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The Changing Face of Gaming

Zonk posted about 8 years ago | from the old-grey-mare-just-ain't-what-she-used-to-be dept.

Games 33

The Aeropause blog just finished up a three-piece series looking at how gaming has changed in recent years. The first post looks at how the retail business has changed, and how gamers will be buying games in the future. The second post examines how gaming has changed for collectors, how downloadable games and emulations have changed that hobby. The final piece looks at how gaming itself has changed, with the rise of online gaming changing what gamers themselves look like. From this last article: "What about the more considered example: the stereotypical 'hardcore' gamer disconnected from society, normal sleeping hours, and financial rationality (ie. shelling out for a PS3 at launch). Is this disconnected gamer also soon to become a thing of the past? In a sense, some already have. With the focus on 'network-centric' gaming, gamers have become a social bunch. Hoards team up in online games to defeat bigger enemies and bring home bigger bounties. Even obstensibly offline games have item trading and community rankings. If you're not online... well... you're not really current and 'hardcore'."

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I don't know about you, but (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#16356039)

I consider it to be more hardcore to be playing offline then online. The vast majority of online games are casual gamer fare.

Re:I don't know about you, but (1)

kfg (145172) | about 8 years ago | (#16356319)

I consider it to be more hardcore to be playing offline then online.

What's your rank?

KFG

No ownership. (3, Insightful)

El_Muerte_TDS (592157) | about 8 years ago | (#16356121)

Yes, in the future you will no longer own a copy of a game. Instead you lease (or maybe even rent) a copy (for the same price as you previously owned a copy). Even with hard copies of games you will find yourself locked out in the future because it requires an online activation.

Re:No ownership. (1)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | about 8 years ago | (#16356205)

that will not happen intill just about anyone in the usa can get high speed internet.

No Piracy. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#16356343)

So remember to shake the hand of a pirate for that state of affairs. He's doing you a big favour.

Re:No Piracy. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#16356993)

Actually, dickhead, it's because of the secondhand market. Try reading, then jerking your knee.

Re:No ownership. (1)

cliffski (65094) | about 8 years ago | (#16356351)

well the alternative is that in the future, there will be no more games, because everyone just pirates them.
you choose.

Re:No ownership. (2, Insightful)

KDR_11k (778916) | about 8 years ago | (#16356935)

Yeah. Because totalitarianism and anarchy are the only options that exist, right?

Re:No ownership. (1)

cliffski (65094) | about 8 years ago | (#16357041)

games companies are already moving to console only, or cross-platform starting on consoles. the majority of big new PC IPs are online games. You expect this trend to stop any time soon?

Re:No ownership. (2, Informative)

KDR_11k (778916) | about 8 years ago | (#16357649)

Console games don't use online activation, though. And there's plenty of PC games being made that, while offering an online mode, aren't online-only (and don't require an internet connection).

No ownership-Chose sides. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#16358013)

The "US vs THEM" mentality allows only that.

The past is confusing me (1)

LKM (227954) | about 8 years ago | (#16361511)

well the alternative is that in the future, there will be no more games, because everyone just pirates them. you choose.

Yeah, because people have never pirated games until, uhm, about a week ago.

Or maybe people did always pirate games, and there were no more games?

I think I'm a bit confused about the past. Please enlighten me.

Re:No ownership. (1)

Dennis_123 (962330) | about 8 years ago | (#16357119)

Future sucks.

Haven't they been trying this for ages? (1)

Channard (693317) | about 8 years ago | (#16357151)

I seem to recall there being licence agreements in some games saying that the users are effectively renting the software. Granted, the control was then with the user, but they still, in theory, had the ability to declare any game a pirate copy, legally dodgy as that may be.

Re:Haven't they been trying this for ages? (1)

abandonment (739466) | about 8 years ago | (#16361547)

every software license agreement in history effectively states that the user is 'renting' the software. No true ownership in any sense of the word is ever transfered, whatsoever.

telling yourself otherwise is delusion.

leroy! (0, Offtopic)

gadzook33 (740455) | about 8 years ago | (#16356179)

I will drop my intimidating shout...

