GameStop: Casual gamers spurring hardcore holiday sales

Executives say game megaretailer is targeting nontraditional game consumers with in-store initiatives this year.

Between now and the end of the year, the gaming industry is poised to release a once-in-a-decade deluge of high-profile action adventures, shooters, and role-playing games that cater toward the enthusiast crowd. And while these titles will most certainly dent, if not bankrupt, the pocketbooks of many to the glee of publishers everywhere, they aren't what major retailers such as GameStop see as spurring growth for the estimated $13 billion industry.

Speaking to the New York Times, Daniel A. DeMatteo, vice chairman and chief operating officer of GameStop, and Bob McKenzie, GameStop's senior vice president for merchandising, indicated that the exponentially growing nontraditional gamer demographic is playing a far more significant role in the company's holiday strategy. Says DeMatteo, that's because "it is no longer only the hardcore gamer walking in who knows exactly what he wants."

Because of this, GameStop plans to devote several sections of its nearly 5,000 stores to the casual gamer crowd. The first of these sections will be devoted to rhythm games, anchored by Activision and RedOctane's Guitar Hero III and Electronic Arts and Harmonix's Rock Band. The other section foreign to frequenters of GameStop's retail outlets will be devoted to children's and family-friendly titles.

The GameStop execs also addressed how the individual consoles will fare during this holiday season. Unsurprisingly, the two expected Nintendo's Wii to quickly sell out due to the console's broad appeal. The two also projected strong sales of the Nintendo DS, which attracts a similarly wide range of audiences.

GameStop also expects the PlayStation 2 to continue to sell strongly through the holiday season. The reason for this, noted DeMatteo, is that the PS2 is the only "real value video game machine…especially since Microsoft gave up on the original Xbox and Nintendo gave up on the GameCube." Further, the exec predicted sales of the PS2 will remain robust, "if and when Sony lowers the price to $99."

McKenzie painted a rosy portrait of Microsoft's Xbox 360, as well. According to McKenzie the Xbox 360 has experienced anything but a backlash from the console's highly publicized hardware malfunctions. "We track our returns, and returns have actually gone down since they made that announcement," he noted. "We haven't seen any effect on enthusiasm for the 360."

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75 comments
cheaterking2
cheaterking2

Casual gaming will be the one thing that kills gaming if casual gaming flourishes we'll have 5 wario wares for every Zelda and then EVERYONE will be a "Gamer" and then there will be nothing but crap games that lasts like 3 hours and is basically a clone of Guitar Hero DDR or Kareoke Revolution THANK GOD FOR THE JAPANESE

Lasafrog
Lasafrog

Wii60 pushing ahead! Love it.

fax555241
fax555241

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

fax555241
fax555241

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

Humorguy_basic
Humorguy_basic

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

okassar
okassar

I don't really care about casual gaming because I actually like games that people can TRULY enjoy.Ofcourse,if Guitar Hero is considered casual,then that's the only casual game I liked,but I think it's pretty hardcore....other than that,I basically shun every game on the Nintendo Wii available right now except for Zelda.I enjoy GOOD hardcore games,which are basically all I buy and,with Xbox Live,they last a LONG time.I get what I pay for, but who's going to play Wario minigames for even two weeks?See what I mean?Gears of War on the other hand...I bought it when it came out and I still play it on Xbox Live every weekend.

buzzard31581
buzzard31581

Casual gaming to me doesn't mean that you play those kid and family titles or the games on the web. To me, casual could have a couple of meanings. First it could just mean that you don't play as often as others who may consider themselves hardcore. Casual gamers can still enjoy a good FPS or MMO. They just won't play as often. On the other had you have the type of casual player who plays games that most hardcore players wouldn't touch, such as games on particular websites or your family and kid friendly titles. That being said, just because you're a casual gamer doesn't mean that you're going to have a lower end PC or an older gaming console. Now, if you are going to be hardcore then those type of people almost always have the highest end components and machines. Maybe they should consider regrouping people into three separate categories besides casual and hardcore. I personally consider myself somewhere in the middle and don't feel that there should be a hard line between the two.

spoonthemoose
spoonthemoose

Yuko and everyone who is saying that hardcore PC games are only High-end specications, are totally wrong. have you ever heard of MOO3, hearts of iron, space empires and sword of the stars. if you have you would know that hardcore has nothing to do with high end comps. yes sometimes FPS are "hardcore" if they are high end but look at ET:QW its not high end but its def not for the casual player.

