Author Topic: Are "hardcore" games a dying breed?  (Read 12287 times)

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Offline Kregaaron

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Are "hardcore" games a dying breed?
« on: February 13, 2010, 12:42:47 pm »
(I'm not sure if this is the appropriate section, nor if this already has a topic, if either are true, please direct me to the correct area)

I was recently pursuing GamingSteve's twitter, and came across an interesting article he mentioned

http://seanmalstrom.wordpress.com/2010/02/12/npd-january-2010-celebrate-industry-continues-its-decline/

He not only proclaims everyone in said article is correct, but that malstorm is one of the very few gaming journalists who "get the industry".

So, what are your guys thoughts? Hard core gaming totally dead? Casual gaming actually going to die? Something inbetween? Yes, no, maybe so?

I ask here, because it involves GamingSteve, and I found this board to have rather intelligent discussions about gaming. I'm wondering all your thoughts on this...



Offline Gorman Conall

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Re: Are "hardcore" games a dying breed?
« Reply #1 on: February 14, 2010, 12:02:34 pm »
There is much I could say on the matter but I have the flu and don't really feel like making a large post. But yes and I predicted this long ago and pretty much everything I said would come has. Causal gaming is taking over and if it does not stop soon there will be no such thing as a hard core game. The Wii has done much better then the other two consoles and the industry will go where the money is. Why spend years and millions on a brilliant in depth game when you cut both the  time and money in half and make a causal game that will sell better.

Even now we are getting casual bits in to our hardcore games. You couldn't die in fable or price of Persia in order to make it accessible to causal players. Both assassins creeds were easy, theirs no death penalty in borderlands or bio shock. And later this year the real gaming consoles both get a causal downgrade. The 360 gets project NATAL and the PS3 gets a currently unnamed motion controller. If ether of those do well, kiss gaming goodbye because the gamers that have made gaming what it is today, will be abandoned and forgotten. In favor of the people that never gave a rats ass about it

Offline Kregaaron

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Re: Are "hardcore" games a dying breed?
« Reply #2 on: February 14, 2010, 12:23:52 pm »
There is much I could say on the matter but I have the flu and don't really feel like making a large post. But yes and I predicted this long ago and pretty much everything I said would come has. Causal gaming is taking over and if it does not stop soon there will be no such thing as a hard core game. The Wii has done much better then the other two consoles and the industry will go where the money is. Why spend years and millions on a brilliant in depth game when you cut both the  time and money in half and make a causal game that will sell better.

Even now we are getting casual bits in to our hardcore games. You couldn't die in fable or price of Persia in order to make it accessible to causal players. Both assassins creeds were easy, theirs no death penalty in borderlands or bio shock. And later this year the real gaming consoles both get a causal downgrade. The 360 gets project NATAL and the PS3 gets a currently unnamed motion controller. If ether of those do well, kiss gaming goodbye because the gamers that have made gaming what it is today, will be abandoned and forgotten. In favor of the people that never gave a rats ass about it

Hi, thanks for your response.

I'm going to try to play devil's advocate here, as I'm looking for opinions across the board on this subject, and hope this sparks some interesting discussion.

I think I should really define what I mean by "casual" games, and "hardcore" games. By "hardcore" games, I think I really meant "mainstream" games, as in, having more complexity than farmville or brain age, like a game like Mass Effect or GTA IV. By "hardcore", I didn't mean an 2000 grindfest where you reached level 99 in the nuclear wastes fighting countless mutants. By many "hardcore" standards, ME 2 wouldn't fit as it downsized a lot of the grinding apparent in the first game (something I didn't have a problem removing), so, I was using a different (and possibly incorrect) definition.

But to reply to what you were saying (not as a refutation, but as a devil's advocate), Let's consider that the game market is expanding. Ten years ago, the majority of published fantasy was still LotR style Epic Fantasy. Laurel K Hamilton came along with her Laurel Haimlton series and JK Rowling came out with the Harry Potter series. Since then Urban Fantasy and Children's Fantasy has grown by leaps and bounds and possibly outsells the Epic Fantasy. Has that lead to a decline in Epic Fantasy? Not at all. More games are created every year as more people and more types of people play.

The demographics of gaming have changed and not everyone is interested in running through endless corridors blowing off the heads of evil demon-alien-****s, grinding for elemental drops in Shadowmoon Valley, or figuring out what combination of conversation and gifts will get Leliana to spread her legs for you.

However, there are enough hardcore players to make Modern Warfare 2 so profitable the developers could wipe their backside with 100 bills if desired.

Again, keep in mind I'm playing devil's advocate and not trying to directly debate with you.

Offline Krakow Sam

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Re: Are "hardcore" games a dying breed?
« Reply #3 on: February 14, 2010, 02:05:48 pm »
These are all meaningless terms.

If a hardcore game is defined by difficulty then hardcore (or lets face it, just generally hard) games went out of style shortly after they allowed people to save their game wheneevr they wanted, or at least just added frequent save points.

If hardcore gaming is defined by theme then it is in no danger of going away because people love guns and sex and gore.

In the end, the question is: Who cares?

There are still enough games out there to satisfy my taste in just about every game genre, from shooter to puzzler.
I doubt that will change any time soon.
Sam is basically right, he's just cranky.

Offline Skyward

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Re: Are "hardcore" games a dying breed?
« Reply #4 on: February 14, 2010, 02:14:24 pm »
These are all meaningless terms.