Hardcore and Casual (4, Insightful)

HappySqurriel (1010623) | about 8 years ago | (#16356219)

Am I the only person who really hates the labels Hardcore and Casual?

They seem to be used in every article or blog when they reference gaming yet there is no real standard to their use; there are so many variations that they have very little meaning. Think of their use in MMORPGs as an example, how many people have heard the Hardcore vs Casual debates when it comes to raiding content, PVP rewards, Player Looting, and even Role Playing? In every one of these it has a different meaning an references a different group of people with a completely different perspective.

As for the article, the "Face of Gaming" is always in flux and what people view gamers as largely depends on their personal experience. In 2001/2002 videogame playing (probably) hit a peak as far as mainstream acceptance because of the massive marketing push from Sony and Microsoft to sell their new consoles, and because of how many (seemingly normal) people were playing videogames. From what I have seen, the XBox 360 and PS3 are currently working against this by focusing all of their effort on attracting the most dedicated 10% of gamers with features that don't matter to most of the population; this drives the price up and makes the only visible gamers among these super dedicated gamers (the dedicated population of any activity are pretty lame, just look at "super sports fans").

Online gaming is obviously not a mainstream gaming activity at the current time. When you consider that 100 Million PS2s were, 20 Million XBoxes and 20 Million Gamecubes were sold in the last generation (with tens of millions of gaming PCs available) which means there are probably (at least) 100 Million distinct gamers in the western world and the most popular online game in history has 5 Million subscribers.

Re:Hardcore and Casual (2, Interesting)

kfg (145172) | about 8 years ago | (#16356339)

Am I the only person who really hates the labels Hardcore and Casual?

No. And if anything I would call myself a "serious" gamer.

KFG

Jaded gamer, anyone? (1)

Channard (693317) | about 8 years ago | (#16357181)

That's what I'd consider myself anyway. I've been playing games for a while, and both this and the fact I've recently started using a Gamefly style rental service, seems to have left me with a low tolerance for crappy games. If I come up against a really stupid thing in a game then I usually end up shoving it back it the rental envelope. Granted, I occasionally take it back out and try again, but mostly it ends up going straight back to the rental place.

Re:Hardcore and Casual (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#16358297)

The problem with that is, that there is a Serious Games category. So you calling yourself a "serious" gamer might mean you play Serious Games. e.g. http://www.seriousgamessummit.com/ [seriousgamessummit.com]

Re:Hardcore and Casual (1)

kfg (145172) | about 8 years ago | (#16358339)

So you calling yourself a "serious" gamer might mean you play Serious Games.

Seriously.

KFG

Re:Hardcore and Casual (1)

erkan_o (958077) | about 8 years ago | (#16356493)

I have to agree, dividing the collecting community into a hardcore and casual part seems silly to me. It is up to the person to decide if he is a collector or not. IMHO these "hardcore" articles about gaming seems so silly, it is like another top 10 list of the best game ewar on a blog. It is just a game, you play it, get bored and then buy a new.

Re:Hardcore and Casual (1)

nEoN nOoDlE (27594) | about 8 years ago | (#16357749)

I'm with you. I hate the term hardcore vs casual gamers. I read an interview with Alexey Pajitnov, the creator of Tetris and they called him a casual game maker. I think that's ridiculous. When Tetris came out it was a hardcore game - that's what games were back then. Most older gamers are still playing games because of "casual games" like tetris. If I enjoy the games I played when I was growing up, and I like to find new games that are graphically simple but innovative in terms of gameplay, why does that make me a casual gamer as opposed to some 14 year old who just wants the latest release of Halo?

A Complimentary degree in BS? (1)

RingDev (879105) | about 8 years ago | (#16363321)

"From what I have seen, the XBox 360 and PS3 are currently working against this by focusing all of their effort on attracting the most dedicated 10% of gamers with features that don't matter to most of the population;"

Microsoft and Sony have market researchers, predictive analysis, and lots of money that goes into determining what features will turn a net profit.

