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Game Developers Missing Their Target? 184

wh0pper writes "Digital Trends is reporting that a recent survey finds that there aren't just 2 gamer markets, but instead a whopping 6. What does this mean? It means that game developers and publishers are ignoring a large portion of the gaming market by focusing on the traditional two segments: casual gamers and hardcore gamers. The 4 other game markets they identified are Social Gamers, Leisure Gamers, Dormant Gamers, Incidental Gamers. If you are wondering what those categories mean, the article gives descriptions of what each segment is. A surprising result from the survey is the importance of social gaming; video games are often considered a solitary activity, but Parks Associates' findings indicate a significant portion of the market views gaming as a social activity."
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Game Developers Missing Their Target?

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  • Splitting hairs (Score:2, Insightful)

    by stupidfoo ( 836212 ) on Wednesday August 30, 2006 @06:44PM (#16011538)
    WTF difference is their between a "Casual Gamer" and a "Leisure Gamer"?
  • Money (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 30, 2006 @06:52PM (#16011587)
    Dormant gamers make be 26% of the population, but they probably don't make up anywhere near 26% of the money spent on games, which is what really counts.
  • by cmonkey_1973 ( 844398 ) on Wednesday August 30, 2006 @06:53PM (#16011599)
    First of all, the article truncated to save your precious time:
    • Power gamers represent 11 percent of the gamer market but account for 30 cents of every dollar spent on retail and online games.
    • Social gamers enjoy gaming as a way to interact with friends.
    • Leisure gamers spend 58 hours per month playing games but mainly on casual titles. Nevertheless they prefer challenging titles and show high interest in new gaming services.
    • Dormant gamers love gaming but spend little time because of family, work, or school. They like to play with friends and family and prefer complex and challenging games.
    • Incidental gamers lack motivation and play games mainly out of boredom. However, they spend more than 20 hours a month playing online games.
    • Occasional gamers play puzzle, word, and board games almost exclusively.
    I was going to start hacking this to pieces, but it's so obvious I just can't be bothered any more.

    Bring us another transparent attempt for an outsider to seem authorative about the games industry, this one's broken.

  • Used to play ... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by anagama ( 611277 ) <obamaisaneocon@nothingchanged.org> on Wednesday August 30, 2006 @07:01PM (#16011650) Homepage
    I used to play and buy a lot of games. I'm from the Sierra Games generation though and maybe I just got older, but I find it hard to really get into games anymore. Once a year I'll pull out my Windows ME CD and install Civilization Call to Power -- play it for a week then go back to living. When I was in my teens and 20s, I played Deathtrack or Wing Commander till my joysticks wore out - every Leisure Suit Larry - tons of others I can't even remember. Now however, if I play a shooter on my PS2 for 30 minutes, my wrist and forearm aches for two days. I've tried adventure puzzle games but mostly, they are only modertately good -- something to do if there is nothing else to do and it barely costs anything. It's hard to find really compelling games that a fogey like me can play .... well, I'm only 37 but I can't take the repetitive game pad pounding anymore. And at $30-50 a pop, it's hard to justify the risk of buying something you can't return.

    Civilization is cool for me because it takes some thinking, is quite entertaining, but doesn't cause issues with hand overuse. It's a hard formula to match. Recently I tried Pirates of Carribean which seemed cool at first, but somehow just didn't capture my attention and hold it. Anyway, I imagine coming up with a game for people like me would be really hard to do successfully ... and then we'd just buy that one game and play it for many years as I've done with Civ-CTP which makes it hard for game companys to justify the development expense.
  • by d'fim ( 132296 ) on Wednesday August 30, 2006 @07:07PM (#16011698)
    "Social Gamers, Leisure Gamers, Dormant Gamers, Incidental Gamers"

    In other words, people who don't spend money on games.

    So TFA is about how the publishers "just" need to figure out how to create games which are good enough to sell to non-buyers.

    If only the publishers had thought of this themselves . . .
  • by ADRA ( 37398 ) on Wednesday August 30, 2006 @07:10PM (#16011707)
    Unlike anything else I saw, I bought a game cube after years and years of being a console hater. Why? Because I've a social gamer and nothing caters to my current gameing interests more than having a few friends coming over to play Mario party or Super Smash Bros, etc.

    When the survey says that these groups aren't being catered to, they're not exactly being truthful. There are games produced for social gamers and the other groups. The problem is they're recognized less when propped up against multi-million dollar time killers like Grand Theft Auto. Plus, just because there are gamers of six categories, it doesn't mean there's money to be made. Anyone who isn't in the 'hard-core' demographics are typically not heavy spenders in gaming. Maybe, the supply is already meeting demand. Is the article flamebait, or just oversimplifying the supply/demand balance?
  • Re:Splitting hairs (Score:5, Insightful)

    by complexmath ( 449417 ) * on Wednesday August 30, 2006 @07:11PM (#16011720)
    WTF difference is their between a "Casual Gamer" and a "Leisure Gamer"?

