Casual

Discussion in 'GBAtemp & Scene News' started by Prans, Sep 19, 2015.

Casual

by Prans Sep 19, 2015 at 2:08 PM 4,926 Views 43 replies
  1. Prans
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    Prans Geek, gamer, human

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    With the fresh news of Apple’s move into the gaming world with the Apple TV and Nintendo’s move to approach a wider audience with Pokemon Go on Android and iOS, there’s growing apprehension of a surge of so-called ‘casual’ gamers. Who are they? What do they play? And... are they a threat?

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    A casual gamer is a type of video game player whose time or interest in playing games is limited compared with a hardcore gamer. That’s how Wikipedia describes a casual gamer. The term itself is often regarded as having a negative connotation. For instance some would dismiss casual gamers as kids, girls or older persons. Well, as much as we know, the casual gamer of today could be the next pro gamer of tomorrow, regardless of their age and/or gender. Don’t forget that we all start off, in some way or another, as casual gamers and definitely not as pro gamers.

    Video games haven’t been as accessible as they are today. And this ease of access attracts more and more people who would otherwise have dismissed video games as a time wasting activity or an expensive hobby. With the rise of smartphones and social media, social and casual games have followed the trend. It didn’t surprise only gamers but game makers as well, so much so that the latter have had to re-think their business approaches to cater for the current need. Nintendo finally announced its plans for mobile gaming and Konami seems to be leaning heavily towards mobile. It might seem odd and unexpected but it’s all part of the evolution of the gaming industry and we should be happy it’s still around!

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    Casual gamers are also part of the gaming community. And for video game companies to exist, they have to evolve and adapt to the current demands. We’ve seen big game makers like Sega and Square Enix release not only casual games but also games worthy of home consoles on mobile platforms. They are making the most out of the contemporary gaming scene. They are after all, businesses. Sure there’s going to be games you won’t like or won’t stand see people playing. But there’s also going to be those that will help you kill the boredom in the metro/bus/toilet. And those gaming companies haven’t forgotten about their faithful ‘hardcore’ gamers. Your favorite gaming series isn’t going anywhere (well, MGS is a different story but still, PES!). We’ve got so much more games coming and to celebrate for!

    Instead of fearing the casuals, welcome them with open arms. Make a move, introduce them to your favorite games. Who knows? Maybe you’ll meet your new best friend or gaming buddy in this way! Spread the love!

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  2. Zeriel

    Zeriel Squid Kid

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    The problem is Companies see casuals as their source of Free to Play income, I call this whaling.
    Most casuals may pay a couple of bucks (I even fallen for this) but there are fat ignorant whales that spent several hundreds even thousands on a FTP game. They make the whole scam profitable and companies move from designing worth while games to just making FTP junk. It's even gotten to the point where AAA full priced games have FTP elements that can ruin the whole experience to make you want to spend money.
     
    Last edited by Zeriel, Sep 19, 2015
  3. boomario

    boomario Nothing to say here.

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    I don't think there is anything wrong about playing games on mobile for me but the main problem is what to play.
    More than half of the games on the stores (i would even risk to say it's more than 75%) are nothing but some boring pay-to-win sh*t so it's normal that people used to good old console/PC/handheld games will hate mobile games.
    When i heard that nintendo will be going to mobile market i got mixed feelings about that. Companies like them will decide if the mobile games will avenge or die in the beach with FTP.
     
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  4. Flame

    Flame Me > You

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    Not a thread about filthy casuals...

    God, I come to temp to learn to pirate AAAA hardcore Games!


    Dont teach me, you filthy casuals!



    ITS TIME TO EAT SOME DORITOS! AND DRINK SOME MOUNTAIN DEW! AND IM ALL OUT OF MOUNTAIN DEW!
     
    Last edited by Flame, Sep 19, 2015
  5. Ericzander

    Ericzander I used hax to get yellow name

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    I simply couldn't put it better myself. I love casual gamers (I'm engaged to one!) but yes whaling is an amazing way to put it. It's the few morons out there that makes this profitable for companies and it sucks because I can't even blame them for wanting to make more money. When the micro transactions moved to AAA titles I had a mini heart attack.
     
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  6. Monado_III

    Monado_III GBAtemp Advanced Fan

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    This is why I have a problem with most casuals, they want free. I know one person who refuses to pay upfront for any game other than Minecraft on his phone, but has spent over $10 on one crappy FTP game and doesn't see anything wrong with that.
     
