What the hell does 'mid-core' mean anyway?
Social. Triple-A. Casual. Accessibility. Freemium. Premium. Platform. Immersion. Emergent. Gameplay. Emergent gameplay. Hardcore. Indie. Disruption. Mid-tier. Skill-based. Open world. The cloud...
We all seem to have a love-hate relationship with buzzwords like these. On one hand, we can agree on what they generally
mean. On the other hand, they're still these amorphous words and terms that mean something a little bit different to everyone, so there's a slight communication breakdown whenever we use them.
Months ago, we started seeing the emergence of the term "mid-core." Some say it's the future of mobile and social games. Big companies are acquiring "mid-core" developers to capture the "mid-core" audience. Game studios are creating games aimed at the "mid-core."
Instead of just giving "mid-core" a free pass to join other sacred, nebulous terms that we use constantly, we asked you, the game developer and a whole bunch of Gamasutra Twitter
followers what "mid-core" means to them. Many have seriously thought about the term, defined it and are creating games according to that definition. Others dismiss it as a totally empty buzzword.
This rather entertaining experiment illustrates how scattershot peoples' understanding of buzzwords can be. But maybe it will also help you find direction for your own "mid-core" game.
'Mid-core' in a few sentences
"When I think about mid-core, it's really about distilling what you'd consider a 'hardcore' game down to its core essence, without making concessions on production quality, themes and gameplay mechanics. To us, mid-core means making a great, deep game more 'accessible' - both in terms of time (keeping sessions to 5 to 20 minutes, as opposed to hours) and platform access (it should be on many platforms instead of just one at a time)." - Frederic Descamps, general manager of Team Solstice
(Solstice Arena), Zynga
"Games that are easy to learn and allow advancement with short gaming sessions, but are more engaging, more competitive and more challenging than other social and casual games. This combination allows mid-core games to reach a wider audience than a hardcore game like an MMO while also attracting players who identify as gamers and are more willing to spend on gaming entertainment." - Janelle Benjamin, SuperData vice president of research
"The mid-core is a massive audience of people who play involved games within a schedule that fits the average person. At PeopleFun we segment the gaming audience by lifestyle patterns:
(1) Hardcore arranges their schedules around their gaming.
(2) Mid-core arranges their gaming around their daily schedule.
(3) Casual entertains self with games when time presents itself.
These definitions are useful because it helps define the temporal experience the gamer is looking for." - Tony Goodman, co-founder, Ensemble Studios, founder, PeopleFun
"We see mid-core as a lighter, more accessible take on a hardcore topic or genre. Our own game Royal Revolt!
is an example for this point of view: It's lighthearted, beautiful and easily learned and the main game loop fits into a bus station break -- yet it’s not casual, has some depth and is hard to beat." - Klaas Kersting, CEO, Flaregames GmbH
How Twitter defines a 'mid-core' game
So then... how would you define a "mid-core" game?