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Hardcore to Be Pushed Aside This Console Generation?

Zonk posted more than 6 years ago | from the make-way-for-the-casuals-make-way dept.

Games 142

Gamasutra asks questions directly of analysts on a semi-regular basis, in a feature they call 'Analyze This'. This week they quiz analysts about the rising influence of casual players, and what this means for the dedicated hardcore gamer. The ubiquitous Michael Pachter: "I think some portion of family growth will come from aging of original Xbox owners, who will have families of their own and will likely play games with their children. I also think that newer features on the Elite, like the 80GB hard drive, will encourage more family activities, like downloading TV shows and movies. In essence, I don't see [Microsoft] trying to cannibalize the Wii audience, so much as to trying to offer an alternative with the Xbox 360 as the home media center. I don't think that there is any real threat to the long-term survival of the Xbox 360."

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142 comments

*sigh* (0)

Mockylock (1087585) | more than 6 years ago | (#19812791)

Casual or not, violence and hard-core games sell. The more "casual" and bland you make a game to lean toward the family oriented genre, the more other companies will cash in with something out of the ordinary.

Games are babysitters nowadays. Families will buy Wii's and family games for their children, but the average household will buy a console for their kid and any game they want, just to keep them occupied while they're fornicating in the back room with the neighbor.

Re:*sigh* (4, Funny)

hal2814 (725639) | more than 6 years ago | (#19812827)

"just to keep them occupied while they're fornicating in the back room with the neighbor."

The kid or the parent? I sure wish I could've fornicated with the neighbor (down the street, not next door mind you) while playing my video game system when I was a kid. That would be sweet!

Re:*sigh* (2, Funny)

morari (1080535) | more than 6 years ago | (#19813469)

I hear that many kids have to give up video games entirely before they can fornicate...

Re:*sigh* (1)

FlyByPC (841016) | more than 6 years ago | (#19814961)

I hear that many kids have to give up video games entirely before they can fornicate...
Just temporarily.

Re:*sigh* (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19813529)

Heh... She wouldn't have had anything to do with your pimply arse- especially since you were one of those videogame geeks...

Re:*sigh* (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19813849)

We'll do it doggy-style so we can both play Halo.

Heh (4, Insightful)

Moraelin (679338) | more than 6 years ago | (#19814821)

Casual or not, violence and hard-core games sell.


You mean like The Sims outsold any FPS ever, even without counting the expansion packs? Don't mistake your own preferences for the One True Blockbuster. There were a _lot_ of games that sold very well in spite (or maybe because) of having little or no violence.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not against violence as such. But if you're going to make claims about what sells, it would be, you know, nice, to actually look at some sales numbers and not just extrapolate based on what _you_ have bought. Not everyone is a clone of yourself.

A mistake many people make is assuming, basically, "there are so many violent FPSs, because everyone wants to play a violent FPS." Actually, wrong. The rise of the FPS was based on the fact that what counts isn't the raw sales, but sales minus expenses, a.k.a. profit. At the time when FPS was rising and, say, Adventure games skirted with extinction, actually adventures were a growing market and routinely outsold FPS. But the costs of making a modern adventure were rising faster, whereas an FPS was damn cheap to make. A FPS could make a bigger profit even if it sold half the number of copies. _That's_ why everyone rushed to make an FPS.

Violent games as a more global category, are a vaguely similar case.

Coming up with an idea like Sim City or The Sims or Civilization or Tetris, is something that requires someone to come up with a brand new idea. And it turns out that there's a severe shortage of people with ideas that are (A) genuinely new, and (B) not crap. And there's a lot of risk involved, since basically you're not sure of point B until you actually launch the game. You're betting a huge bunch of money on something that you don't know how many people will like. Being a new idea, the marketting department can at best take a guess.

By comparison, it's a no-brainer to make a violent game. Wop-de-freakin'-do, so this time it's with more damage textures and more death animations. That's sooo creative. Not. And you already have a good idea of the market too. You just need to look at how many people bought last year's game, and you can have a pretty informed guess as to how many will buy the remake in higher (and gorrier) res.

So the fact that everyone and their grandma does a violent game, isn't because it's the only thing that sells. Quite on the contrary, the other category outsells it quite often. They do violent games, because it's the simple, cheap, no-risks way out.

Re:Heh (0)

Mockylock (1087585) | more than 6 years ago | (#19815229)

I never said that Violence is the only thing that sells. What I'm trying to point out is that if EVERY game is casual and non-violent... someone would make a violent/hard-core game to be out of the norm. That game would sell, only because it's different and more appealing. This is why they sell so well.

GTA? Halo? Doom? BF2? Any Fantasy game?

Whether or not they're a cheap FPS or not, they sell quite a bit on console games. I don't know what your personal vendetta is against me, or why you flamed so much, but it's obvious that these games sell millions and millions of copies every year.

When was the last time a SIMS game topped the charts on a console? Even on a PC for that matter?

They sold as a simulation on PC, but it was still brought about in a time that there were only a handful of games to begin with.

I see your point about having new ideas and such.. even "viva pinata" was a cool idea for the makers, and it sold well. We honestly need more developers with new ideas to get out of the slump. I would also like to see the numbers as well... because I really think that the majority of High School and college students (prime game age) prefer violent games now.

For example, since march of 2006, XBox games that sold more than 1 million copies:
Halo 2(8m), Halo (5m), Splinter Cell (2.4m), Fable (2mil), Star Wars: KOR (1.3 Mil), PGR (1.2Mil).

360 Games over 1mil:
Gears of War (3.7), Oblivion (3mil), Call of Duty (1.4), Lost planet (1.37), Dead rising (1.2), Madden NFL (1.1), Perfect Dark Zero (1), Saits Row (1), Dead or alive (1), Ghost Recon AW(1).

See a trend?

Now, Nintendo, PS2, PS, PC and other previous consoles had very few violent games, but still sold millions and millions. The Wii is still selling non-violent like crazy as well. But, when it comes to the other half of users, when the word gets out that some game has more blood and guts than any other game created... they buy them up in wholesale fashion. Why? Because it's the new "cool".

I'm not saying that it's right, or that you're wrong, or that the trend should continue... I'm saying that if people cut down on producing violent games, some asshole is going to throw one out there to quench the thirst of those that used to play them a lot.

I play racing games more than anything, but Most of the people I know who are heavy gamers, prefer the shooters and such.

Know what I mean?

It's not a flame toward you, I understand your point of view. I just don't want you thinking that I'm saying that violent games are the best thing out there, and they're the ONLY thing that sells. Anyone can throw together a BS FPS, you're right. One with more blood and guts will sell more.

Re:Heh (1)

Moraelin (679338) | more than 6 years ago | (#19815749)

... The Sims, IIRC including expanison packs, 22 million units sold in the fiscal year 2007 alone (which is actually a bit misleading, since it's the one that ended in 2006), and every single one of them around the price of a full new game. The thing to look at there isn't just the number of copies sold, but the fact that they were all sold at full price, a couple of year after the launch. By the time other games were, basically, going "yay, we've sold the millionth copy at the bargain bin for $10 and the retailer took $8 of that", The Sims and its expansion packs were still going at full price.

The Sims 2 Pets: 5.6 million copies sold in the same one year. Correct me if I'm wrong, but according to some quick mental maths that's more than Call Of Duty, Lost Planet and Dead Rising _combined_, going by your numbers.

Also not a flame, but that's a non-violent franchise that outsold any violent franchise I can think of.

World Of Warcraft, ok, technically it has violence, but it's ultra-mild by the standards of Manhunt and the like. As violent games go, this one is among the last that would come to mind as "violent". It has IIRC somewhere around 10 million active subscribers. There you go, the game with less blood and guts sold more and made (hideously much) more money.

I'll aggree that indeed someone _will_ jump in to make yet another "all we have new is more blood and guts" game, because, as I was saying, it's easy to make one of those. I'm just disaggreeing with the assessment that it's as simple as, "One with more blood and guts will sell more."

Casual != bland (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19815111)

Back when the games industry was based on creativity and not goreporn, the shelves were full of interesting, well-crafted games which succeeded based on the merits of their gameplay and the quality of their content instead of the degree to which they satisfied the bestial bloodlust of the left side of the bell curve.

There's also no rule which prohibits violence from existing in a family-oriented game; nobody's complaining about chess. An avoidance of games whose entire basis is to immerse the player in an orgy of murder does not equal a prohibition on violence or violent content.

Re:Casual != bland (1)

CrashPoint (564165) | more than 6 years ago | (#19815965)

Back when the games industry was based on creativity and not goreporn, the shelves were full of interesting, well-crafted games which succeeded based on the merits of their gameplay and the quality of their content instead of the degree to which they satisfied the bestial bloodlust of the left side of the bell curve.

