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DJMetal

Post-Wii Commericalized Gaming

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I play games "casually". I have one new system - a Wii - and I play it on average of about 10 hours a month. I'm just too busy with other stuff to sit down and play it more, what with my university studies and two jobs and my side projects...

But, to other casual gamers, I'm not a casual gamer at all. I have a friend who is currently working their way through Super Mario Galaxy, and having a tough time with it. But, I personally think the game is super-easy. By the time I'm done playing for 2 hours, I have 2-3x as many lives as I started with. Meanwhile, my friend has hit game over twice.

The problem with the casual label is that it's all about perspective. To "hardcore" gamers, I'm casual because I don't put enough time into it, and I couldn't care less if my gaming ability is top-notch. But, to "casual" gamers, my skills are out of this world, and I game just as much as they do. So, where would you put me? What label do you slap on a gamer like myself?

Furthermore, how would you classify Super Mario Galaxy? Is that a game for casuals? I mean, you can't pretend it's not ridiculously easy compared to Super Mario 64. But, it's immersive, it's got a great score, fantastic visuals, and extremely fun gameplay to boot.

Ultimately, I agree with The Damned and others - give me solid definitions of what makes a good game, and what the different levels of gaming are, and then we'll talk. Until then, I'm just going to play whatever I find fun, whenever I have time. Sure, there might not be as many good games around (see my previous post in this thread), but gaming is hardly in the dire straits everyone thinks it is.

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I feel like in the beginning "casual" and "hardcore" were pretty ridiculous to use when applied to games because there was simply no distinction. Now I feel that because the terms started to be considered more legit, games started to be made with the INTENTION of being casual or hardcore. Since that's happened, I think there's no denying that there is a distinction - games, especially from big companies, are designed with the categorization in mind now to give them an idea of how well they might sell and how to market it to different audiences. So my opinion is that whether or not we agree with the initial reasons for the inception of the terms (when applied to games) is irrelevant.

Of course, when the term is applied to GAMERS it's something else entirely.

About the original post - I heartily agree that the Wii is bad for the industry. It shows that it's very successful to trade development of technology and gameplay concepts for changes to the control scheme and a tightly-controlled public image - which in my opinion means we're kind of dead in the water until everyone gets over the no-controller fascination. I don't see it happening, so my plan has been to just get used to it and enjoy motion control for what it is. And I have been...to a point. There just isn't a lot of great material. What's there can be a lot of fun.

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About the original post - I heartily agree that the Wii is bad for the industry. It shows that it's very successful to trade development of technology and gameplay concepts for changes to the control scheme and a tightly-controlled public image - which in my opinion means we're kind of dead in the water until everyone gets over the no-controller fascination. I don't see it happening, so my plan has been to just get used to it and enjoy motion control for what it is. And I have been...to a point. There just isn't a lot of great material. What's there can be a lot of fun.

With all respect, I must disagree here a bit. I don't think the Wii is bad for the industry at all. First of all, the Wii has opened the industry to a great many more people and has created a significantly wider audience for it to sell and cater to. This, in a business aspect, is a phenomenal success. As a social aspect, it is also good because video game society becomes accepted as more mainstream. Though the games that come out on the Wii might not be typically associated with the classical definition of our perception of video games, it acts as a gateway. Those who play those Wii games may expand their horizons and look at other options, and thus invest in other titles or even systems. Though it may temporarily pull focus away from games I personally may desire, I see this as only a temporary issue. The so-called "casual" (however loosely defined and asinine the term may be) market will continue to exist beyond the scope of the Wii, but I don't forsee it being a big deal to the "classically defined" areas of video games.