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  7. Arecaidian Fox

    Arecaidian Fox Foxeh furry X3

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    Extra Credits on YouTube did a few good videos covering this subject (Microtransactions) (Free to Play Is Currently Broken - How High Costs Drive Players Away from F2P Games) (Doing Free to Play Wrong - How Bad Monetization Harms F2P Games). As with any other design aspect, there are basically right and wrong ways of doing transactions in free-to-play games, though I will admit there are ethical concerns to weigh as well. Either way, for or against, the essential model isn't going away any time soon.
     
    Last edited by Arecaidian Fox, Sep 19, 2015
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  8. Steena

    Steena GBAtemp Advanced Fan

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    I used to think casuals were a great long-term investment because they would one day get bored of the samey generic stuff and perhaps start getting informed about the industry, prevent getting scammed/baited, and demand games with mechanics instead of grinding spreadsheets. A new force that would one day see their market exploitation and push the industry standards forward.

    But then the years went by, and we have the apple store. A platform so flooded that your game will not even be noticed unless you promote it to the top by buying your way through the system - the actual quality of the game being literally the least important factor.

    We got an aggressive pre-order culture where playing the game is supposedly the least important part of the package for the obsessed LE/day-one collectors, they actually overspend on the bonuses mostly for the joy of owning the limited physical object, some even ignore the actual disc.

    We got people playing games for farming achievements exclusively. An arbitrary number that you can show off to others to tell them how much money you've spent and how much other people are telling you to have fun in their particular predefined way.

    We have outright scammy DLC and DLC pricing. We have artificial limitations being touted as features (not hardware ones, mind you, but simply choosing not to release something to give a false sense of worth, or delaying it - hello there, Splatoon, or hell, modern nintendo as a whole).

    We are already deep into the territory where "unlocking" and "progress" in games is seen as the primary gameplay mechanic/motivator/reason to play and not a padding one, even for games that use it as badly as they possibly could. I've heard hundreds of LoL players say that if there weren't champions/runes to farm, they would not play the game at all, because there would be NO POINT in playing the game (I don't know, what about "the game is fun on its own?").

    Every open world game today has turned into a follow-the-arrow quest-checklist simulator. It's a flat, gigantic map, with usually three generic types of activities, plastered all over it, passing for content. Honorable mention goes to Ubisoft for gradually turning every single one of their games into this shit. We also had a recent streak with TW3, Arkham Knight, and MadMax, supposedly some of the biggest releases of the year, all functioning with this MMO-like design, except without the "Massive", "Multiplayer", and "Online" part (the joke here is that there is nothing!). But don't worry, they will boast about the immense size of the map, so that there will be more empty, dead, useless space to traverse and act as more efficient padding. Last I recall, the entire point of "exploration" is not knowing. Exploration is one of the few amazing things you can achieve only in videogames, and it's pretty much gone from the entirety of the industry. Exploration today is following an arrow, which points to a specific objective on your 100% detailed map. Great.

    We have steam's greenlight, which has been evolving to become the apple store 2.0. Valve clearly wants a piece of that exploitative pie, ignoring the suggestions of about every living person in the planet to at least curate it a little bit, so that scam games do not make it in.

    We also got kickstarter. A great opportunity for us to decide what can be developed, bypassing investors who don't have a clue about a good game, right? Too bad the system has already been cannibalized by AAA investors and we're seeing game after game being already funded under-the-table by those very figures, with the KS announcement merely being a hype-generating bonus (and bonus cash collecting, which is actually like 10% of what the game needed in funding - see Iga's project). Kickstarter is now being used as a preorder tool where your exploited customers, on top of putting their money at risk (the risk is greater than a standard preorder, mind you), will worship you for "saving a franchise". Despite the fact that KS games are most of the time underwhelming and the really good games that came out of it without some major fuck ups can be counted on one hand. This one is golden, in just how many ways it exploits the consumer while getting credit for it.

    We have developers "fixing" their F2P grinding games by giving you increased options to pay to make the game feel fun. Nevermind the fact that they themselves created the issue (the grinding system's parameters), but they also offer the solution to it, instead of making a fun game in the first place! Once again, announcing paid boosters are hailed by the community as a godsend, praising the developers in question for being able to solve the issue they themselves created, so that the game they play, can become fun. Because it didn't start out as fun at first, but they were playing it regardless, because god knows why.