Take of those rose-colored glasses when you're looking at the past, and you'll realize that it was exactly the same back then as it is now: islands of quality product in a vast sea of crap. Game publishers were every bit as profit-motivated and every bit as apathetic towards quality of gameplay in the early 80's (or the mid-90's, or whatever era you had picked out as the mythical Golden Age Of Gaming[TM]) as they are today.

Lots of good stuff and lots more bad stuff no matter what time period you look at. This applies equally to film, books, music, and in fact every single form of human expression ever developed, starting when Ug and Og realized it was fun to bang rocks together in a rythm.

Re:Casual != bland (1)

grumbel (592662) | more than 6 years ago | (#19816391)

### Take of those rose-colored glasses when you're looking at the past, and you'll realize that it was exactly the same back then as it is now:

I don't think so. Back then the market and the development studios where much smaller. You had EA back then, but they where nothing like the big ugly beast they have become today. You simply didn't have those huge all-dominating companies, instead a whole bunch of smaller ones. Thanks to the smaller budget experimentation was much more doable then today. That of course doesn't mean that everything back then was great, but it definitvly was quite a bit different then today.

I would say back then a lot of video games where inspired by real-life, books or movies, since there really wasn't much video game history to look at, today on the other side video games are for most part inspired by video games and everything ends up looking quite a lot a like for that very reason.

The golden age for me would be 1990-1995, 2002-2007 just doesn't hold up to all the interesting stuff that happened back then.

What?! (3, Insightful)

igotmybfg (525391) | more than 6 years ago | (#19812811)

I also think that newer features on the Elite, like the 80GB hard drive, will encourage more family activities, like downloading TV shows and movies.

Downloading TV shows and movies are family activities? That doesn't sound like a very rich family life to me. Family activities are things like sailing trips, playing scrabble, and laughing at Dad's grilling abilities. Or even waving wands around in front of a TV in a game of Wii boxing...

Re:What?! (3, Funny)

GrayCalx (597428) | more than 6 years ago | (#19813131)

I think watching a movie can be a family activity just as reading a book together can be. Obviously you don't want that to be your only family activity, and I think thats the point you were trying to make, that families should be 'active' together... but then you threw out that playing the Wii was a family activity and you lost everyone.

ANYTHING you do as a family is a family activity, though you could definitely argue that some are healthier than others. Like, a murder spree in the south is probably not going to go over as a Family Activity with many people. But I challenge those people to hack through a couple of femurs with an ax... you can work up quite a sweat let me tell you.

Re:What?! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19813627)

There's your mistake. Axes are for the softer connective tissues. You wanna go through bone, you gotta get a bone saw. Preferably a powered one. Er.. Nothing to see here, please move along!

Re:What?! (1)

plague3106 (71849) | more than 6 years ago | (#19813711)

Downloading maybe not, but watching a show or movie certainly is. Just because YOU don't think a family can share those activities doesn't mean its not possible.

Level 92 Xbox (2, Funny)

voice_of_all_reason (926702) | more than 6 years ago | (#19812813)

I don't think that there is any real threat to the long-term survival of the Xbox 360.

This is hardcore. As good as you play your games, eventually the console will be emblazoned with the infamous words "Your deeds will be remembered" and it will stop booting.

You'll be less special, that's all (4, Insightful)

cowscows (103644) | more than 6 years ago | (#19812839)

Gaming will cease to be a teenage phenomena, it won't be something that kids do that their parents don't understand, being a "gamer" won't put you in some sort of "elite" hobby, you'll just be a normal person.

Other than that, things won't change, except you'll have more choices. While the casual gamer market is growing and has the potential to be very large, the hardcore gamer market still has plenty of money to spend, the game industry knows that, and they're already set up for and experienced with serving that market. They're not going to completely abandon it to make minigames, the industry is just going to grow to cover the new types of games.

The only thing that will really change for hardcore gamers is that they'll increase the amount of bitching they do about all those ordinary people trying to pretend that they're real gamers. "They don't know what it's like, they've never played for 14 hours straight, they don't have eight obsolete consoles stacked in their basement, why don't you go play on your cellphone"

The market isn't shifting to casual games, it's growing to include them. Things might look a little strange right now because publishers are testing the waters a bit, but it'll balance out soon enough. Valve isn't going to abandon Half-life to make bejeweled clones, there will be plenty of MMO's and RPG's in the future. There's not much to worry about.

Re:You'll be less special, that's all (1)

nomadic (141991) | more than 6 years ago | (#19812905)

The only thing that will really change for hardcore gamers is that they'll increase the amount of bitching they do about all those ordinary people trying to pretend that they're real gamers.

More annoying than them are the ex-hardcore-gamers, who everytime there's a game console story on slashdot flood it with their smug replies that they only play multiplayer nintendo party games now, and that's all developers should make.

Re:You'll be less special, that's all (1, Troll)

YourMissionForToday (556292) | more than 6 years ago | (#19815227)

Personally, I only play horsecock simulators (and I prefer the Wii for a more immersive horsecock experience).

Something tells me you enjoy that sort of thing as well, eh?

Re:You'll be less special, that's all (2, Insightful)

Bodrius (191265) | more than 6 years ago | (#19813433)

The market isn't shifting to casual games, it's growing to include them. Things might look a little strange right now because publishers are testing the waters a bit, but it'll balance out soon enough. Valve isn't going to abandon Half-life to make bejeweled clones, there will be plenty of MMO's and RPG's in the future. There's not much to worry about.


I don't know if it is something to worry about, but perhaps Valve would see it logical, business-wise, to abandon Half-life to make bejeweled clones, along with a lot of 'hardcore gamer' shops.

Why wouldn't they? Current 'hardcore games' seems a risky proposition - high investment (time + money), extremely competitive, short lifespan on the market per release...

If casual games promises a much bigger market, where you can sell cheaper (to make) games at a lower risk, with higher profit margins... it would make perfect business sense to focus on making those games.
Just like right now it makes a lot of sense to focus on making MMOs than on making the next Doom.

Re:You'll be less special, that's all (1)

cowscows (103644) | more than 6 years ago | (#19814279)

Well, for many companies, you're right. But for companies with high-value IP like Valve and Half-life, there's much less risk involved even in a 'hardcore game'. As long as they don't ship a complete pile of crap, there's very little doubt that HL3 will move plenty of copies. Factor in the reality that most of the resources that valve has built up over the years are geared towards making that sort of game, and they're really unlikely to abandon all of that in favor a quick, smaller projects. Especially because the barriers to entry for casual game development are low enough that if they want to take a stab at that market, they shouldn't need to sell their entire current operations in order try something new.

Some people/companies are really good at serving the hardcore market. They've been doing it for years. That market isn't going away, there's tons of money being made there, and tons more will be made there in the future. Giving up a strong position in that market to chase after a newly developing market is not good business sense. Expanding your company to embrace the new market on top of your current market might be good business sense.

Re:You'll be less special, that's all (1)

CelticWhisper (601755) | more than 6 years ago | (#19813457)

I can see some very good things coming of that, though, not least of which is J-game translations being held to a higher standard of quality. Show of hands, how many of you have had a friend/family member/other "non-gamer" comment on low-quality voice-overs, choppy dialogue, or other inadequately-translated elements of a J-RPG or some other J-game? It's happened to me too many times to count; a game will garner raised eyebrows and confused/bemused/mocking/disparaging comments because as a result of its subpar translation, it makes no goddamn sense to anyone who hasn't been gaming for years and isn't used to the quirks and nuances of Japanese culture. Phantasy Star Universe and Wild Arms 2 are examples of glaringly bad dialogue and/or translation.

Maybe a push toward including more casual gamers will result in a fire being lit under the asses of translators to do a better job in rewriting dialogue or story exposition that isn't initially written in a Western-friendly fashion.

Who's hardcore? (5, Interesting)

seebs (15766) | more than 6 years ago | (#19812861)

I maintained a personal branch of Wine so I could have more function keys in World of Warcraft -- Linux supports more function keys, so I remapped them into modified keys WoW could handle. I've learned programming languages to work on games. I semi-regularly put in 16-hour days of gaming when I'm looking to destress. I have not one, not two, but THREE game-playing devices with me everywhere I go.

I could give a shit about another "40-hour" FPS, but surgery or hypnotism would be involved.

The Wii is the best thing to happen to my console gaming experience in years. The PS3 is utterly irrelevant to me as a gamer. Yeah, yeah. Cue the people claiming I just can't afford one; I've had one since last December. I run Linux on it. The games are just more derivative crap. The total interesting play time of every PS3 game I've seen put together can't come within a full working week of what I've gotten out of Wii Sports Tennis alone. Paper Mario is the first platformer since the Genesis Sonic era to do something I haven't already gotten bored with.

