no value for the guy who second-hand buys it from you, I remember the day that game over 50 bucks/euro was a lot of money for a game. And you call the "casual" gamer uninformed...really? So far, the so-called "hardcore" gamer is a marketing brainwashed, innovation shunting, self-righteous idiot who pays videogame makes far too much money for what is delivered. The so-called "uninformed casual" gamer is so far a more intelligent being, embracing functional innovation and only buying a videogame when it is recommended by its peers or when he/she played it at said peers' house and not willing to drop too much money for what it expects to be a full gaming experience. 

In Short: We hardcore gamers have much to be humble about and a lot to shut up about. I hereby want to initiate this definition of a Hardcore Gamer: A Gamer Who Loves Gaming In All Its Forms, except of course you don't really like a certain genre (like say, a RTS) because of prior experiences in the genre. Those who claim to be hardcore gamers but do not uphold this simple principle will hereby known as Pseudo-Hardcore Gamers. As an extra note... the casual gamer shall hereby be called the Neo-Arcadian Gamer, for he/she loves gaming in its arcade principle: easy to learn, hard to master.

Also...let's keep the elitist fallacies to a minimal in the comments please. I'm not in the mood to turn Voltaire in the right position.

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