Welcome to GoNintendo’s two-week long feature, Casual Vs. Hardcore: Opinions of the Gaming Industry. This feature focuses on the debate concerning the casual and hardcore gaming scenes. Nintendo has ushered in a new wave of gamers through their casual titles, and many third parties are following in their footsteps. Has Nintendo’s foray into creating/growing the expanded audience helped the game industry, or is it killing off the very games/gamers that the industry is built on? Gaming industry personalities have gathered at GoNintendo to tell you just where they stand.
Wednesday brings us an opinion from Brian Ashcraft, Night Editor, Japan for Kotaku.com. A huge thank you to Brian for contributing in on our feature. His opinion has been posted below. Brian’s response contains portions of our email conversation.
Do you think casual gaming is hurting the industry, or do you believe it’s a good thing?
What do you mean by casual gaming? Puzzle games? If so, I don’t think believe that has hurt the industry. There is always a group of casual players, and the market should cater to them. Thing is, recently that group has gotten bigger. Is that a bad thing? It does expose more people to gaming, and that certainly must be a good thing. Because more people are exposed to gaming that means that somethings will be simplified. Simplified doesn’t necessarily mean “watered down.” Take a look at the controls for MGS4 or Gears of War. They’re really not all that complex, and the trend to make more simplified, intuitive controls could very well be the influence of a larger casual market.
Is it a threat to hardcore gaming, or will it help it in the long run?
What does hardcore gaming mean? Do we have a similar term for books? Do people say, “He’s a hardcore reader”? I guess they’d say so-and-so is a bookworm. But “hardcore”? It’s such a severe term. If games are going to be a truly dominate form of entertainment, they need to be approachable. Approachable doesn’t mean a lesser game experience in any way, but rather, a streamlined one. That should actually help gaming!
I think what people are worried about is dumbed down gaming. Like that casual players will need some pandering. If developers are smart, they’ll make things more intuitive, rather than dumber. That way they can appease new and experienced players.