You think I should consider kids who can't get off on a game unless it's gory and their parents don't want them playing it to be "hardcore" gamers? I don't. When they're into gaming enough to write games, when they've been playing games more than a few years, then they can talk. Until then, they're just wannabes.

Re:Who's hardcore? (1)

akheron01 (637033) | more than 6 years ago | (#19813003)

Here here! As another hardcore gamer that despises the derivative FPS crap I second that!

Re:Who's hardcore? (1)

Altus (1034) | more than 6 years ago | (#19814255)


No doubt! I might have qualified as a hardcore gamer at one point in my life. I have been playing FPS games since Wolf3D and one of the big things that has driven me away from gaming is that pretty much everything out there is just a derivative of Wolf3D. Sure there has been some good stuff, I loved the story lines in the Marathon series and the AI in Half-life, but I swear, whenever I see quake or even halo there is a part of me that expects a Nazi to come around the corner shouting "Achtung."

Why play the same game over and over again.

Sure there are other types of games and I still play those, but the Wii has provided me with many games that are new and different and a lot of fun to play. I only wish there were more games out for it.

Family?! (1)

Enoxice (993945) | more than 6 years ago | (#19812899)

"...aging of original Xbox owners..."

Uh-oh, I owned an original xbox! And I've aged since I bought it! Does that mean I'm, supposed to have a family?! I'd better get to work! Who knew being 20 would be so much work?!

Re:Family?! (1)

Surt (22457) | more than 6 years ago | (#19813463)

At age 20, you've likely used up a third of your child having years. Better get cracking.

Re:Family?! (1)

Fozzyuw (950608) | more than 6 years ago | (#19813619)

"...aging of original Xbox owners..."
Uh-oh, I owned an original xbox! And I've aged since I bought it! Does that mean I'm, supposed to have a family?! I'd better get to work! Who knew being 20 would be so much work?!

I cannot RTFA at work, but I did find that statement odd. I typically label gamer generations as such. Atari (70's), NES (80's), Playstation 1/2 (90's-00's).

Based on that, I would 1) never use Xbox as a generation defining system, not that it wasn't important (like the Genesis and SNES) but that it just wasn't the biggest thing. And 2) The Xbox is far too 'young' of a system to be calling it's generation as moving into the family stage (released in 2001, no kid who grew up with an Xbox is getting married 6 years later).

Cheers,
Fozzy

Atari say's please use caution... (5, Insightful)

grapeape (137008) | more than 6 years ago | (#19812959)

Gamers carried the console manufacturers before the "casual" gaming boom and will be the ones who carry it afterwards. There are have been numerous casual gaming era's before and though they make for interesting blips in the manufacturers and developers bottom line, they don't last. Anyone remember the early 80's? The biggest contributor to the great video game crash of 83 was the over abundance of crap in the marketplace. Abandoning the "hardcore" gamer market which has higher expectations, demands more complexity and can not be fooled by licensing deals and pretty graphics sounds like a great idea in the short term but in the long term will only lead to disaster for the industry again. There is a place for casual gaming, and a great opportunity to introduce the non- initiated to gaming, but it's just that an introduction.

Re:Atari say's please use caution... (1)

akheron01 (637033) | more than 6 years ago | (#19813193)

And the biggest problem with gaming now is... all of the crap on the marketplace! The crap is now all of the FPS/sports game crap that "hardcore gamers" are into. I think the real solution is to stop convincing the companies that consumers will buy crap, but you "hardcore gamers" keep doing it!

Re:Atari say's please use caution... (1)

grapeape (137008) | more than 6 years ago | (#19813343)

Wow i've never heard of Sports games being labled as "hardcore" most gamers concider sports games to be the lamest genre in videogames sure madden sells, but look at the audience it sells to and most of those seem to console owners that have nothing but the previous years madden and a handful of other sports games. Beyond Halo, has their ever been a top selling FPS on a console? I know there are alot of them but most of the ones I have seen end up in the bargain bin after a couple months.

Re:Atari say's please use caution... (1)

buffer-overflowed (588867) | more than 6 years ago | (#19813521)

Goldeneye. It's still the best selling console FPS of all time(8 million units), and I think it might even be the best selling FPS of all time(half-life might edge it out... not sure, PC sales are tough to track down reliably).

Re:Atari say's please use caution... (1)

grapeape (137008) | more than 6 years ago | (#19814787)

Oh wow...cant believe I fogot that one. Anyway 3 decently selling FPS console games in 3 console generations doesnt exactly count for much of a glut IMHO.

Re:Atari say's please use caution... (1)

buffer-overflowed (588867) | more than 6 years ago | (#19814929)

Don't forget Medal of Honor, Call of Duty, Perfect Dark, Timesplitters... etc. etc. etc. And PC ports, which is all the ID stuff. More recently Resistance: Fall of Man, Rainbow Sixes...

I'm still missing a ton of stuff I'm sure.

Re:Atari say's please use caution... (1)

(A)*(B)!0_- (888552) | more than 6 years ago | (#19814975)

"Wow i've never heard of Sports games being labled as "hardcore" most gamers concider sports games to be the lamest genre in videogames sure madden sells, but look at the audience it sells to and most of those seem to console owners that have nothing but the previous years madden and a handful of other sports games."
Wow - look at that elitism on display! Madden is consistently a best seller, topping year end sales charts. Because of this fact, your statement that "most gamers" consider sports games to be a lesser genre is obviously incorrect. A large percentage of gamers (enough to move significant units) seem to enjoy sports games. What is missing from your life that you need to look down on people who enjoy a different kind of game than you?

I have never enjoyed any of the Final Fantasy games. Instead of calling anyone who likes those games a loser or insulting them for it or saying they should be segmented off from 'real gamers', I note that different people like different things and go about my business. Seriously, why can't you do the same?

Re:Atari say's please use caution... (1)

grapeape (137008) | more than 6 years ago | (#19816355)

Don't be a jackass, you managed to twist what I said and still proved my point. Madden and the like tend to appeal to the wider audience which is mostly the casual ones...the ones that by Licensed movie games, GTA whatever and the bigger blockbuster titles. The gamers I am referring to are the ones that figure one copy of Madden is enough since not much changes with it from year to year. Final Fantasy is a good example, the last one I picked up was Final Fantasy 9, but its popular but most argue that it lives off reputation now more than anything new or groundbreaking. I just spoke from example, most people I know that are really into sports games enough to buy Madden year after year are pretty much only into sports games, its almost like a niche of its own. I did not call anyone a looser or insult them, I just expressed that most that are not considered "casual" gamers tend to look for more diversity in their gaming experience. If you felt singled out as one of the sports games fans with only sports games in your game collection I humbly apologize.

But as was the case with many of failed but highly rated games out there (like Iko, Ikaruga, Psychonauts, Rez, etc) the "hardcore" gamers were the only ones that bought them. Sequels do sell if done well, but while you can blame the existence of things like Halo2 and Resident Evil whatever on the "hardcore" segment you can just as easily blame the casual segment for the lack of Ico, Beyond Good and Evil or World at War sequels.

Re:Atari say's please use caution... (0, Flamebait)

(A)*(B)!0_- (888552) | more than 6 years ago | (#19816959)

"Don't be a jackass"
Fuck you moron.

"Madden and the like tend to appeal to the wider audience which is mostly the casual ones...the ones that by Licensed movie games, GTA whatever and the bigger blockbuster titles."
Got any statistics to back that up, scumbag?

"but look at the audience it sells to and most of those seem to console owners that have nothing but the previous years madden and a handful of other sports games."
You have no proof of this whatsoever. You've cited no statistics or studies that have shown this relationship. You also haven't even come close to defining what a "hardcore" gamer is.

"I just spoke from example, most people I know that are really into sports games enough to buy Madden year after year are pretty much only into sports games, its almost like a niche of its own."
Oh! You've got anecdotal evidence! Well, that must prove something, right? Go fuck yourself. Take a statistics course. You've stated nothing.

Re:Atari say's please use caution... (5, Interesting)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 6 years ago | (#19813207)

Anyone remember the early 80's? The biggest contributor to the great video game crash of 83 was the over abundance of crap in the marketplace.

While you are correct, I think it's important to understand that the crash of '83 can't happen again. The factors that made it happen simply don't exist anymore. Those factors are:
  1. Atari did not want to allow third party developers for their console. Third party developers sprang up anyway, and started chucking out whatever they could possibly sell. Since Atari had no licensing arrangements with these companies, there were no quality control checks in place. Today's console makers require licensing arrangements to prevent exactly this sort of problem. (And to make more money!)
  2. Just before the crash, there was a general feeling that the gaming market was going to experience unlimited growth. This was not the case, and there ended up being more game producers than the market could reasonably handle. Gaming did experience quite a bit of growth, however, and the current market size sits at not-quite 200 million consoles. That's an incredibly large market.
  3. The crash would have been nothing more than a slump if not for a man known as Jack Tramiel. He was determined to make his Commodore computers take over the gaming market. Thanks to a price war with Texas Instruments, he was able to smash the price barrier between consoles and computers at just the right time to put everyone else (both consoles and computers) out of business. (Or at least in a world of hurt.) Stores threw out all their console garbage and started carrying computers. Computers and consoles coexist at a similar price point today, but computer gaming has been largely deemphasized over the years.

