The Core and the Casual
6:00 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story
Gamasutra has posted an article discussing the differences between core and casual gamers, and the different mindsets that drive each market. Because they are often less expensive and not so narrowly focused, 'value games' often sell far more copies that the big-name core games such Quake 3 Arena and Unreal Tournament. On any given week you will find The Sims and Who Wants To Be A Millionaire knocking the first-person shooters down a notch on the sales charts.
In our own part of the market, MacSoft has found that though Apple's sales numbers have been much better in the past several years, their game sales haven't increased proportionally. In an effort to appeal to a broader market, they are trying to capture the casual gamer's eye. MacSoft's recent move to publish more casual-gamer titles from companies such as Hasbro is an indication of their strategy.
The article has been written by a game developer who claims he is trying to find this balance between these two disparate worlds. Here's a clip from his opening paragraph:
I've been playing computer games for almost as long as they have existed. From Pong to the present day, I've played games just about every day of my life. You might think that makes me a hard-core gamer, but actually, I'm not. I'm a casual gamer. If that sounds like a damning admission from a professional game designer, think again; there are a lot more casual gamers out there than core gamers, and it behooves us to understand what they want from a game.There are many games that offer different levels of depth for differing amounts of interest, though they seem to be mainly for consoles. The author offers GoldenEye64 as an example of a game which appealed to both types of gamer, core and casual. Mac and PC games are often seem to be targeted at strictly one group or the other; either Q3A or Deer Hunter.
Gamasutra Core/Casual Article
Should games try to appeal to just core players or just casual gamers? Will more publishers shift toward the casual gamer market, in search of sales, or do casual gamers become core gamers over time? Read the article and then sound off in our forums if you have something to share with the rest of the class. Are you casual, or are you core -- or can you be somewhere in between?
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