Though the Wii has outsold both the PS3 and the 360, to say that the other two systems are faltering would be a flat-out lie. The Casual market hasn't hurt the sales of the traditionally "hardcore" systems or games. If anything has done that, it's been the evolution of the gaming industry itself: the demands for more realistic, bigger, better games have led to bigger budgets, higher prices, and greater degrees of risks in producing games. This progress is a double-edged sword. That said, I'm not one of those people blinded by nostalgia and would look back to older days as periods of better production. Because they weren't necessarily, strictly speaking. My point is, the Wii will not stunt technological growth because, simply, people demand it. They always want the next best thing, and the "new control" sensation is just part of it: before long, people will expect these with increasingly photo-realistic, big budget games, and we'll be right back on the path we once were.

Ultimately, what's made investors of the Wii suffer as gamers is not the system itself, in my opinion. It's been the lack of proper support by a lot of third party developers which is a constant problem for Nintendo to begin with. Though the Wii Hardware is nothing resembling perfection, it seems many companies simply don't put the effort into making motion controls that are simple, intuitive, and work. Again, part of that has to do with the imperfection of the technology, but Nintendo themselves have proven capable of seamlessly integrating the controls as part of the game experience, while other developers seem to be continually baffled by them.

Ultimately, while the Wii is making a big splash now, I don't see Nintendo's marketing tactics for this generation to become the gold standard of the industry from here on out. Though the Wii will continue to be big for awhile longer, eventually people will stop buying the lack of increase in power as a sacrifice for one particular aspect. Eventually, consumers are going to demand a well-rounded, powerful, innovative product. They always do.

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So, are casual gamers people who do play WoW but don't take it seriously, or are casual gamers what people who play WoW but don't take it seriously call people who are too busy being not terrible people?

do you understand the meaning of the conjunction 'or'

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My point is, the Wii will not stunt technological growth because, simply, people demand it. They always want the next best thing, and the "new control" sensation is just part of it: before long, people will expect these with increasingly photo-realistic, big budget games, and we'll be right back on the path we once were.

This is an excellent point. See now how Sony and Microsoft are scrambling to come up with a better motion-control system for their platforms than the Wii's. Eventually, we'll be playing Wii-esque games on the PS3, and everyone will be sitting here wondering why people bother to buy a Wii because it's so under-powered in comparison. At that point, Nintendo will be forced to come up with an answer to that question, and...voila!

As far as systems go, the Wii is nothing but good for the gaming industry in general, in my opinion.

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do you understand the meaning of the conjunction 'or'

It could've been interpreted both ways considering where you put it.

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Tetris.

That is all.

Nope. I am way too stressed and focused when playing Tetris for me to consider it a casual game.

Endless Ocean is a casual game. There aren't really any objectives, you just swim around and look at stuff.

And it's pretty good.

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Fuck that. I rub those manatees hardcore, yo. And you can't say it doesn't scare the shit outta ya to be swimming around the abyss and have that chord go and then WHOA HOLY SHIT A SHARK FUCK AGH I CAN'T SEE WHERE I'M GOING HOLY SHIT BIG CREEPY OCTOPI. And nobody offers better tours of the ocean than me. I find what they wanna see pronto.

Hardcore.

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I'm gonna go out on a limb here and just toss out my idea that casual gaming is, much like The Damned put it, marketing and PR in action. Also, there is no such thing as a casual game due to the fact that there is no such thing as a hardcore game either. There is only the game. There are definitely casual and hardcore players, but this moniker has more to do with how familiar a person is with a game or how much time they put into gaming in general.

What he said...

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I'm gonna go out on a limb here and just toss out my idea that casual gaming is, much like The Damned put it, marketing and PR in action. Also, there is no such thing as a casual game due to the fact that there is no such thing as a hardcore game either. There is only the game. There are definitely casual and hardcore players, but this moniker has more to do with how familiar a person is with a game or how much time they put into gaming in general.

Not sure how you are assuming all games have the same barrier to entry. If you start looking at niche games at all you'll find games that really don't want you to play them easily and aren't just pick up and play. Just read up about Knights in the Nightmare (http://www.atlus.com/knights/), a game that is a combination of a bullet-hell shooter and tactical RPG. I can't imagine someone relatively new to the gaming would particularly enjoy it, having no experience with turn-based strategy games. I would certainly qualify that as not casual. My mom and dad would have no idea what the hell was going on.

