Going With The Flow
Casual Gamers Are Better Than You

Jim Sterling | 29 Mar 2011 13:07
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M-rated games don't sell very well on the Wii and the DS, and I'm willing to bet a huge part of the reason why is the sheer ease with which hardcore gamers can steal software. Not to mention, the lack of PSP games has often been blamed on how easy it is to install custom Firmware and run downloaded titles. Now, if piracy is your thing, that's fine - just don't bitch about Ubisoft putting steaming piles of casual crap on the DS, because ultimately those are the games that aren't going to get stolen.

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For me though, the biggest way in which casual gamers are superior to core gamers is with the advent of social gaming. Here is where our accusatory claims that casual gamers are "dumb" really fall apart, because - quite frankly - a Farmville player is enjoying him or herself in a far smarter way than you.

It's incredibly easy to look down on Farmville as some sort of mindless, evil little time-sink, and in many ways it is exactly that. It was designed solely for people to waste hours of their life, and to be thoroughly addictive. Here's the thing though - a Farmville player exerts far more authority over the way they play than the average Xbox 360 or PS3 user.

Unlike a $60 game, Farmville and its kin are free experiences. It costs you absolutely nothing to get started, and there's a surprising amount of content to be enjoyed at the entry level. There are items that cost real-world money, and they can certainly help or enhance the experience, but they are not crucial to your enjoyment. If you want to take your fun to the next level, you can spend an insignificant amount of dollars to receive new items or bump up your in-game currency.

Contrast that to the way we play games. $60 entry fee, which we're more than happy to pay if we feel a game has enough developer prestige, and if we want to enhance the experience, we have to pay money on top of that. Whether it's Guerrilla releasing downloadable map packs on Killzone 3's launch day or Namco Bandai expecting you to pay for level-ups in the latest Tales game, developers can and will get away with charging us extra money on top of the $60 we already dropped.

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