Re:Atari say's please use caution... (1)

Aladrin (926209) | more than 6 years ago | (#19813889)

"can't" is a such a strong word. I'll agree to 'is highly unlikely', though.

1) You're saying that console makers won't impose extreme demands on third parties? No AO-rated games (Manhunt 2) etc? Region-lock? Huge buy-in (devkit) fees? Have you seen how many homebrew games exist now on modded consoles/handhelds?
2) I was just thinking that there were SO many games coming out I couldn't possibly play all the ones I've pre-ordered for any decent length of time, let alone all the ones I want to. I'd say we've got too many developers again.
3) Yeah, Nintendo hasn't way underpriced anyone lately. There's no way there'd be a price war again... Wait, who was lowering their prices again? Oh yeah, everyone else in the market! (MS hasn't confirmed, but it's a pretty strong rumor, I hear. They've been out for near 2 years without a pricecut, and Sony is cutting into their sales this week.)

No, I think you're a little over-optimistic about the market. The setup for all of your scenarios is in motion. It only remains to be seen if the console makers follow the same path again, or see the problem ahead of time.

Re:Atari say's please use caution... (1)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 6 years ago | (#19814149)

Your comments are a bit strange, but I'll take them on one by one:

You're saying that console makers won't impose extreme demands on third parties?

Eh? I believe I said the exact opposite. The market crashed because Atari didn't impose licensing restrictions. Today's console makers impose licensing restrictions to prevent that issue.

Have you seen how many homebrew games exist now on modded consoles/handhelds?

Have you seen many of them for sale in Walmart? The market crashed because of a glut of titles on the market. Not because people were modding their consoles so they could exchange homemade games with each other.

The only modern console I've ever seen commercial homebrew software for is the Dreamcast. And homebrewers only get away with it because Sega doesn't care anymore. The Dreamcast is dead to them.

There are commercial kits for modding and/or homebrewing, but that doesn't change the commercial market for games.

I was just thinking that there were SO many games coming out I couldn't possibly play all the ones I've pre-ordered for any decent length of time, let alone all the ones I want to. I'd say we've got too many developers again.

That doesn't matter. With nearly 200 million consoles strong, there are enough people who would buy these games to make them viable. Sales of over one million copies is still considered a success. Especially for the more casually-targeted games.

Yeah, Nintendo hasn't way underpriced anyone lately. There's no way there'd be a price war again... Wait, who was lowering their prices again?

Ok, this one seems to have gone right past you. The price war was between Commodore and Texas Instrument computers. It was engineered by Tramiel to remove the price difference between computers and consoles. It was also timed to make computers dominant when consoles were at their lowest point. The gambit not only succeeded, but computers managed to fully replace consoles for a period of about 5 years.

Nintendo, Sony, and Microsoft can have a price war all they want. It won't replicate the situation that caused the console crash.

Re:Atari say's please use caution... (1)

bigdavex (155746) | more than 6 years ago | (#19814085)

Atari did not want to allow third party developers for their console. Third party developers sprang up anyway, and started chucking out whatever they could possibly sell. Since Atari had no licensing arrangements with these companies, there were no quality control checks in place. Today's console makers require licensing arrangements to prevent exactly this sort of problem. (And to make more money!)

Keep in mind that Atari itself released ET for the 2600. We can't blame that on licensing agreements; it was just simply a lack of dedication to quality.

Re:Atari say's please use caution... (1)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 6 years ago | (#19814469)

ET really did get a bum rap. I know that it is everyone's favorite game to dislike, but the game wasn't as bad as everyone remembers it. A more sensible argument was that it missed the target market of action-game players that Atari had cultivated. Pushing an adventure game on them was probably a mistake, though it would have been less so if HSW had had a bit more time to tweak the gameplay. (Mostly to prevent you from falling in holes.)

Since E.T. was released right around the same time as the crash, its has been widely attributed as being the cause of the crash. I find this bit of urban mythology to be doubtful as E.T. didn't do nearly as bad as Pacman. (Relatively speaking.) In fact, many of the legends (e.g. there were more carts than consoles) were actually swiped from the story of Pacman and falsely applied to E.T.

While I'll agree that Atari wasn't exactly brimming with quality themselves, the market generally ignored their crud. Kids from the 80's don't even remember how bad Pacman or Defender were. They just remember that it was cool to have these games on a home console. (They were a surprisingly forgiving bunch!) However, Atari's quality snafus were nothing compared to the flood of garbage pouring out of US Games [wikipedia.org] (a division of Quaker Oats!), Apollo, Xonox [wikipedia.org], Mythicon [wikipedia.org], Spectravision [wikipedia.org], Data Age [wikipedia.org], and Froggo. (Just to name a few.)

Re:Atari say's please use caution... (1)

bladesjester (774793) | more than 6 years ago | (#19815073)

I never really thought the atari port of pac-man was that bad. Considering the tech they had to work with, it was actually pretty good. Defender was much the same way.

The console just didn't have the power of an arcade cabinet. Of course, it also didn't cost several grand either.

Want to see a difference between arcade and console that will make you cringe from a gameplay standard, look at Crystal Castles. Great arcade game (which used the trackball controller) turned into a fairly lame joystick controlled atari game.

Re:Atari say's please use caution... (1)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 6 years ago | (#19815593)

I never really thought the atari port of pac-man was that bad. Considering the tech they had to work with, it was actually pretty good. Defender was much the same way.

See what I mean? You guys are just so forgiving.

Take a look at these games:

Ms. Pac Man [atariage.com]
Jr. Pac Man [atariage.com]
Stargate [atariage.com] (aka Defender II)

Now tell me, was it really so impossible to make a Pac Man with the right maze and a character that turned his head, or a Defender in which the ship disappeared every time you fired?

I've programmed for the 2600. Its limitations are not what most people think they are. Travesties like PacMan and Defender only happened because a) Atari was churning its employees due to poor treatment and b) Atari never gave anyone enough time to do a really good job on a game.

The funny part is that third party titles regularly exceeded the graphics of Atari's games. The only problem is that very few third parties knew how to make a fun game. :-/

Re:Atari say's please use caution... (1)

bigdavex (155746) | more than 6 years ago | (#19816863)

I have to admit to never playing ET. I played and enjoyed Defender, but I honestly thought the Pac Man port was crap.

Re:Atari say's please use caution... (0)

ab0mb88 (541388) | more than 6 years ago | (#19815293)

but computer gaming has been largely deemphasized over the years.

Exactly, how can you claim to be a success with just 8.5 million subscribers [computeran...ogames.com] on a single game. If $15 a month times 8.5 million users is a success, give me the profits from all of those new consoles any day.

Re:Atari say's please use caution... (1)

techiemikey (1126169) | more than 6 years ago | (#19813371)

You see, i highly disagree with you. Not that this hasn't happened in the past, but that hard core gamers can't be fooled with pretty graphics and sounds. How many games out on the market now are "Oh, it's extreamly similar to halo, but the graphics are better and you get to use cooler weapons"? Even if the casual gamer market does burst as your predicting, it will help create new genre's and more variations on gameplay that will help stay around after the crash. That being said, i don't believe the casual gamer market will "pop" as it did in the past, but it may fade. Back in the 80's the games being made for the casual gamer (even though hard core gamers were far and few between) were, as you said, crap. There was little merrit to the games other than a license from something popular. This time around is different because the appeal to the casual gamer is not a brand name. It is something they havn't seen before, meaning unique content. These are people who have been exposed to video games but havn't enjoyed what they have been offered. Therefore, yes, they may get bored again with what they are being offered, but it will happen when the industry just copies what was successful in the past instead of risking money on new ideas, causing the casual gamers to lose interest once again.

Re:Atari say's please use caution... (4, Interesting)

mwvdlee (775178) | more than 6 years ago | (#19813373)

In my opinion, it is the hardcore gamer that has low expectations; always buying the latest well-known brand of FPS, RTS, RPG, platformer, fighting game or whatever. As long as the graphics are better than the previous game and there's ever more of everything familiar. The kind of stuff the PS3 and X360 offer.

The casual gamer, on the other hand, requires new stimulation and new experiences. Casual gamers want to see new gameplay, new ways to interact with the medium; the kind of stuff the Wii offers. These are definetely a form of "expectations" too, an IMHO a lot higher expectations than those of polished recycleables.