If a hardcore game is defined by difficulty then hardcore (or lets face it, just generally hard) games went out of style shortly after they allowed people to save their game wheneevr they wanted, or at least just added frequent save points.

If hardcore gaming is defined by theme then it is in no danger of going away because people love guns and sex and gore.

In the end, the question is: Who cares?

There are still enough games out there to satisfy my taste in just about every game genre, from shooter to puzzler.
I doubt that will change any time soon.
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Offline Gorman Conall

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Re: Are "hardcore" games a dying breed?
« Reply #5 on: February 14, 2010, 02:49:31 pm »
I classify hardcore and casual by their actual (gaming) definitions. Hardcore = games with depth such as Oblivion, Team fortress, Starcraft. Casual = shallow games. Such as Wiisports, Guitar hero and WiiFit (Fun in their own right but do we want them to take over gaming?)

Difficulty is only a single element of being casual or hardcore. Hardcore games are generally more difficult but feature difficulty levels letting any range of player play comfortably, however the game itself still keeps its depth regardless. Most casual games have a single non changeable difficulty level....easy.

Theme has nothing to do with being casual or hardcore.

Offline Snork

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Re: Are "hardcore" games a dying breed?
« Reply #6 on: February 14, 2010, 03:15:02 pm »
Hardcore = games with depth such as Oblivion
Hardcore as in hard and stupidly unbalanced, right? Right?
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Offline Gorman Conall

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Re: Are "hardcore" games a dying breed?
« Reply #7 on: February 14, 2010, 03:26:33 pm »
Snork personal opinions about games have no bearing on whats hardcore or casual, facts do so take your fanboyism elsewhere. I was only using oblivion as an example anyway.

Offline Kregaaron

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Re: Are "hardcore" games a dying breed?
« Reply #8 on: February 14, 2010, 03:31:30 pm »
Gorman is kind of going with what I was defining "hardcore" as, I only use that word because it's the popular vernacular in the gaming community at the moment. What I've been trying to convey is, will complex games die (such as say, Mass Effect, Fallout 3, Half life 2, etc. etc.) and games like FarmVille, Brain Age, and Wii Fit completely replace gaming? Or will both types be able to survive in the future gaming market, catering to two different demographs? A lot think the former can't survive, as games like ME, while profitable, are quite expensive to make, where games like FarmVille are quite inexpensive to make, and have more players.

Offline Gungnir

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Re: Are "hardcore" games a dying breed?
« Reply #9 on: February 14, 2010, 03:45:14 pm »
They both have their markets. Casual's just become more profitable recently. I think.


I'm not thinking straight at the moment, so I may just be spouting bullcrap.

Offline Snork

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Re: Are "hardcore" games a dying breed?
« Reply #10 on: February 14, 2010, 03:46:06 pm »
facts
What facts? I am aware that you were using an Example, but you would have been better off using Fallout 3 or Mass Effect, as it's a fact (and not 'Personal Fanboyism') that those are deeper games than Oblivion.
I don't want to start an argument anyways, lets just forget it.

As for the topic at hand, I greatly doubt that games like Farmville are going to replace 'Hardcore' games. It just seems unlikely.

It's late here so I'll explain myself better in the morning. 'Night all.
« Last Edit: February 14, 2010, 03:49:33 pm by Snork »
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Offline Krakow Sam

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Re: Are "hardcore" games a dying breed?
« Reply #11 on: February 14, 2010, 04:12:32 pm »
I classify hardcore and casual by their actual (gaming) definitions. Hardcore = games with depth such as Oblivion, Team fortress, Starcraft. Casual = shallow games. Such as Wiisports, Guitar hero and WiiFit (Fun in their own right but do we want them to take over gaming?)

I'm pretty sure you could actually name more 'hardcore' titles released in the last 12 months off the top of your head than you could so called casual ones. They're not 'dying'.

This is all just sensationalist guff started by people who irrationally dislike the success of games which fall outside the things they personally like to play most.

Lets take a look at the front page of the steam store. I think it can be considered a much less 'biased' retailer than the harcopy retailers since it has unlimited 'shelf space' and has a huge library of indie and 'casual' games.

Without scrolling down or clicking any tabs, we've got Dragon Age, STO, Bad Company 2, Bioshock 2, Global Agenda, Metro 2033, THQ complete pack, Left 4 Dead 2 and Lost Planet.
A little below that are Killing Floor, Aion, Need for Speed and Plants versus Zombies.

OH NO. A Casual Game! Our favourite hardcore games are literally being swamped by casual wank!

Not the best example perhaps, since I'm not sure what criteria the steam store decide their front page titles by, so I'll look at the top sellers.

Bad Company 2, THQ Complete, Bioshock 2, Modern Warfare 2, Aliens versus predator 2, mount and blade, total war, Mass Effect 2 and Left 4 dead 2.

Not a single casual title.

There is no threat to 'hardcore gaming'.
Sam is basically right, he's just cranky.

Offline Skyward

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Re: Are "hardcore" games a dying breed?
« Reply #12 on: February 14, 2010, 04:16:20 pm »
I classify hardcore and casual by their actual (gaming) definitions. Hardcore = games with depth such as Oblivion, Team fortress, Starcraft. Casual = shallow games. Such as Wiisports, Guitar hero and WiiFit (Fun in their own right but do we want them to take over gaming?)

