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Casual gamers vs hardcore gamers
by Flavio Damasco on 02/24/14 12:10:00 pm

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The following blog post, unless otherwise noted, was written by a member of Gamasutra’s community.
The thoughts and opinions expressed are those of the writer and not Gamasutra or its parent company.

 

hardcore vs casualA lot of time passed since my last post! Shame on me, but I was super busy... or I wasn't and I simply was lazy... or both!

Talking about time, it flies and games and gamers change.

A few years ago, when iPhones, iPads and Wii became popular, two

cc07b0a1498a3db3cf43025e0a4b65cf-casual-vs-hardcore-gamers

 new “genre of gamers” were born: casual gamers and, their counterpart, hardcore gamers. Who are these casual and hardcore gamers? Nowadays, this is really a tricky question, while it was easier to answer a few years ago. Why I say so? Because the so-called early casual gamers (those who played Farmville, for example) have evolved, have moved to more complex games and they don't play “casually” anymore: they attach to a game for long time and many hours a day. Are they still casual than?

And, about hardcore gamers? Are they simply those who play many hours per day? Or are they those who play some games defined “hardcore”? And what about hardcore gamers appreciating more accessible ones? But which games are “hardcore”? Are considered hardcore the games that are time-consuming? Are considered hardcore the games that have high levels of difficulty? Are considered hardcore the niche games with a small amount of players although their high quality? Are considered hardcore the games containing a high quantity of violence?

These are just a few questions to try to define hardcore games, but the main ones. Usually it is believed that a hardcore game answers YES to all the previous questions, but let's see if it is true and if it its true only for them:

  • Call of Duty:COD
    • many hours long? Yes, in multiplayer
    • difficult? Yes, depending on player and opponents' skills
    • niche? No: a lot of people play COD
    • violence? Yes, lots of realistic violence
  • League of Legends:
  • many hours long? Yes, in multiplayer
    • difficult? Yes, depending on player and opponents' skills
    • niche? No, a lot of people LOL
      play LOL
    • violence? Cartoon mild violence
  • Monster Hunter:
    • many hours lonMHg? Yes, several hundreds
    • difficult? Yes, it is solely based on player's skills
    • niche? Depending on countries: in western ones it's not very famous, but in Japan it's a top seller
    • violence? Fantasy violence against monsters
  • Final Fantasy:Dissidia_Final_Fantasy_-_CG_artwork_of_Warriors_of_Cosmos
    • many hours long? Yes, several dozens
    • difficult? Depending on the time spent on grinding, so the answer could be, “not really”
    • niche? Depending on countries; in western ones it's quite famous, but in Japan it's a top seller
    • violence? Fantasy violence
  • FIFA:many hours long? Yes, in multiplayer
    • difficult? Yes, depending on player and opponents' skills
    • niche? Not at all
    • fifa09_large_1
      violence? No violence beside fouls
  • R-Type:rtype
    • many hours long? Depends on player's skills
    • difficult? Extremely difficult
    • niche? Yes, extremely
    • violence? Somehow: spaceships shooting lasers...
  • Blitz Brigade:many hours long? Quite
    • difficult? Yes, depending on player and opponents' skills
    • niche? No, this is a social game
    • blitz
      violence? Yes, lots of realistic violence
  • Candy Crush Saga:candy
    • many hours long? Yes, a lot
    • difficult? Advanced levels can be really tough
    • niche? Not at all!
    • Violence? Extreme violence against candies! So, no.

 

From this list, if we take a closer look, we see that games like Call of Duty (which is considered hardcore) is not really different from Candy Crush Saga. Can we really judge a gamer from what he/she plays?
Would it be better to judge them by the amount of time spent playing per day? For example, on average Hay Day is played even 81 minutes per day per player, and Hay Day is definitely considered to be a casual game... Candy Crush Saga is played even more!

Likewise, we could try to argue that it depends on the platform on which the game belongs, but we have several problems with games such as Angry Birds and Minecraft, which are long, difficult, one of niche, the other not and somehow violent. Even consoles such as Wii (erroneously considered to be casual) hosts games such as Pandora's Tower and Mad World, which are far from being casual games!

Mad-World-Wallpaper

So, we can not easily define casual vs hardcore gamers on the played game structures, on the quantity of time spent playing or on the platform used... This makes things really tricky... Especially if you add that somebody plays both games considered to be hardcore and casual!

But, we can ask another kind of question, maybe more interesting for future discussions: does it still make sense to divide these two kind of players in two opposed groups? Is this still relevant?

cropped-wall10-1024x768-1-1


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