Whether the casual market will be a mainstay of the console market is hard to tell. Developers will have to keep coming up with new ideas and will have to be competitive in a far less "measurable" way than how they've been dealing with hardcore gamers.

The past generations of consoles have been largely pushing increasing processor power. The Wii broke this mold by focussing on new ways to interact, and it'll be interresting to see whether they made the right bet. The market Nintendo "created" will be less easy to satisfy than the hardcore market and we'll have to wait and see whether their controller is just a novelty or the first step into the future of consoles.

Re:Atari say's please use caution... (2, Interesting)

twistedsymphony (956982) | more than 6 years ago | (#19814035)

I agree with you half way... I think the hardcore gamers do like unchanging gameplay... they want the FPS the plays like that other FPS they love that plays like that other FPS they love and is by that developer they love in that franchise they love... etc. etc.

Casual gamers will just play whatever looks like fun and move on when it stops being fun

On the other hand I think hardcore gamers demand more of a deeper plot and character development... they want to play Halo 3 not just because it's the gameplay/franchise they love but because it's like the next chapter in a really good book... I don't really think the casual market cares so much nor has the attention span for this kind of involvement with a game. Wii Sports might offer fresh gameplay but it's completely devoid of the kind of intellectual stimulation you'd get from something like Half Life, Halo or many of the other games hardcore players are known to love that casual gamers turn their nose up at.

I think in many ways hardcore gamers view their gaming experience as a solid form of entertainment that act in place of a movie, or book in terms of artistic value. I think Casual gamers view games more in terms of cheap thrills and as a completely different and alternative form of entertainment, rather than a replacement.

Re:Atari say's please use caution... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19813601)

I'm just curious... why do you insist on using apostrophes where they're grammatically incorrect? For example, "say's" should have just been "says" and "era's" should have been written "eras". When trying to decide whether or not to employ an apostrophe, ask yourself if you're working with a noun and denoting possession or if you're making a contraction. If the answers are both no, then don't use one.

I've noticed that this is a very common problem amongst American posters. Aren't they teaching appropriate apostrophe usage in schools?

Re:Atari say's please use caution... (1)

Hitto (913085) | more than 6 years ago | (#19813797)

So your theory is that in 1985, over 60 million hardcore gamers were there to buy the NES, which was a hardcore-only console as we all know?
I've been a gamer ever since I could hold one of those funky rotating things you used to play pong, and find people who consider themselves "hardcore" to always be either :

  - 13-year-olds who think the best game in the world is GTA.
  - Guys who take their videogames way too seriously (kinda like those star wars fans who know the name of obi-wan's first gilfriend)

When video gaming will be accepted as much as, I dunno, any other pastime like chess or uno, it won't be thanks to the hardcore. Small hint : smelly hardcore fans make people go AWAY.

Re:Atari say's please use caution... (1)

grapeape (137008) | more than 6 years ago | (#19815181)

Your reading a bit too much into that...I don't concider myself a "hardcore" gamer by that definition. Your defining fanboy's, IMHO a "hardcore" gamer is one who likes depth, replay value, storyline, a different experience and overall fun. I want Oblivions, ICOs, Halos, Ikarugas, Guitar Heros, etc. What I dont want is 50 versions of the same old thing.

The article made the point that game complexity was going away in favor of more Brain Age, Tetris and Nintendogs. The Wii is great example right now, I have one and like it alot, my kids play every day on it but after Zelda and Wii Sports I havent found much more to entertain me enough to play without the kids. We own Wario, Rayman, Mario Party and Wii play and to me they might as well have been named Wii Sports 2,3,4 and 5 there is little diversity.

Re:Atari say's please use caution... (1)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 6 years ago | (#19816699)

I want [...] Ikaruga

Whoa. Someone else who likes that shooter. Didn't expect to see that here. :-)

Have you seen how much the Gamecube version of that game goes for these days? I've seen incredible prices on Amazon, well over $100 a piece. eBay isn't much better with used copies going for about $50. I can't help but think that Atari was a victim of bad timing. If they re-released it now, it would be a much greater success than it was back in 2003.

Re:Atari say's please use caution... (1)

Hitto (913085) | more than 6 years ago | (#19816771)

Your definition of a "hardcore gamer" could very well fit in the movie business. Depth, replay value, and whatnot - they're what make a game good. We both agree on that. I think most consumers look for that in a game, or in a DVD, or music, or anything. Being conscious of the money you spend does not a hardcore gamer make.

Look at the people who partake in our pastime, who scream "videogames are art!!!" or who say "the story in *insert jRPG* is deep and involving because you have to save the world!!!". Those who, essentially, GLORIFY THEIR TOYS. When the substance will *be* there, I'll acknowledge that there is a difference between casual/nolife gamers.

You should definitely try out Excite Truck, as it is the most fun I've had with my Wii for now.

As for your "50 versions of the same old thing" comment... I remember playing a "virtual tennis" game with a funky controller 25 years ago ;)

Re:Atari say's please use caution... (2, Insightful)

buffer-overflowed (588867) | more than 6 years ago | (#19814537)

Hardcore gamers are killing the industry. Seriously. You people are fucking awful for it. Hang in there, I'll explain why. There's going to be a ton of film analogies in here, so bear with it. 99% of the 360 and PS3s lineup is a retread of a retread of a retread, with next to no refinement. The best of the best of a given years releases will incrementally improve something. Everything else is a graphics upgrade, maybe a setting that hasn't been used in a while, a character swap, some new guns, a new B-Movie level teen story. If you're really, really, really lucky, you might get a new good art direction style(but that's REALLY rare). It's all window dressing... it doesn't matter. That's fine, but it gets really old.

If you look at gaming, as a media, what you see is what basically amounts to what would happen if you took a summer action blockbuster schedule(quite popular with the 16-25 demo!) and rehashed it, year, after year, after year, only improving the CGI, and maybe the fight scenes. Anything fresh, withers and dies on the vine on the "hardcore" systems. Clover closed. Psychonauts was a commerical failure. Ico sold something like 10,000 copies. The success of anything remotely fresh is(perhaps was is better here?) a rarity, and quality has little impact on that. When something fresh IS successful, it quickly joins the rehash bandwagon. It's like 20 years of Naruto and knockoffs, 15 years of Terminator and Independence day sequels and knockoffs, with the past 5 years adding Pulp Fiction sequels and knockoffs.

The casual market, which is really better termed the mainstream market, which the Wii is reaching, has no expectations. Everything is novel to them, and judged with a completely fresh perspective. This is also why Halo is so popular incidentally, and older FPS gamers cringe at people calling it revolutionary. So yes, for a while, people will be willing to accept shovelware. This is partly(the rest being the novelty) because well, gaming media, and gaming criticism is an utterly pathetic puerile field. You don't see Roger Ebert knocking 2 stars off a film because it was made in Super 8 on a shoestring budget, because that's not the point to film, and you know what you're getting when you hear it was filmed in Super 8 on a shoestring budget. You see game critics do this all the time, and the bulk of their reviews are for an enthuisiast audience, which is an additional problem. When you give the games casual gamers like poor scores because of things they don't care about, you lose all of your credibility. Mainstream publications LOVE Wii sports, and the system has hit almost 10 million sold on the strength of largely that alone, it's doing blockbuster sales in Japan. Gaming publications scored it poorly(77%, resistence, which has had next to no market impact got an 87%). So you'll see in the growth of the industry into a casual market the emergence of a real, mainstream gaming media and review arm to cater to the mainstream. This, and time, will kill the shovelware, generate a real critical environment.

The other thing about casual and new gamers. They're more willing to experiment, because they have no biases. The hardcore audience has proven themselves adverse to this. Even a change in art direction can bring calls of derision(see "Cellda!"). This is good for the long term health of the industry, because believe me, most people will eventually grow out of(kids, additional responsibilities, whatever) or get sick of the blockbuster model. It happened to me, and there are countless other ex-hardcore gamers on this very forum in the same boat. If they buy 5 games a year, it's more likely that those will be in 5 different genres than all in the same genre, until they transition into a genre enthuisiast, at which point, they're "hardcore" anyway. If you have one FPS to play through, you don't need 4 more. You're already seeing this with the Wii release schedule this year. The genre coverage is missing VERY few things, the 360 and PS3 are chock full of holes.

Gaming is growing up and truly going mainstream, and it scares the piss out of the old elite. It's a good thing you guys don't matter. But don't worry, a side effect of this is that you'll see diversification and finally see catering to niche genres. Just like film. The games and styles and genres you love aren't going to die, which is what happened under hardcore domination to things like Adventure games. Casuals are good.

Re:Atari say's please use caution... (1)

YourMissionForToday (556292) | more than 6 years ago | (#19815409)

There was no such thing as a "casual" or "hardcore" gamer when the arcades took off in the late 70's/early 80's. Everyone played Asteroids, Pac-Man, etc.