YukoAsho
YukoAsho

I don't know why Humorguy_basic has so many negative ratings. He's basically right: "hardcore" gaming, especially on the PC, is usually defined by high-end specifications, not by the depth of the game. Quite frankly, FPS games are the real "casual" titles. We gamers need to stop thinking only of graphics when we talk about "hardcore" titles. That being said, I don't expect the "casual" trend on the PC to translate to console games changing much. Not if the 360 and the PS3 stay around as long as expected. There's no need to update every other year.

HVPinc
HVPinc

Holy crap this is gonna be an epic year for game sales...

boobush
boobush

wazzup987, it's your word against receipts from stores, dumbass.

moondeep
moondeep

I believe Gamestop is making a lucrative move. I wouldn't be surprised if Best Buy follows suit and starts breaking their game offerings up into sections specifically for casual gamers. The whole idea of a 'casual' gamer is someone who doesn't want to or can't spend insane amounts of time playing games. They also thus don't want to spend large amounts of time sorting through the games that they might be interested in at the store. I'm a 30 yo casual gamer now, but 15 years ago I was a young hardcore gamer. However, these terms are NOT mutually exclusive, despite what you younguns seem to want to be true.

jammamamma
jammamamma

Causal gamers? Like physics causality... cause and effect? Casual, gentlemen! What a shameful typo.

wazzup987
wazzup987

sony is the true winner ps2 still sells like hot cakes xcrap no wii not even close

spoonthemoose
spoonthemoose

harrassee "i'd also like to add, that hardcore gamers were once casual gamers; this means that if the casual gamer pool expands, some of them will become hardcore gamers - meaning more games for everybody!" first off that is totally wrong. when i was growing up there was maybe a handful of "casual games" i.e. mario, sonic blah blah, but if you really wanted to get into the bread and butter of video gaming, especially PC gaming you had to go hardcore. now a days every one who these casual gamers, has no need to "advance" to the level of experienced players because the simple fact that publishers want to sell to a large less dedicated audience. its the same thing that has happened to Hollywood and the music industry and look at the sorry state they are in. they once were considered a great art form and now there nothing more then carbon copies of used up ideas.

ManOfTeal
ManOfTeal

I have multiple gamer personalities. I have a Wii to cater to the "casual" gamer in me. And I also have an Xbox 360 for the 'hardcore" gamer in me.

mr17x
mr17x

I read the article and they did give "hardcore gamers" some credit when they said that gamers are the bedrock of the business.

georgetkat
georgetkat

What's a "causal" gamer, Gamespot? The opposite of an "effectual" gamer, maybe? lol

Humorguy_basic
Humorguy_basic

This is not right in my opinion - we have 'knowledgeable' 'casual' gamers, because casual normally means 'for lower end PC's.'. As more and more 'hardcore' gamers get fed up or not able to afford all the constant upgrading of their PC, they either get more interested in retro PC gaming (increased enormously since DOSBox and the ebay retro section opening), or they start buying those games that will run on their low end PC's. By the same token, 'hardcore' games, are really about the fact they are ;high end PC' games - that's what, first and foremost, defines a 'hardcore' game to me. For example, Transport or Roller-Coaster Tycoon are quite sophisticated simulations that you can go quite deeply into if you want to, so it is not causal from the point of being a simple game. Therefore, the reason games like this ARE called casual is mostly about the lack of 3D graphics and the fact it does not need a high end PC. Therefore to me, casual means low end, hardcore mean high end PC requirements. Casual gaming is therefore gamers saying they are fed up with the constant upgrading required to stay 'hardcore'.