How about fighting games? Yes, you can play them without knowing combos, cancels, or even basic character moves and not spend the time and effort practicing at all. But I would argue that person has not played the game really. Not achieving some level of proficiency through practice in a fighting game is like playing Super Mario Bros. and quitting after the first level. You can't really say you played it. I think any game that requires repetitive time and practice isn't "casual."

Gameplay aside, there are also series like Metal Gear Solid that discourage "casuals" due to the storyline. In order to really know what was going on, you'd have to go back and play 3 other games at a minimum to play MGS4. You can't just casually jump into it if you want to experience the game as Hideo Kojima intended.

There's also games like No More Heroes that parody games. If you aren't a gamer who is somewhat familiar with video games and how their storylines, gameplay, and characters operate, you are missing out on a lot of the humor, something most people consider to be an integral part of the game. That's not really casual either.

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You know what I haven't read here yet? How the PS1 ruined hardcore gaming.

As you may know, the PS1 moved video games from the almost exclusive domain of children, the more nerdish teens and adults, to the mainstream public. The PS1 opened up a lot of people to the whole thing, including those that would qualify as "jocks" and "the cool kids".

What we had was the "hardcore", the ones that spent all night playing SNES or Genesis games, watch as their beloved form of entertainment become corrupted by the mouth-breathing masses of non-gamers. Suddenly, it was ruining the industry with more games aimed at the college students, like sports games and less normal games like that of old.

We also needed new technology to expand upon what was considered gaming, since there would be new ideas and new games. This technology allowed for better games through superior hardware, giving us 3D environments and better audio to help immerse the player into the world, even if it's jut a little bit.

Waaaaaaaait, this sounds familiar... Ruining gaming? Abandoning the hardcore? The industry moving to cater to the new market? Changes in technology to adapt to the new market?

The Wii is just another step along the path. Whether it's a misstep or not, it won't ruin the rest of the journey.

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My definition of casual gamer is someone who plays games on Pogo or similar browser game sites.

As many have said before, good/great games have existed along side shitty games since the dawn of the industry. Sometimes, a gem shines through the muck and mire. Like the economy, the video games industry is similar to a roller coaster; it goes up and peaks, and then it falls and has a period of suck. Just wait for that coaster to go back up. It's only a matter of time.

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With all respect, I must disagree here a bit. I don't think the Wii is bad for the industry at all. First of all, the Wii has opened the industry to a great many more people and has created a significantly wider audience for it to sell and cater to. This, in a business aspect, is a phenomenal success. As a social aspect, it is also good because video game society becomes accepted as more mainstream. Though the games that come out on the Wii might not be typically associated with the classical definition of our perception of video games, it acts as a gateway. Those who play those Wii games may expand their horizons and look at other options, and thus invest in other titles or even systems. Though it may temporarily pull focus away from games I personally may desire, I see this as only a temporary issue. The so-called "casual" (however loosely defined and asinine the term may be) market will continue to exist beyond the scope of the Wii, but I don't forsee it being a big deal to the "classically defined" areas of video games.

Bear in mind - I'm saying the Wii is bad for the industry (and more specifically, what we get out of the industry) BECAUSE it's successful. It proves to them that they're on the right track because, well, they are! And yet there's a growing hole in titles they release that I personally enjoy, while instead they devote their time and resources into "Wii ____" titles that I simply don't get more than two or three days play out of - and they get billions of dollars for it.

Also, it looks like you're saying here that Nintendo fans who got the Wii because of its potential and were disappointed by the lack of games are being forced onto the PS3 and 360 to get the games they actually want to play ("expand their horizons"). You're probably right, and that may be good for the other companies receiving those gamers, but I can't see it as good for Nintendo.

The Casual market hasn't hurt the sales of the traditionally "hardcore" systems or games. ...