Without scrolling down or clicking any tabs, we've got Dragon Age, STO, Bad Company 2, Bioshock 2, Global Agenda, Metro 2033, THQ complete pack, Left 4 Dead 2 and Lost Planet.
A little below that are Killing Floor, Aion, Need for Speed and Plants versus Zombies.

OH NO. A Casual Game! Our favourite hardcore games are literally being swamped by casual wank!


Besides, Plants versus Zombies kicks ass.
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Offline PatMan33

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Re: Are "hardcore" games a dying breed?
« Reply #13 on: February 14, 2010, 04:27:13 pm »
Hardcore games and hardcore gamers are by no means dying. True hardcore gamers have always been a small group - a group that most of us (myself included) have never been a part of. There will always been "hardcore" games tailored for that "hardcore" audience. They just aren't making the same kinds of headlines that they used to now that more people are becoming "gamers".

The question I think a lot of people mean to be asking in this case is whether or not as many people appreciate games, their history, and their accomplishments.

Offline Skyward

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Re: Are "hardcore" games a dying breed?
« Reply #14 on: February 14, 2010, 04:35:06 pm »
The question I think a lot of people mean to be asking in this case is whether or not as many people appreciate games, their history, and their accomplishments.

To which I would have to say: No.

Nowadays, a gamer is someone who plays CoD:MW2 and nothing else, claiming its the greatest game ever and shooting you a look whenever you mention a game like Half-Life or TF2.

At least, thats how everyone is around where I live >_>
« Last Edit: February 14, 2010, 05:25:32 pm by Skyward »
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Offline Gorman Conall

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Re: Are "hardcore" games a dying breed?
« Reply #15 on: February 14, 2010, 06:02:08 pm »
Krakow Sam you seem to think that I mean they are taking over right this minute. They are not and for now hardcore games still rule that is true. But its slowly happening and first off all throw steam right out the window, because PC gaming is not included in to the equation, PC gaming will always remain hardcore mostly due to the fact that casuals gamers don't have the know how to use them. PC gaming requires more effort then buying a console and popping in a disc. When I am talking about the casual takeover I am referring to console gaming only.

Its happening slowly but its is happening, while its uncommon to find a straight up casual game on the 360 or PS3 as I said before some company's are implementing causal elements in to hardcore games such as Fable and Assassins creed. And with the upcoming NATAL and PS3 motion controller that's only going to get much much worse. Fact of life is people will go where the money is, and the casual Wii market is doing better then the hardcore market with less time consuming and less expensive games.

Soon many new console games are going to be based around those devices and if they do well then that will be the new standard.

Pat I'm not sure where you got the idea that the hardcore group is small, before the Wii we were the only group and we were and remain huge, we are the ones that make games like modern warfare 2 a success because we buy those games, Grandma wii does not. Since the wii we haven't gotten any smaller but the causal audience exploded in mass as it drew in many non gamers. I'm not sure why you a fan of Dragon age mass effect and Command and conquer do not consider yourself to be a part of the hardcore group, its possible to be both. I am hardcore through and through but i still love peggle and plants vs zombies to death.

Offline Krakow Sam

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Re: Are "hardcore" games a dying breed?
« Reply #16 on: February 14, 2010, 06:03:24 pm »
Krakow Sam you seem to think that I mean they are taking over right this minute. They are not and for now hardcore games still rule that is true. But its slowly happening and first off all throw steam right out the window, because PC gaming is not included in to the equation, PC gaming will always remain hardcore mostly due to the fact that casuals gamers don't have the know how to use them. PC gaming requires more effort then buying a console and popping in a disc. When I am talking about the casual takeover I am referring to console gaming only.

Ok, cool. I don't really care about the consoles since my beloved gamecube ceased to be relevant.
Sam is basically right, he's just cranky.

Offline Gorman Conall

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Re: Are "hardcore" games a dying breed?
« Reply #17 on: February 14, 2010, 06:05:13 pm »
Well that clears up some confusion...though..this topic is in console games >_>

Offline Skyward

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Re: Are "hardcore" games a dying breed?
« Reply #18 on: February 14, 2010, 06:06:45 pm »
Well, a topic can be about video games all together, but in the end, it needs to go in one of the two categories.
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Offline Kregaaron

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Re: Are "hardcore" games a dying breed?
« Reply #19 on: February 14, 2010, 06:11:08 pm »
This is what gamingsteve had to further say on the subject.

"the proof is that a single game like Farmville have more players than all games combined that EA sold last year. Hardcore is just a few million players (loud players true). While casual is hundreds of millions, and growing fast, and the scary part is that casual players spend a lot of money on games, they just spend it in smaller amounts. Already Zynga, which is only 2 years old, is almost worth what EA is, and their overhead and expenses are A LOT less than EA. Zynga and other social gaming companies have a much bigger impact than hardcore gaming. The money just can't compare. A hardcore game can cost $50m+ to create, and might not make back it's cost. Casual games are a tiny fraction and can make money continuously and to a bigger audience. You will see EA and others go this direction. Zynga has 60m daily players. 1 in 6 people in the US are actively playing a Zynga game. That is ... crazy. Hardcore can't compete with this. How can games like Mass Effect survive in this environment?"~his twitter

That's pretty interesting, though I gotta wonder, isn't that new influx of "casual gamers" completely separate from the already existing gaming bloc that buy games like ME 2 and Fallout 3?
« Last Edit: February 14, 2010, 06:15:47 pm by Kregaaron »

Offline Gorman Conall

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Re: Are "hardcore" games a dying breed?
« Reply #20 on: February 14, 2010, 06:15:04 pm »
This is one of few times me and Steve have ever seen eye to eye on something. I find that interesting in itself  :P.

