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Aging Gamers – An Untapped Market for Growth

Gamers In-Between Casual and Hardcore Struggle to Find Great Games

The gap between games targeting the hardcore gaming populace, and those targeting a general, casual audience, is too wide. An in-between market remains largely untapped.

Gaming is typically divided into two categories–the hardcore and the casual. The tech writers from essaywriterfree.net point out that hardcore gamers may spend thousands of dollars on a top-of-the-line computer and can spend countless hours on a game like World of Warcraft. Casual games, on the other hand, require little time investment to learn the rules of the game and usually involve quick play sessions.

Hardcore Games for Hardcore Gamers

In general, “hardcore” simply means those who are willing to invest a significant chunk of their free time (and a significant chunk of their wallets) into a game before the fun factor starts to pay off.

Video games differ from most other forms of entertainment; each game has its own unique set of rules and controls. Pressing the A-button in one game may make the game character jump over a ravine, while pressing A in another may use the handbrake of a car, causing it to spin wildly out of control and crash into a wall, which may or may not gain the player points, depending on the game’s rules.

In addition, most big-name games involve characters and elaborate plot lines. Not only must a newcomer learn the rules and controls, the player oftentimes must learn the characters and story. This whole process dubbed a “learning curve” in the industry, can take more time than watching a whole movie or an American Idol special.

The worst culprits, draining players’ time and money, are MMORPGs (massively multiplayer online role-playing games), such as World of Warcraft, which require a time investment equal to watching the Lord of the Rings trilogy before the true fun begins.

For aging gamers with ever-increasing responsibilities such as working at a full-time job, pursuing higher education, and/or raising a family, precious free time can be hard to come by.  In this case, experts from writeanypapers.com insist that convincing a busy gamer that several hours of “learning curve” is worth the work can be a difficult task.

Casual Games for Casual Gamers

The opposite of hardcore games, casual games require little time investment to learn the rules. Casual titles are sometimes free, but many games, such as those by Popcap and those offered on Yahoo!‘s games section, cost anywhere between $5-$30.

Casual titles are also often offered on consoles, particularly so on the Nintendo Wii and Nintendo DS and DSi, but also frequently on Sony’s Playstation Network and Microsoft’s Xbox Live Arcade.

While casual titles may initially seem like a great investment for busy gamers, the gameplay offered by such titles is typically deemed shallow and unsatisfying for those used to playing games like God of War and Halo.

Rare titles such as XBLA hits Braid and Geometry Wars are simple, easy-to-learn games with satisfying gameplay, but those are far and few in-between.

A Largely Untapped Market

As gamers age, they have less time and money to spend on hardcore titles, but casual titles are typically unsatisfying. While the occasional XBLA, Playstation Network, or Wii game satisfies, the market for games in-between “casual” and “hardcore” is largely untapped.

Tapping into this in-between market would allow the gaming industry to reclaim some older gamers, while simultaneously introducing new gamers to games with more depth than the average casual title. This would offer casual gamers a more comfortable transition into hardcore titles and offer hardcore gamers less time/money-consuming alternatives to most hardcore games.

As it stands right now, the split between hardcore games offered on expensive consoles and computers, and casual titles offered on websites such as Yahoo! Games and Facebook applications, is simply too large.

Nintendo has helped bridge the gap with the Wii and DS, and their success should inspire more companies to make games in-between both extremes. But the future outlook for non-casual gamers on Nintendo’s Wii looks grim. Hopefully, the future will release games with more substance.

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