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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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  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 30, 2006 @06:51PM (#16011586)
    I tend to see this more and more nowadays. Yes, there's networked games like MMORPGs and FPS'ers but I think it goes beyond that. We're talking gaming as a spectator sport where a group of friends gather 'round some guy playing GTA solo.

    Incidentally, I see a similar trend in web-surfing. Some guy surfing through interesting/funny/lame sites while a group spectate him or her.

    I don't understand it completely. When I game, it's me against the computer...or someone on the other side of the network. No audience. Even in LAN parties, people have a chance to PLAY together, not just to watch someone else play.

    When I surf slashdot, there isn't a crowd behind me going "oooh man, you're really gonna say that?"

    What's going on here? Is it an after-effect of the prevalence of TV?
  • Ebay it (Score:3, Interesting)

    by rsilvergun ( 571051 ) on Wednesday August 30, 2006 @07:13PM (#16011730)
    There's no reason to buy games new if you're a casual player. I've got 60+ ps2 games off ebay. Some have sucked, some have been really good. But at less then $10 dollars a head (many less than $6), I can afford to take some risks.
  • Re:Money (Score:3, Interesting)

    by amuro98 ( 461673 ) on Wednesday August 30, 2006 @07:17PM (#16011758)
    I don't think money is the only important aspect.

    For instance, Yahoo and other sites offer free games (online & otherwise) which are often sponsored by ads. While no money is being spent by the gamer in this case, you can be sure that the longer he plays on such sites, the more money he's generating for the website in question.

    Realistically, I think you would have to consider a graph where "money spent" makes up one axis, and "time spent" is the other. This means you could have a heavy spender, who doesn't actually play much ("the collector") and on the other extreme you'd have someone who spends 4-5 hours a day playing a free game. And if you further explored the TYPE of games played by these people (eg. FPS/action/arcade, RPG/adventure, puzzle/card/board) you'd see further patterns.
  • Re:Money (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Ruff_ilb ( 769396 ) on Wednesday August 30, 2006 @07:31PM (#16011832) Homepage
    What you're thinking of (the time v money idea) can be evolved to provide a total image of profit for the parent company in question, especially for MMOs.

    Consider the ideal MMO player for Blizzard: You're probably thinking of the hardcore dungeon crawler eager to get their hands on the latest loot and run the latest instances. In all reality, this is the absolute WORST player for blizzard. They're forced to constantly release new content for this player, listen to them whine, and fix bugs that don't affect the casual gamer. They also play much, MUCH more, which is where the real problem for blizzard comes in - if a hardcore WoWer plays 4 hours a day, they're using up the bandwidth of 4 casual players who play ~1 hour a day. Thus, the ideal population for blizzard consists solely of casual gamers who will pay their $whatever a month and buy every expansion, but not actually spend that much time playing.

    Note that, while the above example is a clear MMO one, the same concept applies to ALL games; Valve, for example, also has to support bandwidth costs, and all companies have to support development costs for new content, whether in the form of expansions, patches, or periodic/episodic material.

    It's hard to argue that hardcore gamers represent health in a particular game, either; look at the Splinter Cell Chaos Theory multiplayer mode - most of the people playing it are totally hardcore, and that game has no more than 200 people playing it any particular night. It's clear that the presence of hardcore gamers indicates that a given game is doing well.

    Thus, money really IS the only important aspect in the long run, but in order to calculate that figure, you have to take into account your initial analysis of how much money is spent by each gamer, and then consider the amount of money they effectively block the company from getting based on the amount of the game they play.
  • Social Gaming: SWG (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Telepathetic Man ( 237975 ) on Wednesday August 30, 2006 @10:51PM (#16012825)
    The social gaming aspect of Star Wars Galaxies was great. They had four master-able professions that actually specialized in it before they threw it all away. I still don't understand their reasonings of getting rid of the entertainer aspect of the game. What a waste of code that drew a large crowd which I think was the glue that held it all together.
  • Controller size (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Z34107 ( 925136 ) on Thursday August 31, 2006 @01:56AM (#16013635)

    I hate it when people whine about a controller being too big. My hands, although not monstrous, seem to be larger than average - Gamecube controllers hurt. I loved the Dreamcast and Xbox controllers because they felt comfortable, and have to buy mice large enough so that my index and middle fingers don't drag across the mousepad.

    What would be nice is what Microsoft did - release the regular Xbox controller and the "mini" version for people with scrawny, insignificant digits.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 31, 2006 @05:45AM (#16014259)
    Game developers are hitting their target pretty much every time; a game that the publisher will pay for.

    Game publishers are the ones who staying on the same old safe genres.
  • by Aladrin ( 926209 ) on Thursday August 31, 2006 @07:41AM (#16014596)
    They forgot 1 type, though... The aging, frustrated gamer. At 29 years, I'm finding I like the beginning of the game... Casual, leisurely part where you mostly just have fun and get to know how things work. Once I get to the 'hard for the sake of hard' parts, I lose interest.

    Even FINDING a game worth playign is getting hard. I borrowed a friend's x360 (friends don't let friend play xbox... -sigh-) and he had Ninety Nine Nights. I -love- Dynasty/Samurai warriors. It's one of the few games I play more than 20 hours before getting bored when a new one comes out. NNN gets stupidly hard right away. The bosses are just a constant 'attack, attack, jump back.' If you try anything else, you die. I made it a few levels in before an area with 2 bosses in a row frustrates me until I quit.

    I also bought Kameo (as a gift back, for letting me borrow the box) and it's better, but still pretty boring. Every new plot twist means the same thing... 'Use the new elemental you just got to pass the next area.' -yawn- There have been no 'neat' puzzles or anything. It's all just pretty straight forward. Even the hint system gets bored. (A remarkable insight by the devs, I'd say.)

    I'm actually considering giving him back the box early. An entire game system with nothing for me! Amazing.

    Anyhow, they're missing the 7th market almost totally... The Frustrated Gamer. Bring on the fun-for-the-sake-of-fun games! (I'm hoping the Wii is our console, but I'm not holding my breath.)

"Never face facts; if you do, you'll never get up in the morning." -- Marlo Thomas