What do you have?

-Rick

Re:A Complimentary degree in BS? (1)

HappySqurriel (1010623) | about 8 years ago | (#16363943)

Microsoft and Sony have market researchers, predictive analysis, and lots of money that goes into determining what features will turn a net profit.

What do you have?


What I have beyond common sense is irrelevant on the internet.

The main question is who are the market researchers performing the research on and who are they trying to attract?

If you look at what Microsoft produced you'll see a more expensive console than has been released before which has a focus on pay-for internet pay and micro-transactions; it also has media-center functionality which is huge to the small portion of people who modded their Xbox to get that functionality. Now, how many 'casual' or 'typical' gamers are looking to pay-to-play games online or buy extra content? (Hint: not that many)

Sony, on the other hand, has created the most expensive console in modern videogaming by attempting to produce graphics at 1080p and include Blu-Ray playback; at the current time 15% of households have HDTVs, few of which support the HDMI or 1080p needed to take advantage of the PS3, and HDTV adoption is slowing down with the American economy. Now, how many 'casual' or 'typical' gamers are looking for the greatest High-Definition gaming platform? (Hint: not that many)

What people forget when they talk about gamers on the internet is that the 'typical' gamer buys his gaming system after it is under $200, will probably be playing it on a Standard Definition Television (possibly a television in his Den because his wife/mother doesn't want a videogame system in the living room), has internet access but doesn't play many games online, and has very little desire to have a HD-DVD/Blu-Ray player (or media center extender) because of lack of content.

Re:Hardcore and Casual (1)

brkello (642429) | about 8 years ago | (#16364719)

I am sure you are not the only person who hates the labels, but I really doubt there are many of you. I don't see why you have trouble with them. Their context really doesn't change from one game to the next. Hardcore players are people who spend a lot of their time playing games. Casuals enjoy playing games, but either can't or don't want to spend an excessive amount of time playing them. You could argue what that cut off point is...but it is usually fairly easy to classify a gamer in to one of the above. There are always exceptions that fall in to a gray area though.

I don't buy your argument that Sony and Microsoft are going after "10% of gamers". A console is niether hardcore or casual. It all depends on the games that are released for it. Both consoles will play games that cater to both types of gamers. And really, who are you to be so judgemental of others and how they spend their time? I am sure we could analyze your life and find plenty of things we would consider "lame". I don't think gaming hit its peak in the past. I think each year that has gone by has shown a new peak and more people playing games. And yes, these people are normal...not seemingly normal. You seriously have some sterotype issues about gaming. It is no different than listening to music or watching movies...just a form of entertainment that offers more interaction.

Online gaming is very big right now. You can put your fingers in your ears and say "lalalala" but it doesn't change that it has become important. Nintendo has stated in the past that they didn't think console gaming was important to gamers. Now the Wii will have online capabilities. Whether it is downloading older gamers, patching game bugs, downloading new content, or playing against others...the Internet is going to play an integral role in the future of gaming.

My turn for a title misread (1)

Quiet_Desperation (858215) | about 8 years ago | (#16356823)

I thought it said the CHALLENGING face of gaming, implying gamers are all ugly.

I am not an ugly gamer! I am a human being!

Sure just like hardcore tv watchers and readers (2, Insightful)

grapeape (137008) | about 8 years ago | (#16356867)

Gaming is just another form of entertainment, like every other activity it has started relatively small and has gained acceptance and mass appeal over time. The PC market and lately Nintendo seem to get that. They are doing a good job of appealing to people who like games but dont obsess over them while still offering the depth that attracts the "hardcore" gamer. As time progresses I think we will see more "casual" games as more people accept video games as a "pastime". I agree with Sony's president that the generation after this may not even have store bought media, all 3 are positioning themselves for this already with Xbox live, Virtual Arcades and Consoles. Downloads of small time wasting games will IMHO become very popular with the casual crowd, look what popcap did on the PC, everyone I know over the age of 3 has at least one of their games because they are cheap, easy to play and above all fun.

