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It is a little hard to define exactly what a casual gamer is. This is mainly due to the difficulty in pinning down where on the scale of “hardcore” does the casual gamer cut-off point exist. By the hardcore scale, we mean the scale that goes from “completely disinterested” to “24 hour gamer”. Obviously someone who is completely disinterested in gaming to begin with can’t even be classed as a gamer. In contrast, we can hardly call someone who lives and breaths gaming a casual gamer, now can we?
For the sake of convenience and ease of discussion, we have opted to class the casual gamer as someone who maybe plays some games sometimes. It’s safe to say that it would be highly unusual for a casual gamer to read an article such as this, because they would not be interested in games as an industry or topic, merely the medium of entertainment. Here at Honey’s we like to be thorough in our investigations and debates. Hence, we will try to look at casual gamers from a few perspectives, whether positive or negative.
Needless to say from the subtitle above, is that this particular section will try to explore the more negative perspectives on casual gamers. Throughout this article, we will use the term casual gamer in a very neutral tone, merely denoting it as a term to describe a group of people. However, for some hardcore elitists, casual gamer has the same meaning as casual scum. Why? It doesn’t really make sense to exclude a group of people simply because they like something less than you, right? Right, there’s nothing sensible about it but people do it anyway.
Why should we include these people into our gaming society? We’ve spent hours dying in Dark Souls to get past the boss, lived through the Reaper invasion of Mass Effect and saved the world as a Dovahkiin. What have these group of casual scum done? Oh right, they just buy the newest edition of Madden once a year to play fantasy football. What’s that? Those casual scum like that one game in particular too? Oh it’s because it’s an easily accessible game! Well, that makes that game a casual scum game!
Or maybe we could just leave those guys alone. It really doesn’t matter how they relate to the ones who dedicate more of themselves to gaming in general. If they want to remain at that level of gamer and only play a couple of games, how does that hurt anyone in particular? Having someone on the other side of the world play a few games here and there will not affect your enjoyment of the medium. Your RPG character will not suffer a -20 in his HP just because someone doesn’t like a game as much as you. Don’t spread the hate. If they like games, doesn’t it just make the industry better? Better industry usually means better games you know?
Benefits of having Casual Gamers
Gaming used to be this super wide spread thing that everyone could talk about. After all, everyone knows that kids could just go on down to the arcade and pop a few quarters. It wasn’t as insular as it is right now. Over the years, as gaming got more and more restricted to online play, it became isolated within the gaming industry itself. Of course, it has gotten better over the years, but gaming has still remained a very “inside” thing for many. This has many similarities to other geek type fandoms, including anime.
In the anime hemisphere, it is very common for literally everyone to dogpile on Sword Art Online because of their own personal dislike of it. However, the one reason that many fans cite for their hatred of the anime is how popular it is….with people who have never watched anime before. Just like how many people can name Pikachu as a Pokemon when asked, there are equally many who will state Sword Art Online when asked to name an anime. Why hate on them, though? If they like what they see, and they decide to try out other anime, wouldn’t we have gained a fellow fan to join our ranks? If they decide that’s that, at least they walk away knowing just a bit more about the one thing we love above all else.
Similarly, the games industry can be said to be accessible in such a manner as well. Not all games are made for those who have never touched a game in their life, even with a difficulty setting. No one expects an inexperienced player to just jump right into Dragon Age as their first game. We try to introduce them to something easier and easily understood first. So yes, there are games that “encourage” the “casual scum” to pick them up more than others, but more exposure can only be a good thing at the end of the day for the industry as a whole.
Love at first sight is a lie. It is merely the hormonal discharge by your body to signal a viable mate. All you really feel is lust at the very moment. You have yet to feel any form of love for that particular person. It is only when you have spent some time with them, discovered your chemistry, their likes and dislikes, and developed the relationship that you start to find yourself in love with them. Love always takes time, and it always takes a lot of effort to nurture and create. However, when it blooms, it doesn’t take much to keep the fire going.
Now you might be confused about the sudden bit of love advice, but hobbies are like people in this scenario. It is highly unlikely that you just saw gaming as a thing and decided, “Yes, I love gaming and I am a hardcore gamer 4lyfe!”. It is through your many experiences with the characters, fun mechanics and the memories you’ve developed about your time as a gamer that causes you to hold this hobby so dear to your heart. This is a love that has been nurtured and created through time and effort.
Every casual gamer is just a hardcore gamer in the making. Right now they’re being just a little flirty and gaming is easy on the eyes for them. However, through some time and effort, they could really come to love gaming. As their pal, you want to give them a teensy push to let them find the happiness they deserve. Maybe after some time, you’ll find that they’ve fallen in love gaming. At this point, you’ll have gained someone else to chatter about games to. Remember, we were all casual gamers once. It was only through so many experiences and time that we’ve come where we are today. Give them a chance.
It’s Just Economics
The cost of gaming has skyrocketed throughout the years. The heavier emphasis on graphics, voice acting and many other components of games has lead to higher development costs as teams get larger and larger to create worlds for us to immerse ourselves in. This has lead to game companies being extremely profit driven, and it’s hard to blame them. At the end of the day, games are expensive to make and the money has to come from somewhere.
It’s not a great thing for gamers though. Prices of games have only gotten higher over the years. Though the number of copies bought has grown with the influx of new gamers over time, it is not enough to match with the rising cost of developing games. This trend will only continue to get progressively worse till the point we have to mortgage our houses just to buy a game. The quickest solution to this?
Take the fear out of the companies. If they are always healthy and in the green, they won’t feel the need to raise the prices of their games. In fact, they would fear that increasing the prices of their games would lead to a stagnation of their rising sales. If the number of copies of games being sold could rise to the point that companies would continue making money despite not adjusting their prices for inflation, at some point, games would get super cheap. So these casual gamers? Really they’re just helping us in the end by buying some games here and there. You’ve heard of people who purposely buy merchandise to support a certain company or game. These casual gamers are buying stuff that supports your favourite game, why put them down?
There is no real downside to having these casual gamers battling the hordes of darkness alongside the more hardened warriors of hardcore gamers. A person should never affect your enjoyment of the game, much less one who knows way less about the game than you. At the end of the day, we can only benefit from the inclusion of people outside the insular society of gaming. We don’t want to be that closed off racist town that doesn’t accept other races, now do we?