When video games started to get too complicated for the average person to figure out just by plopping in a quarter and grabbing the joystick, interest dropped rapidly.

It's taken years for the video game industry to realize that making games simple (Pac-Man, Tetris, etc) or a simulation of games the user is familiar with (Solitaire, football) greatly increases the number of potential customers.

In this age of skyrocketing development costs, slow sales for PS3, arbitrary Vista cut-offs in Windows, and questionable reliability for the Xbox 360, something's got to give. Casual gaming has to pick up the slack and hold the market, until a reliable platform like the PS2 emerges (maybe next generation, maybe Wii or PS3 after a huge price drop).

A few thoughts (4, Insightful)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 6 years ago | (#19812983)

Sony will ultimately do quite well with the PS3, as it is likely that Blu-ray will win the high-definition movie format war.

I agree that Sony will win the HD format war, but I don't believe that it will convey any real advantage to Sony. The uptake on HD formats has been incredibly slow. Even if Sony were to wipe out HD-DVD tomorrow, they would only inherit a very small piece of market share.

Most observers misunderstand what's going on with the Wii at present: that once a household purchases a Wii, it will never purchase another console. I completely disagree with this analysis.

In my view, the Wii is bringing in a wider demographic than has ever been exposed to games before, and a meaningful number of them will now consider purchasing a more "hardcore" system. Once the PS3 and the Xbox 360 price points decline to a competitive level -- the magic number is probably around $199, this wider demographic will be more likely to consider purchasing [one] as the second console in the home.

I have to disagree. If the PS2 proved anything, it's that very few gamers will support more than one console in their home. The hardcore types had a Gamecube (only $99!) as well, but that didn't stop the GCN from being the worst performing console that Nintendo ever released. (~22 million units worldwide) Microsoft didn't fare much better, just barely edging out the Wii's sales. (~24 million units worldwide)

All this adds up to a single, inescapable conclusion: The casual market is a zero sum game. There can only be one winner who takes the lion's share of the market pie.

Guitar Hero is perhaps the best example of a game that non-gamers can enjoy, but will still be popular with the enthusiast and core gamer. The Wii, the DS and the PS2 are changing the dynamics of the industry, with the mass market becoming a primary driver rather than an end-cycle afterthought.

This is what a lot of people keep missing. The PS2 continues to go strong because it appeals to the casual gaming crowd. It may have initially sold well because it was a cheap DVD player, but that offered the market a way to reach the casual gamer. (Whether it was understood at the time or not.) Those customers are extremely happy with their $120 DVD/Tetris/Guitar Hero machines, so why should they spend $600 for a PS3? The answer, of course, is that they're not going to. They may purchase a Wii, but it's only because it provides gaming possibilities that their existing machine doesn't. And they don't need to break the bank to get one.

Re:A few thoughts (2, Insightful)

EMeta (860558) | more than 6 years ago | (#19813269)

I usually agree with you Mr. Batman, but here I must disagree. The PS2 was the only console in the households because it had far and away the best games of the era. Yes, it missed a dozen great games that came out on the other platforms, but it had hundreds of enjoyable games itself, and the other consoles didn't really offer anything different. (Until Xbox Live, but that exploded rather late). In this generation we have consoles with completely different gaming purposes. I might buy a 360; I might get a PS3, but I know I will get a Wii, & that has very little bearing on the other descisions. And I don't know any gamers serious enough to already own a PS3 or Xbox360 who don't also want a Wii.

If anything, the Wii has an opportunity here to be a gateway console into more serious gaming. I expect that the retirement homes now stocking Wii's will have some patrons who later buy Xbox360's or PS3's.

The world changes. It's fun that way.

Re:A few thoughts (1, Troll)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 6 years ago | (#19813517)

The PS2 was the only console in the households because it had far and away the best games of the era.

I don't think we really disagree. My point is that the PS2 got it start from being a cheap DVD player. Which catapulted it into the role of a casual gaming machine. Which has become a self-perpetuating engine of sales thanks to the large library of casual games.

The point in history I'm discussing is specifically the chicken and the egg solution that the PS2 used. You can't sell consoles unless you have a large library of good games. And you can't get game creators to make good games unless there is a customer base of consoles to target. Sony solved this with a good launch followed by a price drop that made it a cheap DVD player. We don't even think about it now as DVD players are so cheap, but all those games ended up on the console because Sony managed to get the console in the hands of consumers.

What Sony seems to have underestimated with the PS3 is that:

1. Not many people want a BluRay player.

2. $600 may be a bargain in relative terms, but it's a lousy value in absolute terms. Consumers only care about the absolute terms.

Re:A few thoughts (1)

xero314 (722674) | more than 6 years ago | (#19815211)

And I don't know any gamers serious enough to already own a PS3 or Xbox360 who don't also want a Wii.
I don't currently own any of them but once I do decided to purchase one it most likely will not be a Wii. I know a number of people who have a Wii and have played one a number of times. I'm not saying the Wii is a bad console, I'm just not seeing any games announced that appeal to me, outside of a few virtual console releases of old Sega games, which I already purchased once. Graphics aside I just don't see anything that compares to Lair, Heavenly Sword, Eye of Judgment, Folklore, Ratchet and Clank, and Rock Band (which has not been confirmed for the Wii). That's just listing a few for the PS3 through the end of the year, with the XBox 360 exclusives making the list that much longer.

But none of that is the real reason I would not purchase a Wii. The big reason is that I would only use the Wii for multiplayer games, and anyone I would be playing those games with already owns a Wii (at least one of the group would at least). I'm not writing it off completely, but so far there is no motivating factor to by a Wii. Currently the only motivation I have to buy any current gen system is the fact that my PS2 is becoming a hassle to maintain (initial release PS2 that requires some up keep).

Re:A few thoughts (1)

7Prime (871679) | more than 6 years ago | (#19816653)

Actually, you're the kind of person Nintendo hopes to see more of: where their console is so prodominant that many people don't feel the NEED to buy them, because all their friends have them. They may not make any money off of you, but you're a good sign for their marketing.

Re:A few thoughts (1)

7Prime (871679) | more than 6 years ago | (#19816625)

Depends upon how you look at it. The PS2 had about 10x as many games as the GCN or XBox. But pound for pound, the GCNs library kicks the SHIT out of the PS2s library, it was just tiny. Of course, the basic number of good games is what really counts, because you can weed out the shitty ones.

Re:A few thoughts (1)

dlZ (798734) | more than 6 years ago | (#19813561)

I have to disagree. If the PS2 proved anything, it's that very few gamers will support more than one console in their home. The hardcore types had a Gamecube (only $99!) as well, but that didn't stop the GCN from being the worst performing console that Nintendo ever released. (~22 million units worldwide) Microsoft didn't fare much better, just barely edging out the Wii's sales. (~24 million units worldwide)

I have to agree that most gamers will only have one console. The truly hardcore will get everything (I have one friend who has every current system except for the PS3, and he's waiting to get one till a few more games he wants come out.) He even buys the handheld systems. But he's the exception to the rule from what I see with my friends. Most of them have one game system, or even none at all. The PS2 is the most common one I see, with the Xbox360 being the next most common. They consider me a hardcore gamer because I have a 360, Wii, and a PS2 (in the gym for DDR, heh.)

Just the other day I overheard a mother bitching up a storm about the 360 because she insisted it was a plot to just make them buy more stuff (well, duh.) The fact that the original Xbox has been out for awhile now didn't matter to her. And I don't think that is an uncommon opinion in her age group and up (she was probably in her mid-40s.)

The younger but growing up gamer generation seems to understand that new systems will probably be out every 5 years or so, and don't seem to mind that part too much. We're one of the few couples without children now, and I can barely find time to play a game anymore. So I can understand why one game system is more than enough for most people, especially when children are in the picture. As a quick disclaimer, the group of friends I'm thinking about are all around 30, be it a bit younger or older, myself and better half included.

Re:A few thoughts (0, Flamebait)

Pope (17780) | more than 6 years ago | (#19814211)

The younger but growing up gamer generation seems to understand that new systems will probably be out every 5 years or so, and don't seem to mind that part too much

But that's the way it's always been! 5 years is the standard video game generation, and Microsoft's and Sony's recent attempts to shorten that should only invite contempt. I'll also throw out there that calling XBox 2 the "360" as a way to try to capture the PS3's name and try to convince gamers that it really is part of the same generation is nothing but marketing bullshit, in the same way that Macromedia never release a version 6 of Freehand to try to leap Illustrator's version number.