    As a whole, secrets in games have degraded, too. Likely for the same reasons why "exploration" got murdered. Secrets, which used to be a few, very intelligently done, satisfying ones, turned into absolutely braindead generic collecting a thousand of an item. This is a case of quantity over quality here. Why having to put effort into thinking for something with taste, when you can pour man-hours into slapping a billion feathers in completely random and uninteresting places? Secrets in modern games is executed through budget instead of talent, that is pretty sad. But the casuals love completely their list of tasks, like some little drones, it makes them feel like they accomplished something, say the experts. So there we are now.

    Whales exploiting has been already mentioned in the thread, so there's no need to talk about it. We know about it. One cool fact about this is that there are actual studies and conventions that teach developers how to properly exploit whales; they go quite in the detail, talking about psychology and tricking the brain. Hard stuff. If only they used 1% of the effort they are spending for figuring it out the human brain, into actually making a good game, they'd probably be making bigger profits in the long run.

    Our focus testing standard for AAA is also funny. It doesn't matter if the game is aimed at a casual crowd, if it's very hardcore, or even competitive. The publisher demands the focus-testing will exclusively be done on people who have never touched a videogame before. Because analysts who have never played a game in their lives apply their studies from other industries. We often have games getting changed completely mid-development, generally being dumbed down, because of focus testing results. Of course this does not work because you need to be making a casual game from the grounds up, you cannot just tweak the numbers to make it appealing to a different crowd. As Rising Thunder has most recently proven. Casuals are still getting destroyed as hard as they would in any execution-based fighter, and they quit in frustration for getting perfected. So your games end up in this middle state where they have good base mechanics/a good engine in theory, but they are never really used in the actual game, or the difficulty is so low that you never really need to make a use of entire mechanics.

    We have free/cheaper games yet they come loaded with so much bullshit that it makes you wish they offered a one-package purchase if they removed said bullshit, which brings us back to square one.

    Speaking of square one, here is a step back, the quality of games on day-one. Remember how the big push for online meant that you could develop games in a better environment, because you could always fix them after shipping? Well, ironically enough, this very opportunity has made the industry as a whole skip the QC part of their process and as a result of online patching, we have more nonfunctional games than when we didn't. On top of that, this became the standard. We have developers throwing a tantrum because consumers are upset the game they paid for doesn't work. And this is what happens when your main audience are low-investment folk: they don't care, they have no standards, they make companies lazy.

    Casuals got sold on paying for peer2peer connections, despite already paying for their internet. Another now-standard, an additional tax to add to all the pile as a result of people not understanding what the fuck they are buying.

    Casuals are also responsible for the death of entire genres (RTS, survival, bullet hell, horror, realistic driving sims), and the stagnation of others (tempted to list every existing genre in here, but I'll just say MMO, RPG, FPS, and Puzzle as the biggest offenders). Casuals did not push for new genres to be invented. Everything made for casuals is pretty much an existing game archetype with things stripped out. Especially disappointing is the puzzle genre, which could have bloomed into amazing levels given the new crowd. The few innovative and amazing puzzle games we got (notably space chem, infinifactory, catherine), are more anti-casual than doing a "never walk right" run of Super Mario.

    But wait, casuals brought in the numbers, so that games could have a lot of production value and be like movies' deformed brother! That's right. The videogame industry despises videogames because it wants to become like the movie industry. And by "movie industry" I only mean the generic hollywood action type of movies, the most shallow one, and generally the lowest received from film critics. That in itself is just hilarious in so many levels, hearing a studio putting out statements like "we aren't making just a silly game", in disgust, "we're making an experience, more like a movie".

    The bottom line is, if you weight the pros and cons of what a 95% casual - 5% enthusiast ratio has brought us, the results are essentially entirely detrimental to an enthusiast. Just like in every field, catering to the lowest common denominator is detrimental to the enjoyment ceiling of said thing. The bar has been lowered, while the entry level is flooded with shit and scams. This is a reality. Today we just have less deep games than we did when this industry was 1/10th of what it is today, and with an infinitesimal rate of releases . You would think, as the industry gets bigger, every type of consumer gets satisfied more, right? Wrong. Everyone will just cannibalize the majority market, no matter if that majority is 51% or 99.99%, because retarded modern business mentality. Many AAA studios even admit their stagnant, copy-pasted soulless games do not sell, yet they "adapt" to this problem by moving over to the mobile market, like a parasite consuming one corpse after another.