Offline PatMan33

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Re: Are "hardcore" games a dying breed?
« Reply #21 on: February 14, 2010, 06:22:57 pm »
Pat I'm not sure where you got the idea that the hardcore group is small

It is small because it's an extreme. Hardcore gamers have always been small in number and have always been a minority group. They're just the most vocal because they tend to care more about what is happening to the product.

Offline Gorman Conall

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Re: Are "hardcore" games a dying breed?
« Reply #22 on: February 14, 2010, 08:21:59 pm »
Pat I'm not sure where you got the idea that the hardcore group is small

It is small because it's an extreme. Hardcore gamers have always been small in number and have always been a minority group. They're just the most vocal because they tend to care more about what is happening to the product.

I think we have different definitions of a hardcore gamer. A hardcore gamer is a gamer that enjoys things like half life and mass effect or starcraft as opposed to Wii fit and peggle or rock band. Hardcore gamers have never been small. Hardcore gamers read magazines and visit game trailers or other gaming sites. Casual gamers see a commercial or an internet side bar ad.
« Last Edit: February 14, 2010, 08:24:58 pm by Gorman Conall »

Offline PatMan33

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Re: Are "hardcore" games a dying breed?
« Reply #23 on: February 14, 2010, 09:09:13 pm »
You can't list specific games when defining what a hardcore gamer is. Hardcore gamers are designated by their habits and involvement with the industry. Yes, Mass Effect and StarCraft and Half-Life skew toward the hardcore gamers; however, none of those things make you a hardcore gamer. Hardcore gamers are the ones that make the news and hardcore gamers are the ones that yell and scream and holler. The invisible majority doesn't talk and doesn't really care. They play their game and if they can't finish it or if the game is broken they just stop playing and do whatever.

We, as gamers leaning more toward the hardcore, need to remove ourselves from the clubhouse. Sure, we are the "professionals". We can name the release date of every Mario game and detail the most efficient way to get the flag back to base in 2Fort. But that does not mean that we are everyone, nor does it mean that we are the majority. Even with the recent upswing in casual gaming, you cannot deny that we have been outnumbered for years. Of course, if you name games like StarCraft, you're going to be right and hardcore gamers will be legion. But think of every mediocre game out there. The kind of game that we probably wouldn't touch. Someone out there is buying them. If they weren't most of these companies would have gone down the tubes years ago. And that's where the simple fact that we are outnumbered reveals itself.

For every triple A title out there, you have two dozen games that are bad, poorly marketed, or just ignored for reasons unknown. But we're the only ones that know to stay away from them. Most of my casual gamer friends have shelves full of games you or I would probably never touch.

And speaking of a hardcore gamer's friends, consider this. Ask a hardcore gamer or maybe think back to your own experiences. In my experience I don't have enough fingers and toes to list all of the people that ask me if they should buy this or ignore that. Hardcore gamers are a conduit through which the mass market gathers the data it needs to make a decision. A game usually does well if we like it because we tell all of our casual gamer friends that it's cool.

What that means though is that while we are a small group, our impact on the industry at large is fairly great. But from a sheer numbers perspective, hardcore gamers have been in the minority and always will be.

Offline martyk

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Re: Are "hardcore" games a dying breed?
« Reply #24 on: February 14, 2010, 10:50:40 pm »
Every single genre has a wide variety of styles in order to appeal to a wide variety of audiences.  It will be no different with gaming.  In time, we will see a wide range of both "hardcore" and "casual" games.  The only reason this seems strange is because we're only getting into the casual games over the last few years.  They have exploded in popularity yes, but will they eradicate good games?  No.  If anything, large scale, epic games will become more common as both the technology increases to accomodate it, and the general acceptance of gaming by society as a whole brings in more money and developers.

Keep in mind that many, many gamers in the future will start with casual games when they are young before "graduating" in time to more hardcore games.  That's how I got into to gaming, and that's how I bet a lot of you got into gaming.

Nobody (except for Crazen because he is a freak of nature raised in a lab to be the human supreme) takes their first steps into gaming with something like Mass Effect.
« Last Edit: February 14, 2010, 11:52:08 pm by martyk »
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Offline Crazen

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Re: Are "hardcore" games a dying breed?
« Reply #25 on: February 14, 2010, 11:11:28 pm »
I digress on that sentance. T

he first games I played where things like Age of empires, Shadow of collossus (still awesome) resident evil (not quite so great. then again, I never got past the first level) Final Fantansy (realy not awesome. realy lame, though), and other non shovel-ware.

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Offline martyk

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Re: Are "hardcore" games a dying breed?
« Reply #26 on: February 14, 2010, 11:52:24 pm »
Fixed
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Offline Kregaaron

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Re: Are "hardcore" games a dying breed?
« Reply #27 on: February 15, 2010, 12:00:59 am »
Every single genre has a wide variety of styles in order to appeal to a wide variety of audiences.  It will be no different with gaming.  In time, we will see a wide range of both "hardcore" and "casual" games.  The only reason this seems strange is because we're only getting into the casual games over the last few years.  They have exploded in popularity yes, but will they eradicate good games?  No.  If anything, large scale, epic games will become more common as both the technology increases to accomodate it, and the general acceptance of gaming by society as a whole brings in more money and developers.

