I've done many-a-blog about the meaning of "Hardcore" and "Casual" gamers before, but now, I have changed my opinion. I also believe that this opinion is absolutely, 100% un-biased and correct.
So, let's start.
First, the history of the terms "Hardcore" and "Casual" gamers. Beginning with the start of video games, there were people that played games a lot, and people that didn't play games that much. The former people became "Hardcore" gamers and the latter became "casual" gamers. Simple. Easy. Nothing to it.
Well, now that's changed.
Actually, these terms didn't really come back to life until the dawn of the 6th Gen. of gaming consoles (PS2, GCN, XBOX) when developers started asking themselves who their audiences were, and who would buy what games. This brought back the term into the gaming world, and now it seems to be all that matters.
O.K. Let's examine this.
First up is Nintendo (don't worry, un-biased opinions here). Nintendo now has a notorious reputation for always wanting to cater to the casual gamer. Many fans (or ex-fans) of the company believe it has turned its back on the hardcore gamers.
Next up, Microsoft. The boys over at Microsoft seem to want to jump in on the casual bandwagon with Nintendo (look at games like Lips and the upcoming project NATAL). However, the company is split between the hardcore fans (many of whom they would lose if they started what Nintendo's doing) and the families with many little children just starting to play games (do NOT let those kids touch Halo).
Sony is strictly hardcore. Not joking. The main reason is that the system was so damn expensive in the first place, and only the most hardcore of gamers would buy it. Sure, you've got 3rd party familiy support, but only those multi-platform games that every system has. Sony seems to be reaching out to the casual crowd though, with the Playstation Move on the way and the PS3Slim's lower price.
Why did I just re-state what everybody knows? It's to make a point. First off, it's all about the money. That just happens to be in the casual crowd at the moment. Think about it, compare the numbers, and you've got tons more casual gamers than hardcore gamers out there. Microsoft and Sony are realizing this, and Nintendo got a huge head start.
Not only this, but many 3rd parties have found huge profit in Nintendo's casual market. Take Carnival games, everybody on Gamespot knows the game is total crap and should not be bought for any means. However, that didn't stop it from selling tons of units at the market.
Oh, and let's not forget Wii Play. That game set a record for most time on the top 5 sellers of the month-18 months in a row.
You see, the developers have coined these terms. They made them up in order to further organize their own thinking. Now, however, it seems that gamers have taken the real meaning of these words and thrown them out the window. "Casual" seems to mean suck and being able to get a tactical nuke in Call of Duty and "Hardcore" seems to mean getting all of the achievements in the Orange Box (Don't even laugh at that one, there are 99 achievements!). I have not done either of these, and yet most people would call me a "hardcore" gamer.
Look, these terms do exist. But not in the way most people think.
Casual- A gamer who picks up a controller every now and then for a bit of fun, not looking for a long-term commitment, but looking for a short burst of electronic entertainment.
Hardcore- A gamer who only gets the best games on the market, one who pours much passion and time into these games. A gamer who looks for a game with long-lasting value.
And those are the definitions by the industry.
It's a bit obvious to see why the market is in the former of the two; it's much easier to please. So are we to blame Nintendo for excouraging it? No. Are we to blame Microsoft for trying to open up to it? No. We should respect their business decisions and allow things to take their course.
Plus, there will always be hardcore games out there. My icon is from one of them, FFXIII.
What's my opinion on this? The terms exist, no doubt, but I don't care either way. Like I said, there will always be that "next great game" to look forward to. I think that every gamer out there in this debate should just shut up and move on, because in the end, money is money.