The Blurring of Casual and Hardcore Games

GamerDNA founder and CEO Jon Radoff writes: I gave a talk at Austin GDC 2009 titled "Emerging Trends in Gameplay: The Blurring Lines Between Casual and Hardcore." One of the main points I made–and which I think was well received–is the notion that you shouldn't be thinking of casual and hardcore as two separate market silos. Instead, think of how to utilize what works in each category (casual = accessible, hardcore = immersive/engaging) in whatever games you are creating.

If you have been to one of my talks on market trends before, some of the data will look familiar–but there's something here for everyone, new or old! However, I was able to include some very recent data from Twitter that shows the stellar growth in game-related conversations for the last three months (7.6% compound week-over-week growth!) as well as shifts in Twitter conversation regarding games (e.g., the huge impact that The Beatles: Rock Band made on game-related attention in the week of 9/9/09).

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ReviewsArePolitics3253d ago

You can love a "casual game" and play it all day long to the point of getting all of the achievements/trophies. Doesn't that make you hardcore? Especially if you become a cult follower of the devs behind it...

Cat3253d ago

I thought it was a great piece, i wish I'd been at AGDC to hear Jon deliver the presentation in person!

ThanatosDMC3253d ago

Harvest Moon... damn thing is like Farmville on crack. It'll suck you up.

NegativeCreep4273253d ago (Edited 3253d ago )

I'm sure the Nintendo Wii has made a lot of (grand)mommas and (grand)poppas get serious about videogames and news concerning Wii releases and such.

Timesplitter143253d ago (Edited 3253d ago )

Wether or not a new alien invasion game is casual is debatable. I would've said hardcore without hesitation.

Casual games are games that appeal to mass audiences like COD4, GTA or Rockband. And Alien Invasion isn't appealing to anyone from the casual market right now. Hardcore games are games played by purists and gaming enthusiasts.

And I do think it's an interresting segmentation, because it really tells what kind of gamer you are, be it online or offline. Social vs Non-social is too restricted to the MMO world (it's not like guilds were something important in life... I always ignore them), and thematic tastes are in many ways part of the hardcore vs casual debate.

However, my personnal view on hardcore VS casual is that is applies only to people; not games. Casual gamers will buy the "hottest" games, as well as sports games and movie-based games, and they'll play them to "relax and kill stuff online". Hardcore gamers are more interrested in the games they buy. They want to experience them like we experience movies. It has nothing to do with the amount of time played or the obsession you have with games, just the way you play them.

Both casuals and hardcores can end up buying the exact same games, but not for the same reasons

cuttlefish803253d ago

Hardcore and casual are just marketing terms. The lines aren't really blurring as such moreso the two cultures a overlapping. I don't think that it's a case of the designers making games that are bluring the definition it's more of a case that they are seeing a the casual gaming markets increase and therefore supplying more money to making better games to capture the market. This is leading to better casual games.
Hardcore gamers will still play casual games and sometimes play them in a hardcore way. (i.e. getting sickenly good at them that nobody else can compete with them.) The casual market doesn't just contain casual gamers it also contains a preportion of hardcore gamers seeking something more relaxing than a game of Starcraft or Counterstike.
At what stage does a casual gamer become a hardcore gamers? Does it come down to what games they play or is it how long they spend playing them?