Keep in mind that many, many gamers in the future will start with casual games when they are young before "graduating" in time to more hardcore games.  That's how I got into to gaming, and that's how I bet a lot of you got into gaming.

Nobody (except for Crazen because he is a freak of nature raised in a lab to be the human supreme) takes their first steps into gaming with something like Mass Effect.


Very good points there..

But I'm wondering, what's to stop companies like EA from just creating things like Farmville, which would make more money (allegedly) than ME?

Is there a critical factor I'm (and Steve) missing?

Offline martyk

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Re: Are "hardcore" games a dying breed?
« Reply #28 on: February 15, 2010, 12:08:24 am »
Then EA will become the Disney of video games.  But just because the biggest player is making casual games, doesn't mean that there arn't many, many others who are not.
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Offline Kregaaron

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Re: Are "hardcore" games a dying breed?
« Reply #29 on: February 15, 2010, 12:17:06 am »
Then EA will become the Disney of video games.  But just because the biggest player is making casual games, doesn't mean that there arn't many, many others who are not.

*tips devil's advocate hat on again, that hat just loves me...*

If an gaming giant like EA may turn to gearing itself towards smaller casual games, I don't see how the smaller companies can survive not following such example, especially in this economy.

Offline martyk

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Re: Are "hardcore" games a dying breed?
« Reply #30 on: February 15, 2010, 12:34:33 am »
If every other form of media can do it then why not gaming?

Besides, it's nigh impossible that EA would direct all their attention towards casual games.  Even if they did, many would probably leave and we'd have new companies sprinnging up.  Keep in mind that while it might be lucrative from a monetary viewpoint, most game developers are in the industry to build fun games, not make fat stacks of cash.
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Offline Kregaaron

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Re: Are "hardcore" games a dying breed?
« Reply #31 on: February 15, 2010, 12:57:28 am »
If every other form of media can do it then why not gaming?

Besides, it's nigh impossible that EA would direct all their attention towards casual games.  Even if they did, many would probably leave and we'd have new companies sprinnging up.  Keep in mind that while it might be lucrative from a monetary viewpoint, most game developers are in the industry to build fun games, not make fat stacks of cash.

Good points, but can your last comment be confirmed? I always thought the "big bucks" were certainly a part of getting into the industry. Then again, I've known plenty (myself included) who've wanted to get into the industry to make fun games as well. I'm not sure my type actually gets in though, so I'm asking. I don't know the psychology inherent in most game developers, so not a rhetorical question.

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Re: Are "hardcore" games a dying breed?
« Reply #32 on: February 15, 2010, 03:50:23 am »
PC gaming will always remain hardcore
Phew, I was almost worried about all of this. Almost.
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Offline Doomsday

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Re: Are "hardcore" games a dying breed?
« Reply #33 on: February 15, 2010, 06:45:43 am »
PC gaming will always remain hardcore
Phew, I was almost worried about all of this. Almost.

I disagree with Gorman's sentiment. PC Gaming is the genre most at risk. PC Game Sales, especially quality PC Titles in general, have been sliding down the tubes for years. "Casual" Gaming is also easier on computers because so many people have computers (almost as a necessity anymore), where as only the 'hip'/hardcore delve into Console Gaming (with the Wii being the exception), though there has been increasing market share and ease of use/availability in the Console Market (it probably outstrips PC gaming by a fair amount). Casual gaming has a ton more market penetration in the PC Market over any other market. High system requirements and the costs of upgrading/building a PC every 3-4 years ensures that the PC Gaming Market stays "pure" and hardcore as far as traditional gamers go, but low system requirements, low cost, and a large market of 'potentials' makes casual PC gaming a threat to the more traditional/hardcore PC gamer. Even if that threat is mostly over-hype.

Good points, but can your last comment be confirmed? I always thought the "big bucks" were certainly a part of getting into the industry. Then again, I've known plenty (myself included) who've wanted to get into the industry to make fun games as well. I'm not sure my type actually gets in though, so I'm asking. I don't know the psychology inherent in most game developers, so not a rhetorical question.

CEOs, company presidents, shareholders, and executive boards care about money first. Most of the people who actually work on the game (the actual game developers rather than the companies they work for/who publish them) care about making a game that is fun, accessible, and that is good. There is a concern about money, and whether the game will return it's investment and do well (it's a business after all). But from what I've seen from interviews with game developers, there is a emphasis on making a game that is good, fun and that they themselves would want to play. There is always the distinct presence of "will this make money?" when talking about game development. Someone could make an awesome, dynamic, deep, story-driven RPG-RTS hybrid with unique gameplay elements, but unless the markets are there for it to return the investment costs of developing the game it won't get made.

Personally, a RPG-T/FPS-RTS hybrid would be the most awesome game ever (especially set in a semi-modern fictional/Sci-Fi universe). The few games that have tried have been Medieval Fantasy-styled games (SpellForce, for example).

