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The Death of Hardcore Gaming?

Posted by GG Goblin On June - 16 - 2009

At the Tokyo Game Show in September 2005, Satoru Iwata revealed the prototype of the Wii controller. Just over a year later it had been launched all across the world. The Wii has now sold in excess of 50 million units and is the best selling “next gen” console in the world. The motion sensing controller has opened the world of video games to all types of people, from the elderly to the very young, giving the console a truely global appeal. However, hardcore gamers shun the Wii, or think of it as a toy to be played after a few drinks. The number of real hardcore games available on the Wii can be counted on one hand. The rest of the games, of which there are many, are aimed more towards the casual games market. Nintendo can’t be blamed for this though. At the end of the day they are a business and they want to make money. The number of casual gamers, and the potential market, is vast compared to the hardcore.


Thankfully, we ( I count myself as a hardcore gamer) still have the xbox 360 and PS3. We can waste a little time on the Wii before we get down to the serious business of saving the world. But how long for???

At E3 2009 both Sony and Microsoft revealed their entries into the motion sensing controller market. The Sony entry was very similar to the Wii controller in that the player waves the “wand” and these movements are simulated on screen. The Microsoft version, currently known as project Natal, was a whole different beast. Utilising camera motion sensing technology, all the movements of the player are translated in game. It even has facial recognition enabling your console to greet you when you enter the room. Both of these devices are still in development, but Sony and Microsoft will, I am sure, be rushing to complete and get them on the market in order to get themselves a slice of the casual gamers market.



So where does this leave the hardcore gamer. With the next Xbox rumoured to be shipping with Natal as standard, I am sure that Sony will follow suit. Does this mean that controllers in the traditional sense will become optional extras? I personally have spent years perfecting my controller skills. Will video gaming become nothing more than an jumping around the living room, waving arms and legs like a crazy person in an attempt to hit a ball, even though hitting the ball will be more luck than skill? If Sony and Microsoft take the same route as Nintendo then that is exactly what it will become. Will developers create huge numbers of casual games and dumbed down versions of the games we all love, in order to cater to the casual market rather than develop the hardcore games we yearn for? That is the thought that keeps me awake at night.

Only time will tell where this trend is heading. I, personally, look towards the future of video gaming nervously, wondering if there will even be a place for the hardcore gamer in the motion sensing world.

3 Responses so far
  1. scotay Said,

    Perhaps you need to change your definition of ‘hard core gamer’. The games market has many genres and Nintendo cleverly tapped into huge markets that were never successfully reached. Diversity and choice are the changes vital to keeping the industry alive and creative. The business has always been about making money, not for the love of keeping spotty teenage fan-boys happy!

    There will always be a market for the Halos and Resident Evils, but thankfully the world of possibilities and innovative entertainment can be realised and enjoyed by those fortunate enough to have social lives. I personally hope to air-motion guitar play to Rock Band, cos that’s just the right side of awesome! I don’t agree ‘hardcore gamers’ shun the Wii, many of them loved the Wii. After the fuss has died down, they may not have this as their preferred platform to play games (loving the 360 for the type of games) but the beauty is the longevity it has and the surprisingly joy it is to play (Zelda was very cool).

    Microsoft has been shrewd to not ignore what the demand is and the $ attached, and they have come up with something that looks very good value and prolonging the 360’s lifecycle. They don’t intend to ship Natal as a new console – it is an add on so it’s not a rip off. Casual is the gateway to more serious gameplay and the more people we have online, the better the party 🙂

    Posted on June 16th, 2009 at 1:57 pm

  2. GG Goblin Said,

    haha…good points all. however I think it is you that should change your definition of hardcore gamer. Spotty teenage fan-boys with no social life??
    I did’nt say that hardcore gamers all shunned the Wii, Nintendo have their fan-boys as much as any console. But for the all-round hardcore gamer the Wii has very little to offer, other than a way to pass the time in between hardcore gaming sessions, interacting with casual gamers or having a laugh after a night at the pub. The only games that have caught my interest have been Zelda (it was cool, was’nt it 🙂 ), Mario Kart ( for which I used a gamecube controller) and Super Smash Bros Brawl ( which I used a gamecube controller). There are other games I go back to, but the compulsion is not there. There will always be a place in my heart for the Wii.
    However, with Microsoft rumoured to be shipping the new Xbox with Natal as standard, the classic controller is fading into the background. If this happens, and it is only rumour, then we will be overwhelmed with more casual games. You say that “casual is the gateway to more serious gameplay” but if there are no serious games due to the fact that developers will make more money making games for the huge casual market, there will be no serious gameplay. I am all for Diversity and choice, but if all 3 major consoles become casual, then thats not diverse and there is no choice.
    But this is all speculation at the moment…

    Posted on June 16th, 2009 at 2:24 pm

  3. scotay Said,

    Hi GG 🙂

    I think its fair comment that the demographics for 360 is the 12-26 age group. There is no way the controller will disappear, that would be ludicrous. It’s like saying when touch screen laptops are common place we will not need keyboards.

    The Microsoft reveal of the games coming out in no way indicates concentration on casual ie Modern Warfare, Crackdown 2, Halo ODST, L4D2, Splinter Cell etc. If they are not serious games, then what is?

    The Wii is a tremendous reinvention and attracted the whole spectrum of previous non gamers. Not everybody wants to kill things, not everybody wants to play alone, not everybody wants to impress with points. Some people just want to pick up, and play without intimidation or snobbery on gaming. The PS3 was dead on its feet, there’s no decent games to play on it! So it makes sense they need to implement new strategies. Microsoft are also getting in on the trend and keeping the 360 competitive.

    I am hugely confident that I will still be playing my 360 in 5 years time, with add ons etc and still have a huge choice of gaming products. Can’t say I’m impressed with the PS3 but I will still keep my Wii even if it is just to kill myself to keep fit (lol).

    Posted on June 16th, 2009 at 11:42 pm

Coming later this year to Xbox One, PS4, PC and Switch.


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