Ultimately, what's made investors of the Wii suffer as gamers is not the system itself, in my opinion. It's been the lack of proper support by a lot of third party developers which is a constant problem for Nintendo to begin with. Though the Wii Hardware is nothing resembling perfection, it seems many companies simply don't put the effort into making motion controls that are simple, intuitive, and work. Again, part of that has to do with the imperfection of the technology, but Nintendo themselves have proven capable of seamlessly integrating the controls as part of the game experience, while other developers seem to be continually baffled by them.

I disagree - for instance, The Conduit and MadWorld were supposed to be the big "hardcore solutions" for the Wii the last few months and they were both universally highly-rated and had very underwhelming sales. Why should you even need a "solution" anyway? Developers don't understand why the Wii is underperforming, and they're worried about it. If the gamers who play those games have largely left the Wii as you're suggesting, then at the very least I would say it's bad for Nintendo as some of their developers may leave or only start producing certain games for the Wii. We're seeing that happen already. Basically, as little sense as it makes, Nintendo needs to stop wasting their time making billions of dollars! And again, because Nintendo is so successful, I DO still think it's bad for the others, because they're following close behind.
My point is, the Wii will not stunt technological growth because, simply, people demand it. They always want the next best thing, and the "new control" sensation is just part of it: before long, people will expect these with increasingly photo-realistic, big budget games, and we'll be right back on the path we once were.
That would be nice - but Nintendo is number one and they aren't looking back, and they're the ones with the 6 or 7 year old tech running both their major platforms. Now Microsoft is making Natal to catch up with Nintendo and saying it "basically serves as a whole new xbox" - but the tech won't have improved any with this "new xbox" - there will only be differences to control. And here comes the Playstation Motion Controller, not far behind. You say the 360 and PS3 are doing so well they don't need to worry about Nintendo, but they're following so tightly in their footsteps that it's hard to ignore their changing business strategies.
Ultimately, while the Wii is making a big splash now, I don't see Nintendo's marketing tactics for this generation to become the gold standard of the industry from here on out. Though the Wii will continue to be big for awhile longer, eventually people will stop buying the lack of increase in power as a sacrifice for one particular aspect. Eventually, consumers are going to demand a well-rounded, powerful, innovative product. They always do.

I hope you're right! Again, I'm all for motion control and whatever else they decide to throw at us. The Wii has had some excellent games that I've gotten a LOT of playtime out of...but there just aren't that many. Either way, I'll always remain excited for the next generation of consoles.

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Christ, we (gamers) spend years trying to convince people that it's a worthwhile industry, and not some murder simulator/rape thing/gigantic waste of time that all the old farts say it is...and the first thing the crowd does when they go "Hey..maybe it's not, pass me that controller" is scream NO. MINE. GO AWAY, YOU'rE NOT A GAMER, YOU DON'T GET TO PLAY IT

I feel old now.

I think this about did it for me. I now feel like a dumbass. =D Ah well.

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This is in no way putting anybody here down intentionally....

I've gotten to this point where I honestly don't care what a game is categorized. If it's fun, and I'm having fun playing it, that's all I care about.

I don't care about achievements, they're nice, but they don't add anything to me anymore. And I'll RARELY complete the ridiculous amount of stuff to do in the games unless I REALLY, want too (Hint, that won't be often).

Graphics? I've said it once before, the further they try to make things look as photo realistic as possible, the more fake it looks. Granted, some games look good "semi-realistic" but not when they try to look as real as possible. Only the fewest of exceptions do I ever support realistic graphics (Mass Effect, Gears of War 1 and 2, a few other I'm too lazy to think up of).

But see, we have these people, who just a bunch of pinheads half the time, that "HAVE" to label what a gamer is, or what a "casual" gamer/title is. They scour every website, looking and blogging to justify they're "passion", or, how addicted they are to games and have to justify the amount of time they waste on them. They're the ones trying to classify games as art. And are more than likely game critics (some of them). And they whine, cry, and moan about how Nintendo has left their core audience when most of said audience left Nintendo a long time ago for not having breast physics and showers of blood, language, and violence. And when "core" games get released, they're too cheap to pick them up, and then wonder why those games tanked, or make cheap shots at them...