Anyway, back on topic. Casual Gaming will continue to have deep market penetration and the PS3 may be more at threat of skewing towards the casual end of things instead of the 360. My reasoning behind this is that a controller is much cheaper to buy, and far easier to use/setup than Microsoft's Project NATAL. A motion-control on the PS3 should only be about the cost of a normal controller (between 39-49 dollars), where as Project NATAL is a whole new accessory with 'new' and old technology (most of it's technology is actually quite old but some of it's uses are new) that needs to be bundled with a game in order to sell well so you are looking at LEAST a 100-150$ investment. If you look at it from the cost respective (depending on implementation) you could see an influx of Casual Gamers on the PS3 quicker and in greater numbers than in the 360. The 360 may have a larger Market share (though it is losing ground to the PS3, and cannot even begin to compare to the Wii), but the cost and general implications of having another accessory to find a spot for and connect to a system with an absurdly limited number of connections will prevent NATAL from making too big of an impact, right away at least. What I mean by "absurdly limited number of connections" is that the 360 only has 3 USB ports, one of which is used by the Wireless Adapter, and the default controller is wired as opposed to wireless which means that's at least one USB port gone. For prove of this (and to get a sense of the challenges involved for NATAL), go look at the history of Sony's EyeToy accessories.

Still, casual gaming will continue to grow and large publishing houses (like EA), as well as developers, will start to and continue to give increased weight to the creation, marketing, and sale of 'casual' games for at least several cycles. So anywhere from a few quarters to a few years there may be an increased presence in casual games and/or traditionally hardcore games with a casual streak and a decreased presence in traditional/hardcore games, but in the end the market will be burnt out, over-spent, and tapped out. The markets will eventually equalize and traditional gaming will most likely make a full come back as even more people come into the fold, until then gamers should remain vigilant and continue to support there game of choice. It may be a sparse few years in the "traditional gaming" markets (especially the problem-ridden PC Markets) but in the end I don't think casual gaming can kill the traditional/hardcore games.
« Last Edit: February 15, 2010, 06:47:57 am by Doomsday »
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Re: Are "hardcore" games a dying breed?
« Reply #34 on: February 15, 2010, 07:37:46 am »
Eh, whatever. There's still enough games out there to satisfy me, and no-one's going to take away the games I already own.
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Re: Are "hardcore" games a dying breed?
« Reply #35 on: February 15, 2010, 07:44:45 am »
Personally, a RPG-T/FPS-RTS hybrid would be the most awesome game ever (especially set in a semi-modern fictional/Sci-Fi universe). The few games that have tried have been Medieval Fantasy-styled games (SpellForce, for example).

You might like Battlezone 2: Combat Commander.
It doesn't really have any RPG aspects though, besides choosing a custom weapon load out from the armory building, but its a really good vehicle based FPS/RTS.
I still play it every now and again with my friends at LAN parties.

Also, has anyone else ever played it? I get the feeling I am the only one that knows of its existence.
« Last Edit: February 15, 2010, 08:56:33 am by Skyward »
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Re: Are "hardcore" games a dying breed?
« Reply #36 on: February 15, 2010, 01:14:59 pm »
Good points, but can your last comment be confirmed? I always thought the "big bucks" were certainly a part of getting into the industry. Then again, I've known plenty (myself included) who've wanted to get into the industry to make fun games as well. I'm not sure my type actually gets in though, so I'm asking. I don't know the psychology inherent in most game developers, so not a rhetorical question.

The average salery of a game developer is about $55,000.  Hardly enough to entice those who only want a high paying job.
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Offline Kregaaron

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Re: Are "hardcore" games a dying breed?
« Reply #37 on: February 15, 2010, 08:02:36 pm »
Good points, but can your last comment be confirmed? I always thought the "big bucks" were certainly a part of getting into the industry. Then again, I've known plenty (myself included) who've wanted to get into the industry to make fun games as well. I'm not sure my type actually gets in though, so I'm asking. I don't know the psychology inherent in most game developers, so not a rhetorical question.

The average salery of a game developer is about $55,000.  Hardly enough to entice those who only want a high paying job.

Wow, I thought game developers made much more than that on average. Point well taken then.

Apparently though, the "developers" will be going where the "money" is, and it's all in facebook style games. Gaming Steve linked to this article and says on his twitter (unsure how many of you guys follow it) "this is happening right now".
« Last Edit: February 16, 2010, 08:55:32 pm by Kregaaron »

Offline Kregaaron

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Re: Are "hardcore" games a dying breed?
« Reply #38 on: February 15, 2010, 08:06:17 pm »
PC gaming will always remain hardcore
Phew, I was almost worried about all of this. Almost.

I disagree with Gorman's sentiment. PC Gaming is the genre most at risk. PC Game Sales, especially quality PC Titles in general, have been sliding down the tubes for years. "Casual" Gaming is also easier on computers because so many people have computers (almost as a necessity anymore), where as only the 'hip'/hardcore delve into Console Gaming (with the Wii being the exception), though there has been increasing market share and ease of use/availability in the Console Market (it probably outstrips PC gaming by a fair amount). Casual gaming has a ton more market penetration in the PC Market over any other market. High system requirements and the costs of upgrading/building a PC every 3-4 years ensures that the PC Gaming Market stays "pure" and hardcore as far as traditional gamers go, but low system requirements, low cost, and a large market of 'potentials' makes casual PC gaming a threat to the more traditional/hardcore PC gamer. Even if that threat is mostly over-hype.

Good points, but can your last comment be confirmed? I always thought the "big bucks" were certainly a part of getting into the industry. Then again, I've known plenty (myself included) who've wanted to get into the industry to make fun games as well. I'm not sure my type actually gets in though, so I'm asking. I don't know the psychology inherent in most game developers, so not a rhetorical question.

