View Full Version : Why "Casual" games aren't selling and the Wii plan of disruption

le geek
06-13-2008, 08:58 AM

This is a really good article, about why most 3rd party "Casual" games on the Wii aren't selling, and also about Nintendo's long term plans.

It would seem that the Wii will not be a fad and that Sony and Microsoft should be more worried than they are... Who knows what the future will bring though...

What do you think of the article?


P.S. I play 360 more than the Wii, and I found Zelda Phantom Hourglass lacking...

06-13-2008, 09:03 AM
yeah well nintendo is definetly big on the whole casual thing. Its kind of cool cause it helps lessen people giving me shit for gaming cause now they do it to. But I dunno as a hardcore gamer I feel like I'm being abused by nintendo I mean they came out this week and said only otaku and geeks wanted more wii memory. I had a wii. I don't anymore and I don't really care. In my view MS and the 360 is the place to be and MS cares the most about gamers (they just need to work on hardware!) I hope this turns out to be a fad in alot of ways or else for me it could ruin things quite abit

06-13-2008, 09:17 AM
You can only take so much groping before you need more ;-)

Casual games are nice to pick up and play now and then, but eventually you're going to want to sit down to something a little more substantial.

le geek
06-13-2008, 09:24 AM
Actually Nintendo, is NOT big on the whole casual thing if the article is to be believed.

06-13-2008, 09:55 AM
ugh, that guy again. he pimps his website in every post remotely related to it on joystiq, kotaku, etc.

makes me not even want to read the articles. two of which i did read out of curiosity's sake.

basically a big nintendo wankfest. but a wankfest with lots of graphs.

06-13-2008, 11:14 AM
Frankly, I find the popular uses of "hardcore" and "casual" idiotic. In the end, they're really misnomers.

A game can't possibly be "hardcore" or "casual" any more than a car, TV show, movie, board game, etc. can be. Would someone consider Monopoly "hardcore" while Connect Four is "casual"? All games can be are "good" or "bad," "hard" or "easy," and "complex" or "simple." Presumably "hardcore" and "casual" are used in lieu of one or all of these sets. Which is interesting because in that case, a lot of niche games from NIS or the like fall into the "casual" category while something like Madden does not. I regularly get the impression that players who refer to games as "casual" arbitrarily use the term to describe any game they themselves would not like to play.

Likewise, when "hardcore" and "casual" are used to describe players themselves the terms are often misapplied. "Hardcore" and "casual" work when describing players but only really make sense when used to describe how much time/money/effort they put into the hobby. Someone who regularly puts money into the hobby and plays very often is presumably "hardcore" while someone who's an on and off take it or leave it gamer is "casual." Makes sense. But all too often people use the terms to describe the type of games a person plays. If someone plays Atlus games they are "hardcore" while if someone plays Madden they are "casual." This is a fallacy because a person who plays every sports game on the market is much more "hardcore" than someone who on and off plays Disgaea and nothing more.

In the end, I feel like the industry/constituency has to get the terminology straight before real value can come out of an analysis of anything related to the terms.

06-13-2008, 11:24 AM
I agree. The whole term "hardcore gamer" is a relatively new label and only came into vogue over the past couple of years. We weren't talking "hardcore" gaming during the relatively recent N64/PSX/Saturn days. Heck we didnt even talk about it during the Dreamcast/PS2 days really. What the fuck does it mean anyway? The answer is: It's just a bullshit label.

And of course now we got "casual" gaming. Another bullshit title. For all it's worth, the 2600 was full of casual titles.

The whole casual vs. "hardcore" gaming is so stupid it's amazing. Anyone starts talking about that to you, just laugh in their face :p

06-13-2008, 11:34 AM
I think it's the product of a "not on my turf" mentality.

Case in point: You ever been a fan of something before it was "cool" to be a fan? Like followed a band before they hit it big? Or watched a TV show before it really took off? Maybe not consciously but perhaps subconsciously the "old time fans" are resentful of the new fans because they have a sense of "Hey, I paid my dues. You guys just jumped on a bandwagon."

I actually felt a little like that when Spider-Man came out and all of a sudden everybody was buying comic books. It was like "Where will you be a year from now? Probably not buying comics anymore." I caught myself in the middle of it because I realized how selfish an attitude it is. I should be happy that maybe just one person would become a regular reader as a result of seeing the movie. And also happy that Marvel was making a nice profit. Same goes for Dragonball. I was into Dragonball long before Cartoon Network existed.