    Welcome with open arms casuals, now go and get robbed of your phone money, while your influence indirectly makes my games, that you were not interested into in the first place, worse!

    (sorry for the slightly long post, the casual game I've been playing momentarily forbid me to play further and so I needed to kill time)
     
    Last edited by Steena, Sep 19, 2015
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  9. Flame

    Flame Me > You

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    for the sheer effort im gonna agree with you and give you a like.
     
    Last edited by Flame, Sep 19, 2015
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  10. MrJason005

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    Aren't you being too harsh towards the casuals? It's the companies' fault.
     
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  11. WatchGintama

    WatchGintama GBAtemp Maniac

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    I'd like someone to dis mobile games after sitting down and playing Puzzles and Dragons, Mabinogi Duel, Phantom of the Kill, Monster Strike, TERRA BATTLE, etc. The only valid reasoning is that micro transactions can suck if done incorrectly. Or the stamina which can be easily played around. And if you're paying $60 on a Wii U game, spending money on Gacha shouldn't be a problem.
     
    Last edited by WatchGintama, Sep 19, 2015
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  12. Prans
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    Prans Geek, gamer, human

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    Thanks a lot for your thoughts @Steena! Having a completely different approach towards casuals and sharing and supporting your views is definitely an eye opener.

    However like @MrJason005 put it, it's not really the casuals' fault. They play what they are given, what's most accessible, mostly without any prior knowledge of video game types. If it brings in the targeted audience and the resulting cash, it works for the companies. No need to invest in elaborate games. Just make sequels, prequels, pre-prequels, and collections and what not, they'll cash it all in. However, if the newcomers want different types of games, then the game makers would have to make a move toward it. Here we see the need of some form of 'gaming education'. As of now, it's virtually non-existant. Just what's trending now will be downloaded/tried to by the new gamer. But if we do our share and 'educate' those newcomers, slowly there might be a change of attitude by current gamers and game makers.
     
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  13. Foxi4

    Foxi4 On the hunt...

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    My opinion on casual gaming is very simple - it doesn't exist. If you play video games as a hobby, you're a gamer, if you don't or only play them to kill time without investing much money into them, you're a normal person. There's no such thing as a "casual reader" or "casual watcher", I don't see how video games would be any different. The days of gaming being considered a pass time for children or nerds is over, it's not a secret treehouse club anymore, it's an accepted medium and attempting to create castes or dividing people into "real gamers" and "casual gamers" is just a symptom of snobbery.
     
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  14. Hyperstar96

    Hyperstar96 GBAtemp Regular

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    This article would have been a lot more relevant about four years ago... no one feels the need to talk about "the upcoming casual threat" anymore. It's been long established that this sense of casual gaming is here to stay and will continue to seep its way into more traditional gaming, whether we like it or not.

    Seriously, I'm confused as to why this article exists.
     
  15. HaloEffect17

    HaloEffect17 Splatoon Fan

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    Just looking the first photo... who actually puts their hand in their pocket with their thumb in the belt loop of their jeans? LOL. :lol:
     
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  16. VinsCool

    VinsCool Possibly Insane

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    Hmmm I always do that :mellow:
     
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  17. DarkCoffe64

    DarkCoffe64 Bo

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    There are no games on mobile. I mean, REAL games. Sure, maybe there's a few here and there, but most of what I played with my tablet were "games" that looked more
    like minigames of WarioWare. You wanna real mobile gaming? Grab a PSP/3DS/Whatever. About Causal gamers, what Foxi4 said.
     
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  18. StriderVM

    StriderVM GBAtemp Fan

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    Please do not hate other people for what they know. It's better to educate them.

    Elitism doesn't really help anything but divide us. Trolls thrive on such things as well.
     
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  19. TecXero

    TecXero Technovert

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    Every form of media has variety. If I don't like a game, I simply won't play it. I'm not going to judge others just because they like something I don't or don't like something I do. I don't care if they're "casual" or "hardcore". As long as they're not hurting others or shoving their tastes down others' throats, then I don't see the problem.

    Though I'll judge anybody harshly that likes Other M. I'll judge them so hard. :P
     
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  20. HaloEffect17

    HaloEffect17 Splatoon Fan

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    I like the box art of Other M. :lol:
     
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