CEOs, company presidents, shareholders, and executive boards care about money first. Most of the people who actually work on the game (the actual game developers rather than the companies they work for/who publish them) care about making a game that is fun, accessible, and that is good. There is a concern about money, and whether the game will return it's investment and do well (it's a business after all). But from what I've seen from interviews with game developers, there is a emphasis on making a game that is good, fun and that they themselves would want to play. There is always the distinct presence of "will this make money?" when talking about game development. Someone could make an awesome, dynamic, deep, story-driven RPG-RTS hybrid with unique gameplay elements, but unless the markets are there for it to return the investment costs of developing the game it won't get made.

Personally, a RPG-T/FPS-RTS hybrid would be the most awesome game ever (especially set in a semi-modern fictional/Sci-Fi universe). The few games that have tried have been Medieval Fantasy-styled games (SpellForce, for example).

Anyway, back on topic. Casual Gaming will continue to have deep market penetration and the PS3 may be more at threat of skewing towards the casual end of things instead of the 360. My reasoning behind this is that a controller is much cheaper to buy, and far easier to use/setup than Microsoft's Project NATAL. A motion-control on the PS3 should only be about the cost of a normal controller (between 39-49 dollars), where as Project NATAL is a whole new accessory with 'new' and old technology (most of it's technology is actually quite old but some of it's uses are new) that needs to be bundled with a game in order to sell well so you are looking at LEAST a 100-150$ investment. If you look at it from the cost respective (depending on implementation) you could see an influx of Casual Gamers on the PS3 quicker and in greater numbers than in the 360. The 360 may have a larger Market share (though it is losing ground to the PS3, and cannot even begin to compare to the Wii), but the cost and general implications of having another accessory to find a spot for and connect to a system with an absurdly limited number of connections will prevent NATAL from making too big of an impact, right away at least. What I mean by "absurdly limited number of connections" is that the 360 only has 3 USB ports, one of which is used by the Wireless Adapter, and the default controller is wired as opposed to wireless which means that's at least one USB port gone. For prove of this (and to get a sense of the challenges involved for NATAL), go look at the history of Sony's EyeToy accessories.

Still, casual gaming will continue to grow and large publishing houses (like EA), as well as developers, will start to and continue to give increased weight to the creation, marketing, and sale of 'casual' games for at least several cycles. So anywhere from a few quarters to a few years there may be an increased presence in casual games and/or traditionally hardcore games with a casual streak and a decreased presence in traditional/hardcore games, but in the end the market will be burnt out, over-spent, and tapped out. The markets will eventually equalize and traditional gaming will most likely make a full come back as even more people come into the fold, until then gamers should remain vigilant and continue to support there game of choice. It may be a sparse few years in the "traditional gaming" markets (especially the problem-ridden PC Markets) but in the end I don't think casual gaming can kill the traditional/hardcore games.

Very interesting post. I don't have any refutation myself really, since I predict the same thing will happen as well. Still, want to get all sides of the issue...  :P

Offline Doomsday

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Re: Are "hardcore" games a dying breed?
« Reply #39 on: February 15, 2010, 09:17:40 pm »
Most people TL;DR me or blanket dismiss/ignore me, so I didn't expect a full rebuttal or refutation. :-p
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Offline Kregaaron

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Re: Are "hardcore" games a dying breed?
« Reply #40 on: February 15, 2010, 09:27:39 pm »
Most people TL;DR me or blanket dismiss/ignore me, so I didn't expect a full rebuttal or refutation. :-p

Haha, well I was serious in that I agree with you. I seriously doubt "farmville" will actually take over the industry, or facebook games period. I do think though, at least for a while, as you put it, casual games will certainly take a front seat in the industry (maybe even permanently).

Worst comes to worse, more complex or "hardcore" games will have their own Lars von Trier, who, just in case you don't know, established a foundation for the "Preservation of Elitist Films" or something like that. Their purpose is to preserve movies as they were intended before they went mass-marked. Those movies that receive critical acclaim, but will never be blockbusters. Simply because most people don't get them. It goes without saying that they don't do it for the money. They do it because they love making movies. They love pushing the boundaries, they love pushing themselves to be better and they don't really care about what you want from a movie. They do it for themselves or to make a statement. I can see the same happening with gaming *if* the mainstream market completely betrays that style of game.
« Last Edit: February 15, 2010, 09:30:18 pm by Kregaaron »

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Re: Are "hardcore" games a dying breed?
« Reply #41 on: February 16, 2010, 03:11:33 pm »
Meh, people like me who want to go into the business and like games will continue to make fun, deep games. I imagine most in the game business like good games, like most in the movie business like good movies. Like in the movie business, there has been, and always will be tripe made for the masses of people who don't know any better, yet every year there are many fantastic movies made - but here's the rub - the gaming business is even bigger. So, I don't see the flow of great games stopping up any time soon, and we aren't, under any circumstance, in danger of it.

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Re: Are "hardcore" games a dying breed?
« Reply #42 on: February 17, 2010, 03:16:18 am »
Not to skip over the majority of posts in this thread, but I'm going to skip over the majority of posts in this thread.

First off, my personal believs on the differences between the two game archetypes.

Casual games are games with limited time commitment.  Things like FarmVille or Bejewled, where after five minutes you understand everything there is to know about the game.  Casual games usually have no storyline, but if they do then the story or setting has little to do with the game itself.  You could remove all the story parts of a casual game and the experience would be the exact same.  Casual games are designed for people who want to put as little time as possible into a title to get their enjoyment out of it.

