Kohler Talks Wii and Gamer Types, CliffyB’s Bro QQs

Chris Kohler has an excellent article explaining his understanding of types of gamers and what this means for the ‘console war’:

Before blue oceans and innovators’ dilemmas, the “casual gamer” was the guy who played Xbox but wasn’t a game nerd. He’ll play Halo with his buddies for hours. But the new definition of “casual gamer” is your grandma. She loves “Cooking Mama.” Tyler B thinks she is ruining gaming.

These are two very distinct groups. Add them to the other two types of game console buyer and you’ve got four groups who are all affected very differently by fluctuations in price and hardware power.

Kohler then details the characteristics of each type of gamer: the Hardcore Gamer, the Casual Gamer, the Expanded Audience, and Kids. It’s well worth a read.

Meanwhile, there was a hilarious rant/whinge by Tyler Bleszinski, who is only important in this context because he’s Cliffy “Gears of War” Bleszinski’s brother, last week on Newsweek’s Level Up blog. In this article, CliffyB’s brother whines about how the Wii will present a “direct threat” to his hobby if grandmothers and other people who are traditionally non-gamers keep buying Wiis:

If Nintendo has its way, young males will no longer be the dominant segment of the console audience–and this transition appears to be happening faster than I expected.

Oh noes! Sound the alarm bells! A young male is threatened by the prospect of developers no longer creating games just for him! I would like to think that this would be some sort of epiphany for CliffyB’s brother, a moment realisation of what the non-target segements of the market experience as a reality today, but he seems to be too interested in his ‘dominant’ gaming needs to pay attention.

So while the business of the Wii has great for Nintendo–surprise, surprise–and a handful of risk-takers like Ubisoft, it’s thus far been ugly when it comes to the experiences beloved by core gamers like myself.

CliffyB’s brother is displaying a rather arrogant sense of entitlement. Would you like some cheese with your whine, oh brother of CliffyB?

And should the product portfolios of major publishers become a zero-sum game, her tastes will represent a direct threat to my longtime hobby.

I sincerely believe that bringing new people to video games is a good thing… But ultimately, going more mainstream can have unintended consequences–ones that could negatively impact the breadth and depth of the kinds of games that I love, as do millions of others.

Translation: “New gamers are only a ‘good thing’ if they like don’t encroach on my territory by demanding that game developers make games other than what I, as part of the ‘dominant’, ‘hardcore’ gaming demographic, enjoy”.

I believe games are already mainstream. Games started to become mainstream ever since Sony cracked that segment with the PlayStation, and it’s been widening ever since. If one looks at the definition of ‘hardcore’ and ‘casual’ in terms of the way Kohler outlined, we can see that CliffyB’s brother probably falls into the Hardcore Gamer category. The gamers that CliffyB’s brother is so afraid of are the Expanded Audience. The Casual Gamers are the frat boys and average Joes who don’t read industry news or blogs religiously, but they buy all the Grand Theft Auto games when they come out — these are the guys that CliffyB’s brother would probably lump into the Hardcore Gamer category. This Casual Gamer segment won’t go away, and I don’t think that the Wii and the Expanded Audience is as much of a threat as TylerB thinks it is. It may be too soon to say, anyway, as Kohler concludes.

  9 comments for “Kohler Talks Wii and Gamer Types, CliffyB’s Bro QQs

  1. 11 June 2007 at 12:11

    His theory of course shows a remarkable lack of any mathematical grasp. I mean, unless every grandma who plays Brain Age must eat a twentysomething Halo junkie of course.

  2. 11 June 2007 at 14:58

    You hit the nail on the head by pointing out that the frat boys and so on who buy every GTA (and Madden) out there are also casual gamers.

    This argument that the Wii is hurting games because it appeals to grandmas and girls (oh horrors!) is so tiresome. Open up the industry and you have more gamers period. Which means more money, more games, more job opportunities…

  3. 12 June 2007 at 00:34

    Basic economics says that if a developer can open to $150million in sales like I believe Halo 2 did, publishers will still cater to the young male market, however big the rest of the market gets.

    On the other hand, I can see the new casual market not expanding as fast as it might simply because the industry is still dominated by developers born with the hardcore gamer mentality. How many designers out there can or want to do another Bejewelled and how many would rather do another corridor FPS instead?

  4. SLabyrinth
    12 June 2007 at 11:08

    Oh, I laughed. And then I cackled. And then I was gleeful.

    I love how he equates games for women as crap. Yeah, because “Beyond Good and Evil” was crap. So was “Syberia”. And “The Sims” series.

    I’d rather play my “crap” games than his “good” games any day. “Crackdown”?! Are you serious? I wouldn’t play that game if the publishers paid me money.

  5. 12 June 2007 at 14:07

    Casual games arn’t the biggest threat to gaming, the biggest threat is everyone clamoring for inventive and artsy titles then not buying them.
    Panzer Dragoon Orta(only 120,000 sold worldwide)
    Loco Roco(already priced at 9.99 at many retailers)
    Okami(Horrendous sales in Japan, medicore here)
    Otogi series(under 50,000 sold total)
    Breakdown:Under 40,000

    Then “cars” sells 8 million in America only. LAME

  6. 13 June 2007 at 18:31

  7. 16 June 2007 at 16:58

    Statements like that make me wonder whether these people ever actually listen to themselves. You’d think they’d cringe to hear just how much they sound like a self-absorbed, spoiled toddler.

  8. 19 June 2007 at 16:12

    On the other hand, I can see the new casual market not expanding as fast as it might simply because the industry is still dominated by developers born with the hardcore gamer mentality.

    Which is precisely why I’m going to school to learn game design/producing. If current designers aren’t interested in that part of the market, it just means more profit for me! ;D

  9. 20 June 2007 at 06:05

    Wow, TylerB’s rant is quite possibly the most self-absorbed pointless whine I have ever read.

    He makes his arguments, counters them and when all is said and done it basically boils down to a bunch of prejudice (old people only like crap games) mingled with “I’ll be a minority. Waaaaah!”

    Sure, a lot of publishers will just publish cheap-concept games. That’s nothing new – take a look at EAs back catalogue. Gamers who want in-depth innovative gameplay are and always have been a minority. Luckily for TylerB, they’re also in power.

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