For our first lesson back we had a class debate on the difference between the terms casual and hardcore in regards to games. As a class we broke down both terms in order to truly decipher which each term means in order to gain a better understanding so that we can really see the differences.
We concluded that a casual game is a game which involves little commitment, with no financial or time obligations that a player can simply just jump in and out of a game. We also noted that these kind of games tend to be extremely simple and built for most individuals to partake in as they require little skill to play. During my research I also found out these games have a low production and distribution cost for the producer so that money can be made easily for the producer. These games tend to be a little bit more expandable by the players purchasing in game collectables through micro transactions. The Escapist Magazine defined casual gamers as ‘Casual gamers could pick up a release anywhere from a few months to a few years after the release date, play leisurely in small groupings of time, and probably would pause the game to go grab dinner.’
Opposing this is the hardcore games which we defined as games which are pretty much the opposite of casual games. These are games that require a particular level of skill in order to complete a time consuming game. These games tend to be expandable with downloadable content and have a lot of in game collectables/achievements. Producers are willing to invest more money into ‘hardcore’ games as they know that the audience they are targeted for will buy them.
The interesting point within the class debate was if the term ‘hardcore’ and ‘casual’ was actually defined by the gamer rather than the game. There is no reason for why someone couldn’t simply join a ‘hardcore’ game such as Call of Duty but only play for 30 minutes which is a typical time allocation for a ‘casual’ game. Paul gave us the example of his daughter who has recently started playing Call of Duty but who will turn it off after several minutes. I found this idea more believable then defining the game itself as looking at most of these typical hardcore defined games, for example Halo, have short matches which will only last typically 30 to 45 minutes yet you can complete as many of these as you please which would suit a casual gamer. Halo also offers the campaign mode which takes several hours to complete although this mode is broken up so you can drop out at different points in the game yet save your place so you can re-join anytime. There is also nothing stopping an individual playing constant hours of flappy birds in order to gain the highest score to complete against his friends which is a large aspect of hardcore gaming.
We discussed if the platform made a difference to the hardcore or casual games in which the debate concluded that some games are better built for particular games. For example the Xbox 360 or PC have controllers with enough functionality to sustain high levels of player engagement needed for particular games such as Forza. In comparison, playing a game such as Forza on a Ipod or mobile phone could provide difficulty for the player and would engage with the game less causing the player to likely steer away from playing it on a hardcore level. Some games on the other hand are built for platforms such as mobile phones such as flappy birds or sonic dash as they are simplistic, require little control from the platform itself, and tend to be downloaded through an app store which makes them easy to obtain and play on a platform such as the mobile phone.