Hardcore games are designed for those who want more bang for their buck.  These games, like GTA IV, Modern Warfare 2 or Halo 3, often take on more serious themes since their stories play a bigger role in the game and often affect the core mechanics.  Hardcore games offer much more than a single activity, unlike casual games that will have you doing the same thing over and over again.  Hardcore games also feature a longer playtime, usually with bonuses to unlock along the way so that you still have something to do after you reach that final level.  Hardcore games also feature increasing difficulty, something rare to find in a casual game.  All in all, the thing that gives a hardcore game it's namesake is depth, that there's more to the game than what you do in the first few minutes of play.  To use the adage, they're easy to learn (sometimes) but hard to master.

As for the question of one of them gaining advantage, let me first say that hardcore games are NOT dying out.  As a matter of fact, they just might be getting bigger and bigger.  However, they might seem like they're getting smaller only because of the rapid expansion rate of the casual market.  Due to social sites like facebook, not to mention the power of phone games, gaming in general has hit a much wider audience.  Casual games have hit a wider market of appeal, especially since the majority exist on devices a person would own anyways such as a phone or a PC.  Someone new to gaming would play something on a gadget they already own compared to buying a console.

That's another reason why casual games are expanding, many of them are free to play.  Let's call them the 'gateway games', that means Facebook games, free iPhone apps, flash stuff, social sites like Whirled or Gaia Online, etc.  These games are the things that EVERYBODY's tried, everyone's played one of these games at some point.  Whether it's seeing what Mafia Wars is all about, an old friend sends you a referral link to Whirled, or you're just the kind of person who hangs out on Newgrounds, you've tried it.  In fact, the level of accessibility that casual games have today is the main reason why the industry is growing.  The more people that try it, the more people like it.

Now, just because people are getting lured in by the gateway games doesn't mean that they'll stay there.  It's a fairly long process, mind you, but many who start out with simple facebook apps will see a post a friend on FB made about a game they're playing, maybe an MMO.  In the same way that they were hooked by the gateway, they'll be lured into trying the game out with their buddy.  After all, how hard could it be?

Much of the people switching over will try that game and hate it, not understanding anything that goes on and they'll decide to stick to their gateway games.  A few, however, will enjoy the experience so much that they'll denounce the game to be purely amazing, continuing to play not only that but many other games as well.  Instant hardcore gamer.

The ones that didn't like the hardcore game?  Maybe it just isn't the right genre.  Often they'll repeat the cycle, succumbing to peer pressure and trying another hardcore title.  If they do, they do.  If not, that's probably it for them.  Either way, because of the accessibility of casual games more people will try out more hardcore games, thus insuring that hardcore games aren't losing anything in the deal.  If anything is hurting the hardcore market, it's the multiplayer aspect of games that causes many to buy only one or two titles a year where otherwise they'd buy five to ten.  Multiplayer gaming increases the life of a game so much that it's hardly necessary for the average gamer to own more than a few titles at a time.  However, it's by the same token that more people are buying games BECAUSE of the social aspect.

In conclusion, hardcore games aren't going anywhere too soon.  If anything, casual games form one giant ad campaign for the hardcore market.  They give a wide demographic a small taste of something bigger, much like a commercial for a movie.  If they like what they see, they become eager for more.

Offline GrapeFruit

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Re: Are "hardcore" games a dying breed?
« Reply #43 on: April 26, 2010, 03:10:17 pm »
The problem I have with all this is, that the so called casual games attract more players, be it hardcore or casual, to consoles. That's not a bad thing, however this also affects PC games, because: A) It's a logical step for a dev to release a game on as many platforms as possible. So PC gamers have to deal with games adapted to consoles (that seldom works out). B) a lot of games are getting watered down to appeal to not-so-hardcore gamers. Everything seems to be getting simpler so even the dumbest player can eventually figure it out. A lot of games don't need as much skill anymore. For example dying (as has been mentioned before here, I think) has hardly any repercussions anymore. You just wake up at the next safehouse or whatnot.
When I think back to Resident Evil 2 on my beloved N64... it was freaking hard (at my age back then, damn I was scared sh*tless at times). The puzzles were actually puzzels, there were no floating blinking arrows showing you where to go or what to do next, not just "Press this button then this one and you win".
It would be interesting to see what happend if you released a genuinely good game as difficult as Battle Toads was to the whole gamerkind. (My guess: Except for the real gamers you'll hear "booohooo, i can't get past level 2, this game sucks")
Also, games like Farmville have nothing to do with skill, just patience. It's grinding at it's purest.
« Last Edit: April 26, 2010, 03:19:55 pm by GrapeFruit »
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Offline /lurk

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Re: Are "hardcore" games a dying breed?
« Reply #44 on: May 28, 2010, 04:41:46 pm »
STATEMENT: If a game is as difficult as Battletoads, then it's not 'genuinely good.'

CONTROVERSIAL STATEMENT: There is no such thing as a "hardcore game" and there never was.
« Last Edit: May 28, 2010, 04:46:20 pm by /lurk »
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Re: Are "hardcore" games a dying breed?
« Reply #45 on: May 29, 2010, 05:53:40 am »
I agree! Hardcore gaming just seems to be any game a 14 year old wouldn't be embarrassed to admit he likes.
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