Re:A few thoughts (0, Redundant)

dlZ (798734) | more than 6 years ago | (#19816109)

But that's the way it's always been! 5 years is the standard video game generation, and Microsoft's and Sony's recent attempts to shorten that should only invite contempt. I'll also throw out there that calling XBox 2 the "360" as a way to try to capture the PS3's name and try to convince gamers that it really is part of the same generation is nothing but marketing bullshit, in the same way that Macromedia never release a version 6 of Freehand to try to leap Illustrator's version number.>

Even though it's always been like that, more often than not the parents purchasing the systems weren't playing them (not always the case, I used to have to fight with my mom to get the TV to play any of our game systems, even back to the Atari 2600.) They feel ripped off because they don't see any advantage to the new system for themselves, but they see the hefty price tag.

And of course it's all marketing, everyone wants to be number one in the game. But don't forget that a lot of people fall for that marketing bullshit. I had a client telling me they only want to use Internet Explorer 7 because it's 5 higher than Firefox, and this was just the other day. I was flabbergasted at the logic, but at the same time I understood where he was coming from. He doesn't have a proper understanding of the software, and thinks that the web browser is the Internet (and that email is something completely different, which is always fun to explain why it isn't working when their Internet goes down.) Marketing names like the 360 are meant for people like that. I had to bite my tongue with the client and not tell them to get Opera because it's 2 higher than IE, instead I explained that the version numbers don't necessarily mean it's a better browser because it's higher. I felt like I was in Spinal Tap (but it goes to 11!)

Re:A few thoughts (1)

techiemikey (1126169) | more than 6 years ago | (#19813573)

While i agree with you, i just need to correct one thing. The game cube wasn't Nintendo's biggest flop. That honor belongs to the Virtual Boy http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nintendo_Virtual_Boy [wikipedia.org] selling a wopping 900,000 units worldwide.

Re:A few thoughts (1)

7Prime (871679) | more than 6 years ago | (#19816723)

I'll also mention that, while not selling very well, it still made Nintendo lots of money... and everyone who had it was extremely pleased with it (myself included), and paved the way for the Wii.

Usually a consoles' true popularity isn't felt until the next generation. The N64 did pretty well, but it made a lot of enemies. Therefor, Nintendo had to sit in the "time out chair" through the GameCube era. But everyone who had a GameCube loved it, and Nintendo has now been forgiven for their arrogence during the N64 era. We're starting to see that now with the Wii's sales. The Wii did a lot of that on its own, but it wouldn't have gotten there if GameCube fans hadn't been making sure that it was at the top of everyone's talking list, from day one.

Errata (0, Troll)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 6 years ago | (#19813947)

This: "Microsoft didn't fare much better, just barely edging out the Wii's sales."

Is supposed to read: "Microsoft didn't fare much better, just barely edging out the GCN's sales."

Minor fubar on my part. :P

It's a Myth (1)

dctoastman (995251) | more than 6 years ago | (#19813157)

The hardcore gamer is a myth of the industry.

Re:It's a Myth (4, Interesting)

ProppaT (557551) | more than 6 years ago | (#19813523)

Unfortunately, it's not a myth of the industry so much as it's a myth of gamers. They fight over the meaning...some think it means FPS players, some think it means those who play only the most obscure of games, some think it just means people who play absurd hours of games. It's just like any club of sect of society...for some reason certain people like labels and feel strength and security in numbers.

The sad thing is, as a 28 year old life long gamer, starting with a Commodore 24 and currently owning practically every home game console to be mass produced since (save the PS3 and the Xbox 360), I wouldn't even consider myself a gamer at this point. While I play games and own over a thousand, it seems that these days it's not about playing the games themselves so much as it is having the best gear, best graphics, most violence, cinematic sequences, etc. I used to smile when playing games, now it's all too serious and realistic. I've actually gotten anxiety from playing some of the newer games, and that's not really cool.

In that sense, maybe I AM a casual gamer. So, in this day and age, can a veteran gamer who's been gaming nearly 25 years be considered a casual gamer? I suppose so, by definition.

Re:It's a Myth (1)

plague3106 (71849) | more than 6 years ago | (#19814043)

I used to smile when playing games, now it's all too serious and realistic. I've actually gotten anxiety from playing some of the newer games, and that's not really cool.

Why is that necessarly bad? Shouldn't you feel some anxiety playing Resident Evil? That seems to be the point of the horror genre, whether it be game, movie or book.

Re:It's a Myth (1)

Stefanwulf (1032430) | more than 6 years ago | (#19815525)

I don't know...Berzerk used to seriously stress me out when I was playing. Evil Otto still scares me a little.

Re:It's a Myth (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19813579)

You're right. The "hardcore gamer" was invented on internet forums by little kids who wanted to pretend that they were too grown up for Nintendo.

Re:It's a Myth (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19816171)

I wouldn't be so sure it's a myth.

I am a PC gamer, and I think to be a PC gamer interested in playing newer titles, you get to have the title of hardcore.

two video cards, at least a few gigs of ram, a decent multicore processor, an LCD and a CRT (for my 3D glasses), RAIDed HD's
100$ laser mouse, perhaps a higher performance sound system (7.1)

you easily spend yourself into the 1500$ range for good new equipment.

I haven't owned a console in years, but I will be picking up a wii so I can play games with my casual gamer friends.

Xbox 360 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19813199)

i play xbox 360 with my brother sometimes... its very cool... my brother is 30 years old hes pretty smart... he has 45 iq its the same as heis shoe size.. pretu good considaring 100 is full.... xbox is cool but xobx 360 is beter... i am masetr chief from halo... bcz when i played halo for the second time i knew what was going too happen befor eit happend... so im takeru... its pretty cooll... sonic is cool... i dont like tails though bcz hes sonics girlfrend... i want2 be sonics girlfrend.... sonic is so fast and handsome its increddibnle... sometimes... together... my mom and dad are brother and sister... its prety cool i gess... i herd its prety normal in america.... they love eachother like a father and daugher... theyr so cute together... together... sometimes... xbox... my brother is in wheel chair... but hes cool because hes smart... yea... the boy in the basements said he isnt smart and he say bad thing about my dad... but its no mater... he is chained up... in basement... together... xbox... yea... maybe... xbox is pretty cool bcz they its like games... together... sometimes... i hear screaming from basement... dosnt mater... the boy there is happey.... yea...

Some snippets from TFA (4, Insightful)

MeanderingMind (884641) | more than 6 years ago | (#19813439)

Pachter:

Most observers misunderstand what's going on with the Wii at present: that once a household purchases a Wii, it will never purchase another console. I completely disagree with this analysis.

In my view, the Wii is bringing in a wider demographic than has ever been exposed to games before, and a meaningful number of them will now consider purchasing a more "hardcore" system. Once the PS3 and the Xbox 360 price points decline to a competitive level -- the magic number is probably around $199, this wider demographic will be more likely to consider purchasing [one] as the second console in the home. I think the tried-and-true strategy of focusing on the hardcore gamer audience first, and expanding to the wider demographic later in the cycle, will again work for Sony and for Microsoft.


What Pachter is forgetting is that the casual market very rarely buys more than one console, which completely screws up the whole "hardcore first, casual second" strategy he's suggesting for the 360 and PS3. That simply won't "work" in the way he thinks it will, because by the time the 360 and PS3 are ready for casuals the vast majority of them will already be playing the Wii. That the Wii has also attracted some number of hardcore players is the icing on the cake.

It will "work" in the sense that Sony and Microsoft might turn a profit, but not in any sense they'd like. It's a strategic failure to let a competitor horn in on your turf while simultaneously leaving them to frollic freely on theirs. The "tried and true" strategy worked previous because everyone was doing it. You don't have to delve far into history to see how often the "tried and true" got usurped as humanity moved forward.

By the time the 360 and PS3 hit the "magic number", it will already be too late. Assuming the PS3 drops at the current rate, that's a $100 drop every 8-9 months, putting the now $499 PS3 at $199 in August 2009. That's 2 full freaking years of letting Nintendo run amok with the casuals. Sony is going to need exclusive rights to Spore in order to rip casuals off of the Wii by then. Nothing short of that kind of casual star power is going to cut it.

Barton:

We expect PS3 uptake to be slow. However, we also feel that the adoption curve will endure for a longer period than previously witnessed in the console industry. Sony believes the expected lifespan of the PS3 will be eight to ten years. The issue one must consider is whether it is better to have a short period of relatively low hardware investment followed by four years of growth, or a short period of losses sustained on hardware sales early in the cycle followed by eight to ten years of growth. It is arguable that Sony's strategy will garner significant, long-term publisher support.


An 8 to 10 year lifetime might work, if the PS3 attracted the casual crowd. The casual crowd isn't quite as obsessed with aging graphics as the hardcore, and so will keep an older system long after hardcore players have shelved or sold it. The inherent problem here is that the Wii and DS are picking up all the casual players. Unless Sony can find a way to break them away from Nintendo's offerings, the 10 year lifetime won't happen. 4 years from now the hardcore will move onto the next big thing. The Cell is a neat processor, but it is not enough to keep up with the advances that will be made as time passes.