    I assume you meant "Leisure gamer" and "Dormant gamer." It's difficult to be sure, but my guess is that it has to do with the number of hours per month each spends playing games. Leisure gamers seem to spend a lot more time gaming than Dormant gamers, mostly because they have more free time. This distinction is arguably a bit silly, but it may apply to game design with respect to the length of an average gaming session. For example, a Leisure gamer might have the time for a raid in WoW while a Dormant gamer would not, even though both are interested in the same type of game.

    I do think the addition of a few more categories is a step forward however. For example, a lot of gamers would be considered power gamers in terms of how they approach gaming, but casual gamers in terms of available time (represented by "Leisure gamer" and "Dormant gamer" in the list). Blizzard seems to have been catering to power gamers with little end game content for casual gamers, beleiving that casual gamers will rarely make it that far. But this obviously ignores a rather large subset of players in the Dormant and Leisure categories. Social gamers are another category for which MMORPGs tend to have a lot of appeal, but they typically approach content with a more "casual" play style. Often, these players experience very little content for the time they spend online because they're more interested in roleplay or simply chatting.
  • by Conspiracy_Of_Doves ( 236787 ) on Wednesday August 30, 2006 @07:27PM (#16011814)
    Right, because all female gamers play the same kinds of games for the same reasons.
  • by kinglink ( 195330 ) on Wednesday August 30, 2006 @08:46PM (#16012235)
    Either 2 or 3 million or what ever the population of earth is now. Any time you have groups you'll always have room for more. that's why for a while we had libertarian Democrats and Conservative democrats and such.

    The simple fact is there really is two. Casual gamers and "serious" gamers. The casual gamer is a gamer who spends 10 bucks on a game some one who doesn't actually game as a hobby, but more as a "oh that's fun" idea. Then there's the "serious gamer" They are the ones who will buy video game systems, and upgrade computers for games.

    Sure there's people who are both or neither but honestly all the subdivisions are dealt with in other areas.

    In reality there's 4 type of gamer also. The Explorer, the Socializer, the Competitor, and the achiever. There pretty obvious (explore the whole map, Chat while playing, Beat others, beat goals). But the fact is when you build a game you try to target them all. The base fact though is these 4 have nothing to do with the casual or serious. It's just another way to categorize people.

    The 6 idea works but in the end people will realize there's only two main catagories and these are just subdivisions of them.
  • Re:Money (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Tuebit ( 999000 ) on Wednesday August 30, 2006 @09:09PM (#16012351) Homepage
    Probably quite true that they don't spend 26% of the money on games. But that's EXACTLY the point. As a group, they've probably got the same (potentially more) disposable income than, say, the power gamer group. Perhaps it's a stereotype, but I suspect the power gamer group is somewhat underemployed. The point of the 'Dormant' segment is that they don't spend on games. It raises the question (a question of interest to game developers) ... what does it take to get this group (and their money) back into the game. I'm a 'Dormant' gamer (formerly, heavy into multiple MMORPG's, a few FPS). I'm not any more. Just as the description of 'Dormant' gamer implies ... I'd like to play with family (well, not so much) and friends (definitely), but I don't have the time. I like deep complex games (many MMORPG's fall into this category, I think). I've got the disposable income. I've even got the desire to game ... I'm just waiting for a game that fits my needs. Now that my afflication has been labelled, when is someone going to come up with the treatment (a game for me).
  • Re:Money (Score:4, Insightful)

    by johnstein ( 602156 ) on Wednesday August 30, 2006 @09:59PM (#16012590) Journal
    Dormant gamers can be viewed as recovering alcoholics. They don't spend money on booze anymore, but the urge is still there (from what I've heard anyways). For dormant gamers, like me, who have tasted the addiction of video games, but for some reason or another have gotten out of the habit, the money is often there, but there hasn't been a good reason to get us back into gaming.

    The Wii has very effectively captured my attention, and I really think there are a lot of people out there like me, young professionals with some disposable income and a renewed interest in gaming.

    So you are true. We don't contribute nearly as much money, percentagewise, NOW. But the market is there ready to be tapped... Just give us a quality and original product instead of a lot of the same old stuff.
  • Re:Splitting hairs (Score:3, Insightful)

    by JKConsult ( 598845 ) on Wednesday August 30, 2006 @11:48PM (#16013098)
    I think you're pretty on with the distinction there. I probably fall into a combination of the categories (as I'm pretty sure many do): If I'm at a place where MarioKart is being played amongst many people, I will without a doubt sit down and whip ass, I don't play games a lot due to a lack of time (though I do own an XBox with ~10 games), and when I do, I rarely devote more than an hour to it.

    Like someone upthread, I was raised on Sierra games (Christmas in the (mid?) late 80s, I got a Tandy and King's Quest, and I own virtually every Sierra title up to KQ V; incidentally, that original KQ box is autographed by Roberta Williams, from the time I spent at a game design firm in the 90s), and I have to say that these days I miss games with a discrete set of problems, saveable at any time, where I can tackle one problem, save, and then come back in a few days. Too many games these days forget that people need to be able to save/restore at any point and at any time.

I was playing poker the other night... with Tarot cards. I got a full house and 4 people died. -- Steven Wright