cybolt
cybolt

Surely "hardcore gamers" don't have as much money to spend on games, after all, the truly hardcore would spend all day playing rather than obtaining money through work! I play all types of games, whatever is the most fun for me in my spare time!

gonzalezj1
gonzalezj1

I think it's hilarious how everyone here hates "casual gamers". What a stupid thing to waste your time worrying about. Really, almost everyone is considered "casual" to someone. There's always going to be someone that's more "hardcore" than you. Get over it. Anyway, isn't everyone "casual" to begin with, eventually growing into "hardcore"?

PacoL250
PacoL250

@AvIdGaMeR444: :lol: "Causal" indeed. Reminds me of my college newspaper at times. I guess they forgot that spellcheck = win.

XYZVector
XYZVector

Sorry buckwheats but a game is a game.. There are better games, there are worse games. The WII game is just as valid as 360 or PS3 game. The WII has some great games. A hardcore gamer tries to experience every type, of game possible, on every platform hardcore gamer can afford. That is my opinon of what a hardcore is.

StolenVex
StolenVex

chainblast, expanding your market is always good. It also becomes quite necessary when you're a publicly traded company. You need to show increased profits and returns to be a popular stock option. -SV

sion1
sion1

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

Chainblast
Chainblast

So what's this obsession with growth anyway? Always wanting to enlarge, increase and make it bigger. Is the industry that fragile and insecure about its size? Is 13b too small?

Dr_Corndog
Dr_Corndog

This is good news. For anyone who worries that casual gaming will kill hardcore games, keep this in mind: just because the casual market is expanding doesn't mean the hardcore market is shrinking. There are just as many hardcore gamers now as there were before the Wii was released, and there will continue to be a hardcore demographic in the future. What this means is that now the game industry has another demographic to sell games to, to make money off of, another source of income which means a bigger game industry which means good times for all gamers.

SergeStorms
SergeStorms

Yet another story on casual versus hard core that does not really define what either are. I am casual in that I play games on easier levels and only play a limited time but like many shooters, rpg's and the like. I am older like a casual but take great interest in the business like hard core. I am currently playing Neverwinter Nights 2 and Insane Aquarium by PopCap. Why can't people just admit the industry as a whole is broadening continuously and that most people will fall somewhere in there. I welcome more non violent games but also love involved ones.

EDOG
EDOG

To be honest the Wii still has a high ass potential, developers arent even pushing Wii Visual to the max yet and they still can get the controlls better in the future!

jacob-goodlich
jacob-goodlich

i love what they re saying and hate what they re saying at the same time, but if they interfear with our games especially grand theft auto 4, then this will be war!

comthitnuong
comthitnuong

Well with so many people with a Wii now...I can see a lot of sales coming from them. But I can still see many coming from the mainstream and hardcore gamers.

ZuluKnight
ZuluKnight

@ Sam_Lowery I can speak from experience that that's not true. The very same man that buys nothing but Madden every year, won the Madden Challenge in 2005. So, that doesn't conclude anything about casual gamers.

Pete5506
Pete5506

ok....So what if they don't play GH3?

Sam_Lowery
Sam_Lowery

"GameStop plans to devote several sections of its nearly 5,000 stores to the casual gamer crowd" . Yea, because casual gamers are always going into Gamestop to browse around. ;) And since when is Guitar Hero a casual game? I'd say that casual gamers are the guys that buy madden every year and nothing else.