Here, perhaps, people who played games before G4 existed and before 100,000,000 people had PS2s are looking for a means of distinguishing themselves from the "new guys" who never actually held a controller before getting their copy of Grand Theft Auto III. It's a caricature, no doubt, but maybe that's how people feel inside.

Captain Wrong
06-13-2008, 12:27 PM
Way TLDR. And that style of writing, where someone tries to shoehorn a narritive and story line into an opinion piece, gives me a headache. Can someone summarize this for the short of attention span/short of patience for purple prose?

06-13-2008, 12:38 PM
I agree with most of the negative sentiments over the "casual/hardcore" labeling and general speculation in this article.

And, honestly, every time I read a gamer-directed editorial article touting the success of the Wii or speculation that "casual" gamers being brought into the fold of the current marketplace, I feel like ... who are they addressing and who's debating those points?

It's been two years. We know. Speculation is over. The Wii is going the route of the Gameboy family of systems and the DS, it's "won the hearts" of consumers worldwide, and that's ALL it needed/needs to do henceforth - simply keep the standard of quality up on 1st and strong 3rd party releases for the life of the system. Casual games and crap shovelware be damned, the Wii is here to stay.

These kind of articles are an unhealthy mix of speculation and mental masturbation.


06-13-2008, 12:45 PM
If you sell a product as towards "HARDCORE MOST EXTREME UB3R L337" gamers, you can jack up the price. All it is is just yet another marketing ploy. *cough*blast processing *cough*

06-13-2008, 02:41 PM
Similarly, I used to make a distinction between the labels hard rock, and heavy metal. Closer analysis revealed that I basically called rock that I liked hard rock, and rock that I didn't like heavy metal. So, Rush, Zeppelin, Boston, Zebra, were hard rock. Maiden, Scorpions, Molly Hatchet, were heavy metal.

Sounds to me like the terms hardcore/casual may be something along these lines.

06-13-2008, 03:11 PM
Can someone summarize this for the short of attention span/short of patience for purple prose?

-Companies making "casual games" are merely following a trend, and will all end up slaughtered, much like those who made Space Invaders/Mario/Street Fighter/Doom/GTA clones during their periods of popularity.

-These companies see "casual" as a synonym for "retarded" (a sentiment many on this board can agree with), and thus churn out crap imitations for the casual market. However, the casual market will recognize their games for what they are, and the "casual" games will sell poorly.

-There is no "casual" and "hardcore," but there is an "upmarket" and "downmarket." The upmarket can get into a game much easier, while the downmarket has more difficulty. Because of this, the upmarket desires complexity, while the downmarket desires simplicity. But, the downmarket eventually becomes more skilled and wants more complexity (moves up). Successful games and game series are made to accomodate this.

-There is no "casual explosion," the downmarket has been around forever, but it has been ignored for the past few years.

"What is described as a ‘casual game’ used to be the ‘bread and butter’ of the Game Industry not too many years ago."

-Nintendo is not targeting "casual" gamers, they are targeting the downmarket and trying to moved them upmarket. This will eventually cause Sony and Microsoft to lose their markets to Nintendo, leaving them with smaller and smaller niches of the hardcore.

"[Downmarket-focused] games like Brain Age and Nintendogs became huge hits which attracted new gamers. And these new gamers then swam upmarket to turn Mario Kart DS, New Super Mario Brothers, and Animal Crossing DS into huge hits... As the DS swam upstream, the uppermarket games that were coming on the PSP began to be stolen by the DS."
"The birdmen [fad-following companies] eventually understood the DS. They realized it wasn’t about making retarded games (what they nicely label ‘casual games’) but hitting different tiers. They could make a simple RPG or a puzzle game to satisfy those customers on that tier. They realized casual gaming does not necessarily mean passion-less gaming."

And that's about it.

le geek
06-13-2008, 03:21 PM
Thanks Cart Collector! That's what I should have posted to begin with...

06-13-2008, 03:50 PM
Gotta say I agree with the analysis expressed in the summary CartCollector posted.

Nick Goracke
06-13-2008, 05:21 PM
We weren't talking "hardcore" gaming during the relatively recent N64/PSX/Saturn days.

You must've been left out of the daily 3D vs. 2D debate.

Heck we didnt even talk about it during the Dreamcast/PS2 days really.

I'm pretty sure Dreamcast fans are still blaming the casuals for their system's demise.

It's certainly not a new concept.

06-13-2008, 05:41 PM
The article is an interesting read. I was surprised by the information provided in some of the linked source material (e.g. this nearly three year old Microsoft press release (http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/features/2005/jul05/07-19CasualGaming.mspx) on casual gaming).