Re:Some snippets from TFA (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19814509)

What you're forgetting is that the casual crowd, unlike more committed gamers, will just stop gaming altogether when the next thing comes along. I don't think that the typical current casual Wii owners will be interested enough in gaming in 2009 to buy another console. If they're playing anything, it'll be Bejeweled 3 on PC.

There's another thing too - buying a new console means you're bored with the old one. You are fully over the novelty of having a game-box in your house. Why, then, would you buy a new one?

Yum Yum (2, Funny)

dintech (998802) | more than 6 years ago | (#19813623)

I don't see [Microsoft] trying to cannibalize the Wii audience

I hear Steve Balmer eats three Wii users for breakfast, a Sony executive for lunch and banquets on 8 Google workers for dinner. For dessert he he eats puppies and ice cream.

Re:Yum Yum (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19816955)

And he snacks on fried baby legs throughout the day.

The Wii is Hardcore - I have proof.... (1)

rnmartinez (968929) | more than 6 years ago | (#19813795)

Ever try catching those stupid fish in Zelda? took me forver - way harder then anything else I've played!

Grown more casual (1)

ducomputergeek (595742) | more than 6 years ago | (#19814497)

I know a lot people, especially women in the 20ies, who love the WII but never really played video games before. My best friend's wife wanted one for her birthday...and she is one of those extremely high maintence girly girls that normally wants a new Coach purse or a day at the Spa. But this year she wanted a Wii. It's a great party box.

The epitaph of the hard core gamer (1)

drunken_pirate (818313) | more than 6 years ago | (#19814549)

It seems that casual gamers here are seen in a negative way. Like local coastal surfers calling out the posers from the valley I feel that hardcore gamers look upon us casual gamers from some sort of elitist platform. Sure, on one hand you get to spend all your extra time involved in some fantasy that you wont walk away from. But on the other hand you spend all your extra time involved in some fantasy that you can't walk away from.

As a casual gamer I don't play many games. I don't have level 70 wizards, I don't have dedicated gaming TVs. I haven't logged very much time at all on any game. But I have spent many hours with my family and my boys exploring the non virtual worlds around my home. The mountains, the coast, the local lakes and rivers. I choose to invest my time in those around me.

What is the epitaph of the hardcore gamer? Out of the finite number of hours we have to live, how many would you want back at the end? What did you accomplish in those hours that will outlive you? Who will remember your deeds? Thank you hardcore gamer. Thanks for immersing your time in yourself and yourself only. Thanks for carrying an industry on your back so I can casually play some titles that mean nothing to me. Thank you for staying inside and not crowding the places I like to take my family and friends.

I have nothing against hardcore gamers, unless they become elitists. I feel your accomplishments are the opposite of elite.

Re:The epitaph of the hard core gamer (1)

stratjakt (596332) | more than 6 years ago | (#19816431)

Your post is the most elitist jackass tripe I've ever read.

You do know you can do both. You can live a full, rewarding life, and still kick ass at counterstrike, or have a level 70 wizard.

I can't help but assume that what you really mean when you say "I dont have a dedicated gaming TV" is, you prefer to spend your downtime veging out to dopey reality TV.

Some of us prefer to stay engaged 24/7. I don't "veg out", ever.

How long is the Wiis novelty going to last? (1)

lietkynes65 (694539) | more than 6 years ago | (#19815085)

I always assumed I fell somewhere in between a "hardcore" gamer and a "casual" gamer. I play a lot of games but I am not terribly good at them. I am even willing to invest a few hundred bucks (which don't exactly come to me with any great speed) for the new experience. However I simply can not afford an HDTV I don't care about how crisp it is 800 bucks for a TV that may or may not last is way out of my price range, I'd rather spend the money on tons of DVD movies and women. I have no plans on buying an HDTV either and most people I know, the ones that live in the real world and not in their parents basement generally don't have any plans either (unless they watch a lot of football). Anyway all these factors lead me to waiting in line to buy the Wii on the first day. When I lived with a bunch of people the WIi was great we spent lots of time playing it, making Mii's, Rayman, Trauma Center but then all of a sudden the games kind of dried up. I did not enjoy Paper Mario and now that I had to move to another city because of work I find myself unable to entertain just myself with the Wii, I wish I had a 360 now. The Wii is a great idea but I hope it doesn't get Nintendo disease the very same lack of games syndrome that killed the n64 and gc. Oh Well

Definition of hardcore gamer? (1)

sysadmintech (704387) | more than 6 years ago | (#19815123)

I had an Atari, and a TI99-4a (4) before NES (24) (is number of games). 3DO (58), SNES (32), Gamegear (18), Saturn (48), GB, (22), GBA (28), N64 (23), PS(64), Dreamcast (32) paying $50 for a console and averaging about 20 games per year in approximate order of purchase. The GC (68), and PS2 (48) cost $80 and $120 but came bundled with Sunshine and Kingdom Hearts. I plan on buying an XBox soon but $90 is still too expensive for the value. I've always followed game ratings and bought games over a 7 on the Gamespot rating system. I've had 3 kids since the NES who grew up with at least 3 consoles in use in the house. I would say the 3DO, Saturn and Dreamcast had the best content so far. But I never bought a GTA or RE. Memorable purchases were Super Mario Bros(NES), Gex(3DO), Incredible Machine(3DO), Mario Kart(SNES), Echo(Gg), Nights(Sat), Warcraft(Sat), Mario/Starfox/Kart64(64), Ocrina(64), Worms(DC), Crash, Spyro(PS), ... I'm not going to keep making you read. The last 2 months Double Dash, Twilight Princess and Soul Caliper for GC and FFXII and Kinetic for PS2 have been played a lot. As I look over the catalog of games we own many are "casual games" by definition. Many "casual games" often appear to be multi-player or "party" games. Have I been a casual gamer for the last 30 years or are we hardcore? Wish I could write more but I gotta go.

WTF? (3, Insightful)

Tarlus (1000874) | more than 6 years ago | (#19815413)

...will encourage more family activities, like downloading TV shows and movies.
Is this really where society is today? In my childhood, the whole point of family activities were to keep us away from brainlessly watching the TV.

What will make me buy a Wii (1)

nuzak (959558) | more than 6 years ago | (#19815417)

When PopCap ports their catalog to the Wii, I'm there. Actually I might want a port of Puzzle Pirates as well. I can't stand Nintendo's party games.

Questionable (1)

masticina (1001851) | more than 6 years ago | (#19815815)

Well Microsoft did sell the thing on it doing things better, bigger and more beautiful right. With the hardcore ability to play against others for hours in ranked competitions and oh yes you have a gamer score card.

That isn't what most casual gamers attract in the end though. Sure the bigger, better and more beautiful is always welcome. But a casual gamer might not have the time for 3-4 hours long game runs. And that is not long if you are a hardcore gamer, those can easily take a whole day trying to beat a few more levels to get all the extra secrets! Like Tekken in what you had to be really really a grinder to get used to the different combo's. Where after 80 hours of play you finally could beat every other character with your choice character. To start all over again with another character! That is hardcore..right

That is fine if you are a child, if you don't have to study, or if you don't have a job and children. Once you got them you can sell your stuff! The few "leisure" games like oblivion, viva pinata and I am sure a few other ones that you can pick up for an hour or two hours. There are not to many of those on the XBLA or the Xbox platform. And the few kiddy games..hell you earlier see a child fire up a PS2 to play them because they look all the same anyway!

Now the other side, the media reciever, well sadly it is "bundled" to be wired up to Windows Mediaserver Edition. Let not every house has that lying around! DVDs'? We already got a dvd-player, HD-DVD's? Dont expect them to fork out $200,- for a HD-DVD to hook up to the Xbox360 if they also can buy a stand alone HD-DVD player!

No the Xbox360 is still way to wired up to the hardcore gamers, even the "elite" doesn't helps that much!

Nobody cares about hardcore, frankly (1)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | more than 6 years ago | (#19816023)

It's time for casual gamers to assert their overwhelming majority and say "No!" to the endless demand for screaming fast video cards that overheat, stuff with so many buttons even a Tellusian gets confused, and this obsessive focus on "power" over "fun".

I vote for Fun.

I certainly hope so... (2, Interesting)

7Prime (871679) | more than 6 years ago | (#19816581)

I'm a serious gamer, but I'm tired of the "hardcore" crowd. It's becoming a cliche like the "extreme sports" fad. I'd like serious, involving games... but I don't care about shit like high-end graphics, or shock-value elements like lots of blood and sex everywhere, that the hardcore crowd seems to be getting at. I'd like a game that will immerse me in its game world, or tell a good epic story, or something to that extent.
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