ZuluKnight
ZuluKnight

I love how none of the commenters here really pay attention to what they're saying. They're not saying that "Casual Gamers" are going to take over the market. They're saying that they're going to give some Casual Gamers attention. All of you sound like the Video Game Father's Selfish, Jealous First Born Son. Just because the Gaming Family is paying attention to the new kid on the block, you're all up in arms. I'd like one person to say that the Guitar Hero/Rock Band (I combine them because they're pretty much from the same loins) has done anything but improve, despite the fact that most of you fanboys feel Guitar Hero is a Guitar Freaks rip-off. I'm sorry, most people don't want to play a bunch of japanese songs they can't understand, which is why stateside most of those games tanked. Great concept, shi-ite content. Now, as far as your casual gamer bashing goes, they're getting some attention, so what? We're still getting our Halo 3 that we're going to destroy to death, Call of Duty 4, Assassin's Creed and God knows what else. Let them rock out and play their family oriented games and whatever else they want to do. We got ours. And we're going to keep getting ours.

DuaneDog
DuaneDog

I"m not just not sure I buy the labels they are using. A guy goes out and buys an Xbox 360, Guitar Hero 2, the dance pad and music stuff.. that makes him casual? I know two guys with Guitar Hero 2 and they are certainly not casual gamers. One of the guys wives was down right pissed that he keeps buying tons of crap because he's such a gaming freak. Anyone willing to spend nearly $100 for a game with a fancy controller = not casual unless that is the only game they are buying.

jtvbetta
jtvbetta

My opinion on casual games: mediocre, half-baked, and glitch-filled, which these 'casual' gamers don't seem to mind or notice. That's the reason why it's bad for the hardcore gamers, the developers aren't stepping-up, but instead are setting the bar lower that us hardcores have come to appreciate. We all lose in this situation, more crappy games would invade the store shelves!

joestuart
joestuart

OR, instead of making stuff like Guitar Hero (which I find too easy and unrealistic. "Oh look at me, I'm emo and play Guitar hero so I must know how to play guitar now!") maybe the game companies should just make stuff that EVERYONE will like, or will hit a note with "both sides." What they should do is instead of catering to Casual gamers, they should focus the market on turning the casual into hardcore, so they're more likely to buy a larger number of products.

BoogieManZero
BoogieManZero

I will admit it sucks about the 360 having problems, but as long as I'm not effected I don't really care. My 360 did go down the crapper once, but I bought the warranty...which I would do for any purchase more than $50(providing the warranty price is fair). The Wii doesn't interest me at all...the whole two hours I'd play on it I can do at a friends house...the Ps3 has potential but hasn't been tapped yet so I'm avoiding it as well. I suppose though I will buy another console next year...it will probably be the Ps3.

IpodHero176
IpodHero176

I agree with you Vass. They just play games because their friends told them to. We, hardcore gamers, are spurring the industry, not casual gamers.

WarGameJunkie
WarGameJunkie

This has got to be some kind of joke. Casual gamers driving the market? Please. Doesn't Gamestop know how to read their own sales numbers? Obviously not. The attach rate (for those casual gamers here, that's the number of games purchased for a console by a gamer) is less for the Wii than the 360 or PS3. I haven't touched my Wii except to play downloaded VC games since the day I bought it. Holy X--According to market research the biggest segment of gamers is 38 and been playing games for at least 12 years. THAT is the segment of gamers that counts and everybody but Nintendo knows it. This "casual gamers" fad will dry up by mid to late 2008 when Nintendo finally decides to "fix" their self created Wii shortage.

vass86
vass86

why do casual gamers mainly play simple games that don't take much thought? at first i thought that casual meant someone who doesn't play games often but it's becoming more and more obvious that they play shallow games. which is why the wii is doing so well. however when people leave their playstations 2's behind and get next gen consoles we will see a huge rise in xbox 360's and ps3's sold

AnFangs_Endes
AnFangs_Endes

"it is no longer only the hardcore gamer walking in who knows exactly what he wants." I just got un-easy when I read that part; something just isn't quite right about it ... I get the feeling that they may plan to continue unloading shovel-ware on causal's! Oh the humanity---oh wait they buy it anyways..