Thats the main reason I really believe that Nintendo is in a position to win this generation, even if the hardware is more last generation. There are far more casual gamers and game curious people out there than hardcore gamers and they are going directly after that market. My father even asked if I had seen anything about a game that lets you play tennis and golf with a remote control, he said he read about it in a magazine, he only subscribes to stull like Time and Newsweek so evidently the message is getting out. Casual gamers wont shell out the big bucks if they dont know whether or not they will ever play it enough to get their money out of it, which is where Nintendo has a huge advantage. Yes, I know that with all the accessories the Wii leans alot closer to 360 pricing but a casual gamer will buy the cheap one, try it out then feel completely justified in buying accessories like extra controllers because they will by then know that it was worth the investment.

Sony and Microsoft wont fail either imho, the market for "hardcore" gamers is clearly large enough to support a console, but I think I new breed of gamer is being created that is even larger.

This "buying" of games; what is it? (1)

xxxJonBoyxxx (565205) | about 8 years ago | (#16356875)

gamers will be buying games in the future
I'm sorry, you lost me at the part about gamers "buying" games. Aren't they all free? (OK, so I'm an emulator fan...)

Re:This "buying" of games; what is it? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#16357313)

Emulated, non-emulated, what's the difference?

Only a handful of emulated games are in the public domain.

'Everyone's Coming To The Online Party!' (2, Funny)

Channard (693317) | about 8 years ago | (#16357037)

.. says the article. And thanks to the 360's Live Camera, just like a party, they can now get drunk and flash their various bodyparts at you. Truly, this is a bold new age of gaming.

hmm.. (1)

Leviance (1001065) | about 8 years ago | (#16357835)

I'm curious where those of us who have been hardcore online gamers since '96 fit into this whole deal.. especially when we're playing the same games we played back then? :D

Clarifying the categories... (1)

tygerstripes (832644) | about 8 years ago | (#16362589)

Is there such a thing as a Hardcore TV watcher?

The gaming community is a continuum of players who play for different things, for different reasons, at different times. To suggest that there is a binary "hardcore/casual" divide is only a generalisation, sure, but it's also an unhelpful one. It is a divisive concept that only serves to hinder effective debate and understanding.

Clearly a better measure of how "hardcore" a gamer is - at least from an objective pov, to which most gamers do not subscribe - is how much of their free time they spend gaming. Telly addicts tend to watch TV during most of their spare time, which would suggest they're "hardcore". If they have the opportunity to do anything of an evening, they'll watch TV. Then you get those who enjoy spending time watching telly, but find that they don't enjoy doing it all the time. Then there are those who just keep an eye out for or hear about the odd thing that they'd really like to see, so they just watch it then, or similarly those who occasionally flick it on for half an hour and then go "meh", and switch it off. Finally there are those who never watch it or don't own a telly, and don't see what the fuss is about. Interestingly, the most addicted are those who get into soaps and drama series with an ongoing plot/plots, who would feel that they were really missing out if they missed an episode - a clever hook employed frequently.

And so with gamers. There are some who don't own a computer/console, or who have one but use it for only the most utilitarean of functions. There are those who enjoy the occasional bout on a comfort-game or something new that they're interested in. There are those who really enjoy gaming when they do it, but have other things they'd rather do sometimes. At the far end of the spectrum are those who either order pizza every night or die of exhaustion & starvation in internet cafes. An interesting hook for such addicts is the MMORPG, where there is a continuous development of the experience (plot) and you don't want to get left behind. Spotting the parallels?

Most importantly, none of these are "categories" of viewers or gamers. They are just distinct points along a continuous line of users. People tend to categorise TV viewers according to how much they watch, what sort of things they watch or what interests them - whichever categorisation is most appropriate at the time. One day gamers will be categorised in a similar fashion, and only at that point will these articles and blogs make any sense outside of anecdotal observation. They certainly won't be reliable studies until then.

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