Hardcore gamers are ruining the game industry. While game sales are breaking many records, they are dependent on a large number of sequels. Instead of searching for innovation, the industry is being driven by a desire for the latest installments in flagship series ranging from games like Call of Duty to Guitar Hero.
More creative games such as Okami and Singularity attempt to break from this new trend, but they never sell as well as the blockbuster titles. Hardcore gamers want their hard-earned skills to transfer over from game to game so that when they pick up the newest sequel, they know what to expect as soon as they sit down to play.
Hardcore gamers tend to be distrusting of new products, and wait until their prices are radically slashed before even attempting them. This leads to poor sales for more unique games, with the quality of the game being completely ignored.
This isn’t to say that all innovative games are worth buying, but on the rare occasion that games are both creative and well made, they should receive the recognition that they deserve.
As a whole, the Nintendo Wii has been targeted at more casual gamers. From Wii Sports to Donkey Kong Country Returns, Nintendo has been shelling out games that appeal to a wider audience. Their marketing strategy is aimed at gamers of all ages, and has been widely successful with younger gamers in particular. Microsoft and Sony are trying to appeal to that same audience with the introduction of the Xbox Kinect and Playstation’s Move. This new focus on casual gamers has also taken away many of the preconceptions of gaming as an exclusively skill-intensive activity, and many Wii games are catered more toward nonchalant gamers.
Just Dance, Wii Fit, and Carnival Games have seen huge success because casual gamers bought them simply on the grounds that they looked fun to play. Portable gaming systems are more popular than ever before, with the Nintendo DS as the second best-selling video game console of all time.
The Nintendo Wii does have a small number of games that are geared towards more hardcore gamers, such as MadWorld and Bully, but they don’t have the same market appeal as their Xbox 360 and Playstation 3 relatives do. Neither one is a sequel to a well known franchise (although Bully is a direct spin off of Grand Theft Auto), and therefore have difficulties achieving widespread sales.
Now that these three systems have been around for over five years, the industry is overdue for a major overhaul.
With the massive increase in casual gamers, companies should aim at creating games that can bring together the two subsets of gamers instead of expanding the gap.
While the Nintendo DS is making great strides toward reaching both audiences with its games, the three main consoles need to make more games that aren’t just aimed at the hardcore gamer or the casual gamer. Bridging the gap between these two types of gamers will bring in a new era of gaming.