How important are we as hardcore gamers to the videogame industry now? We’re definitely the most outspoken, and we definitely buy the most games, but it seems like the industry has moved their focus away from us and put it on the casual gamer.
Who can blame them? Gamer or not, we’ve all witnessed Nintendo’s pocketbook explode after focusing on the casual gamer. And with “hardcore” games costing more than ever to make, it makes sense that developers would want to focus on something that costs less and makes more. Forbes explores this shift in focus.
Deus Ex director Warren Spector sums it up well: “… any artist who doesn’t want his or her work in front of the largest audience possible is nuts.”
Spore managed to move 1 million copies in three weeks. Creator Will Wright says that his focus was on the non-core gamer the whole time.
“With ‘Spore,’ we were intentionally not targeting the core gamer,” he says. “Almost all of our testing was with Sims players and casual or nongamers. … I’d much rather hit that broader group.”
In the end, both high-profile game makers agree that both the hardcore and casual audiences are important.
Wright says, “Hardcore causes the craftsmanship of games to advance. I think you kind of need both–innovation and craftsmanship.”
“The hardcore is completely safe,” Spector says. “They are less relevant to major publishers, but they are more relevant to independent developers.”