Video games have been around for decades. Companies like Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo all are major contributors to the video game industry. Their resources have helped shaped video games to be played by anyone. There are two sides to every coin, in the video game industry the communities are split between hardcore gamers and casual gamers. Each group has contributed something towards video games in some way, some good and some bad. For those of you who do not know what separates these two communities here is a crash course.
Hardcore gamers take video games seriously. A hardcore gamer plays more video games that the average casual gamer. They know what genres games belong to as well as a basic knowledge of how any video game works. A hardcore gamer can spot things a non-hardcore gamer can’t. The community is centered on views specific to each person, in some cases you are better off discussing religion and politics than which is the better console.
A casual gamer is what its title says. They don’t necessarily play that many video games but tend to have a big library of games. This breed of gamers plays just because they can; a casual gamer doesn’t have standards and typically play whatever is popular. There are more casual gamers than hardcore gamers in the modern world today.
The video game industry has been releasing quality games for some years now, but there has been a big decline in originality and variety. In 1993 first person shooter games had expansive maps that you could easily get lost in. Now the current FPS game has a linear design traveling in perfect 90 degree angles with no way to explore or experience the game other than Point A to Point B with a cutscene in the middle. Companies find out how well they did by product sales; when game sells fast and receives a high amount of preorders then the developer sees that they did something right, the game may even get a sequel or two. The birth of casual gamers has made developers simply stop caring about the content of video games.
Companies like Bungie, Treyarch and Infinity Ward have been created games that are just plain bland and boring for a few years now. Casual gamers love Halo and Call of Duty. Both are first person shooters and played by many people casual and hardcore gamers alike. The sales of these games have skyrocketed because of their simplistic style, easy to learn controls, linear map design, and lack of any strategy other than “Position target in the center, pull the switch” mentality.
The rapid sales of these games have spawned too many sequels and spin-offs that have flooded the market. Halo had two games when Halo 3 was supposed to be the last, Halo: ODST, a useless game told from the view of a lowly characterless marine and Halo: Reach, a pointless prequel to the original Halo trilogy, when everyone knows what happened because the story of Reach is told through out the first Halo game. Treyarch and Infinity Ward have created a plethora of first person shooter games. The Call of Duty franchise is massively successful but for the wrong reasons. The first two Call of Duty games were fun and different. After the release of Modern Warfare the casual gamers jumped on the bandwagon and bought the game because it was a “modern FPS game” even though there were loads of modern and futuristic shooters already released. This is also one of the first games (next to Halo) to have linear map design with no thinking needed to play.
The success of Modern Warfare created a sequel and a new Call of Duty title “World at War” which went back to the old Call of Duty days of World War 2 warfare but with added boring map design and a less than intelligent AI. World at War also created a new fad “Zombies”. Now zombies are not far from video games, but the Nazi Zombies game mode pitted you against undead Nazis in a horde based game mode. Now nearly every shooting game has some form of a horde mode, Halo: ODST and Gears of War 2 are two other games worth mentioning. Call of Duty: Black Ops has a Zombies game mode as well.
The success of first person shooter games is bad for the industry consumer wise. Other developers have caught onto the success of FPS games therefore making more FPS games with the same dynamics of a lazy FPS game. Casual gamers are the reason to blame. A casual gamer doesn’t have standards they play what is popular. Although casual gamers have created a bigger community for gamers they have caused an oversaturation of FPS games.
It does not stop there. The lack of standards and appreciation for video games spawned from casual gamers has given developers the idea that “Well if it has our name on it, then it doesn’t matter if the game is mediocre and lacks any form of originality.” This has now made video games less than enjoyable that can have a great idea, but lack in the execution it needs to be a great game.
Hardcore gamers have their faults as well, but it is those faults that help video games be better. A hardcore gamer is critical and will have no problem ripping apart a new game if it is bad. Hardcore gamers helped start the video game industry, although some may be the elitists, it is that kind of mindset that can push the envelope of quality games.
Casual gamers are ruining the quality of games and therefore ruining the industry. Everything was fine when video games were widely accepted as plain nerdy and for the dedicated players only.