Monthly Archives: January 2012
We both know that I like video games, and you like video games, but who else is in good company with us? The video game demographic breakdown is probably pretty different than what you think.
(Most of these bullet points are from a Wikipedia snapshot of a 2011 summary by the Entertainment Software Association (ESA) based on a study of almost 1,200 American households. I’ll tell when infor is from another source.)
- The average gamer is 37 years old and has been playing for 12 years. Eighty-two percent of gamers are 18 years of age or older.
- Forty-two percent of all players are women and women over 18 years of age are one of the industry’s fastest growing demographics.
- Twenty-nine percent of game players are over the age of 50, an increase from nine percent in 1999.
- Sixty-five percent of gamers play games with other gamers in person.
- Fifty-five percent of gamers play games on their phones or handheld device.
Check out this WHOA! Fact: Today, adult women represent a greater portion of the game-playing population (37 percent) than boys age 17 or younger (13 percent).
Not Everyone believes it:
Let’s take a quick look at the breakdown of percent of gamers by race:
Clearly video game demographics are very different in reality than the “young, single, white or Asian male only” stereotype that is in most people’s minds.
Now developers just have to develop games and characters that reflect these more varied demographics.
Video games have come a long way since their inception and have evolved into many very different types of games and experiences that attract a wide range of people. I’m excited that we are all gamers. It’s about time that we all welcome and embrace each other for who we really are.
Hardcore gamer. Casual Gamer: two terms that seems to be on every developer, marketer, and even gamer’s tongue as of late.
Hardcore gamer: a gamer (usually teenager to late 30’s male) likes games that:
- are competitive
- require skill
- have strategy
- may be difficult to master.
- Probably everyone that would read my blog
Casual gamer: (usually everyone else: girls middle-aged women, grandparents) like games that:
- require little to no time to master
- require little thought or strategy
- little time commitment
- include fuzzy, little, perpetually baby animals
Nintendo realized back in 2006 with the launch of the Wii that hardcore gamers are great, but getting money from every other demographic is even better. Recently Microsoft and Sony have tried to jump on this bandwagon as well with the Kinect and Move software respectively.
As more and more casual games are being made made, many hardcore gamers fear that more games are being streamlined to attract a larger audience.
“THE END IS NIGH!” they cry, “Games, aren’t as hard!” It’s difficult to argue that point when someone straps you into a chair and forces you to play an excruciating level of Mega Man after a gaming session of Uncharted convinced you that video games are interactive movies.
Calm down, my hardcore brethren. There is certainly hope for us on the horizon. I think the that both casual gaming and hardcore gaming will coexist, not replace one another. I actually think that developers are reacting to hardcore gamers being frustrated at the more easy difficulty of games and the casual nature of some titles. Just look at these few keys points:
1. Most games come with the option to play a significantly harder difficulty that than the normal difficulty
Great, Logan, you say, but that’s just bumping up difficulty not changing game mechanics to be richer and more difficult. Aha! Look no further than my next point.
2. Some newer titles are coming with built in hardcore modes
Games such as Fallout: New Vegas have been released with a mode that changes some of the core mechanics of the game or tags on new elements to make the game more challenging. In New Vegas, enabling hardcore mode made it more difficult for the player to heal, gave weight to items like bullets that previously had none, and added the extra requirements that the gamer to eat, sleep, and drink in the game to survive.
This is a great step in a direction that is more appealing to the hardest of hardcore gamers without alienating more casual players. Personally, I’ve never played New Vegas on any mode but hardcore (because I am a masochist with too much time on his hands).
Even better, new titles like BioShock Infinite want to enable hardcore modes that change how the gamer experiences the game. The hardcore mode is known as 1999 mode after the year System Shock, Bioshock’s spiritual predecessor, came out. System Shock was also notoriously difficult. The 1999 mode of BioShock Infinite forces players to specialize in weapons rather than be instantly proficient in all of them like in the normal difficulty.
Each fight is said to be much more of an adrenaline rush because resources will be so scarce. The mode is considered to be so much harder to beat than the normal difficulty that the the lead developer said that he believes only three to ten percent of players will complete the game on the difficulty. Sounds like a challenge to me. Developers hear your compliant that games are too easy. They will make them harder if they want to attract you to play it.
3. Hard games are still around
I would argue that some developers are almost getting too good at making hard games. For every Cooking Momma there is a Starcraft 2 or Total War: Shogun 2. Do you remember how long the last round of Shogun 2 took you? Let me remind you; you looked great after losing those 10 pounds. For every Black Eyed Peas game there is a Dark Souls, a Super Meat Boy, a Devil May Cry 3. Hard games ironically aren’t that hard to come by if you really look for them.
Okay, fine… So some games resist the casual curse, but what about the monster that started it all?: Nintendo
3. The Wii U wants hardcore gamers
You read that correctly. The Wii U wants to attract more hardcore gamers. We are the gamers that are in for the long haul, not just to buy two games ever and play them five times a year. As Nintendo has lost nearly 10% of the market share in the past year alone, Microsoft and Playstation have slowly be steadily grown in the market share. Nintendo is still the king, but they know that they need a new strategy.
Kinect and Move are stealing some of their precious casual demographic, while their games attract virtually no hardcore gamers. This means that Nintendo is almost incapable of currently swaying the core fans of Microsoft or Sony to their side.
Now aware of this issue, the Wii U promises to offer more hardcore experience games and the type of improved HD software to attract hardcore game developers.
So there you have it. We, hardcore gamers aren’t as forgotten as you think. In fact, we’re really important to developers of both games and hardware. Sony’s newest ad campaign is staunchly about how they cater to the hardcore gamer. Nintendo wants to win us back. Xbox still has Skyrim.
So let’s cool our jets. For the foreseeable future, it looks like it will be easy to play hard games.
Hello, world; Logan Lampton here, but you can just call me Logan: or the Gamer Guy: or That One Guy That Rants. I shall call you, Dear Reader. Nice to meet ya.
Now that we have exchanged niceities, you are probably wondering why You are reading this blog (or even the previous paragraph for that matter.) Short answer: me. Long answer: keeping up to date on the going ons in the video game industry with the added bonus of keeping up to date on gaming at my dear University, Purdue. Purdue is located in Indiana. You know, in that spot in-between New York and L.A. We’ll just call it Chicago if that makes You feel more comfortable.
So there You go. Now you know a little bit more about me; I’m a simple, cornfed student who is absolutely crazy about the gaming industry. I probably check ign, 1up, Gamespot, Gameinformer, and all the other dark back alleys of video game knowledge more often than you check your facebook. So don’t get all bogged down by having to check all of those sites yourself. I’ll do it for you and share the juicy stuff from each source.
Of course I suggest checking those great resources to your heart’s content, but then You would be missing out hearing information from little ol’ me. (At least until I am on their payroll.)
Seriously, we are going to have so much fun, You and I, Dear Reader. Sit back, relax, and learn about video games at home (if You go to Purdue) and abroad.
Our adventures into the video game industry will begin soon. In the meantime enjoy this video of dangerous cats endorsing the iPad video game “Game for Cats.”
“I am mildly amused by this product,” -Simba