Here's a clue Sherlock(s), VIDEO GAMES ARE A BUSINESS. A Business is where products are made, AND, are purchased. If something isn't selling, it's not profitable to keep covering that area the ENTIRE TIME is it?

If Nintendo did the exact same thing as Microsoft and Sony (aka, big processor graphics, Blu Ray disc blah blah blah), they'd be dead last. I honestly believe they would be. Do I like SOME of the casual games they've put out? Wii Sports? Yes. Wii Sports Resort? Oh yeah. And yeah, I did just download Marvel vs. Capcom 2 for my 360, so I don't mind being a Nintendo fanboy. I love Nintendo, and always will, but that doesn't mean I don't enjoy other consoles...

Sorry for the rant...

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Loading...File not found. Syntax error?

Sorry, I changed that now...

I meant a fanboy that hates every other console, which I'm not... does that make more sense?

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nintendo gave us zelda and as such everything that sony or microsoft has done or will do for videogames is comparitively meaningless

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Sorry, I changed that now...

I meant a fanboy that hates every other console, which I'm not... does that make more sense?

Yeah, I was just picking on you because this is the internet. I wouldn't grow too attached to any of the main console makers if I were you; they are bound to disappoint.

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nintendo gave us mario and as such everything that sony or microsoft has done or will do for videogames is comparitively meaningless

Fixed that for ya.

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I don't mind "casual gamers" or whatever; videogames are supposed to be fun, and I fully support any effort to spread that fun to as many people as possible.

That said, I would prefer it if developers didn't confuse simple games with shovelware. For every Cooking Mama, there are at least ten crappy knockoffs. I suppose it doesn't really matter to me, as I'm willing to do the research to tell the difference between the good and the bad, but it does bother me that other consumers, who may not be as savvy when it comes to games (parents/grandparents, you know the ones who walk into a store and say "What do the kids like?" because they really have no idea) are getting crap unloaded on them. I want these people to enjoy their experience for their own sake, and also because it grows the industry and leads to me having more games to play.

Also, I think it's a good thing that the Wii is so successful, because it puts the brakes on the spiraling cost of game development. AAA PS3/360 games need to sell into the millions of copies to turn a profit; that kind of pressure stifles creativity, as publishers are less willing to take chances on unproven IPs (see: Mirror's Edge). The next generation of game hardware is certainly going to move away from the more-is-better school of thought in terms of hardware, which is good. I'm still not convinced by this whole motion sensing thing, but if it'll keep costs down, I can live with it.

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Also, I think it's a good thing that the Wii is so successful, because it puts the brakes on the spiraling cost of game development.

This. If there's one reason I'm glad the Wii exists(and to an extent the DS) it's because of this right here.

The Wii and DS both prove that you don't have to break bank in order to have a great gaming experience. It'd be great if other developers and publishers realized this with the other consoles so that the video game industry doesn't fall flat on it's own feet.

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Yeah, I was just picking on you because this is the internet. I wouldn't grow too attached to any of the main console makers if I were you; they are bound to disappoint.

I get ya, but honestly, I'm not THAT attached to them. I just really like their games, after all, most games in my set, are Nintendo's...

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I don't care about achievements, they're nice, but they don't add anything to me anymore. And I'll RARELY complete the ridiculous amount of stuff to do in the games unless I REALLY, want too (Hint, that won't be often)

Here here!

I play Halo 3 a lot and there are so many people who cheat to get achievements and rankings (which are basically the same thing) that it's ridiculous. Why would you want to waste time when you're not actually playing the game?

Oh, and that assumes that the achievement points will always be there. Bungie constantly resets Halo's ranks for "equality." Who knows if Microsoft will do that for the Xbox 720? Then thousands of hours of "hard work" are down the tubes.

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