Not long ago, we talked about the core gamer here and discussed his--and occasionally her, but mostly his--impact on the gaming market as a whole. But something new has occurred to me, and it's largely related to where the core gamer might be heading in the near future.
Core gamers are largely console gamers. Yes, there are plenty of PC gamers out there, and they're certainly part of the core gamer mix. But two interesting bits of news jumped up together to coordinate a full-on strike on my senses.
One, I caught a bit about how Nonstop Games had raised just shy of $3 million in a bid to bring "core games
"--in particular its strategy title Heroes of Honor--to iOS
and Android app stores. That by itself was something that caught my attention; a clearly core game moving toward mobile devices was a little unusual as far as I was concerned. That was something by itself...but then I caught a bit about Warhammer 40K making a move to mobile, and that got me to thinking.
The idea of opening up the mobile device market, which is often seen as a bastion of casual gaming, to core gaming might be an idea worth considering. There are vastly more casual gamers out there than there are core gamers, and getting some of them converted to core would be a welcome boost for the industry as a whole. From there, of course, the question becomes how to get casual gamers interested in core gaming, and at least one answer is get core games on casual platforms.
Naturally, it's not the only answer. After all, the only problem isn't just getting games to the mobile gaming
crowd. The issue is also one of time; casual gamers often play games in small chunks, doing so in a casual fashion, hence the name. There may need to be a bit more of a redesign as games go--splitting them in to smaller bits, regularly instituting auto-saves and so on--but the basic idea remains, getting the games in front of the gamers should have at least some effect on getting those gamers to make the jump.
It's not foolproof, of course, and the next thing on game makers' plate should be to retool the concept of core gaming so that it can be served up in a fashion more palatable to casual gamers. Doing so will expand the market outward, and provide a very nice platform from which the future of gaming can really begin.
Additionally, it has the added effect of drawing core gamers to mobile devices. Yes, gamers have a lot of choices--Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Wii, Wii U, and PC--not to mention the upcoming next-gen consoles. But gamers can always migrate between systems if need be; consider the rise of Android-powered game boxes like the Ouya. Smartphones and tablets may well be where core gamers are headed too, but with the added difference that they'll stick around the core gaming sector.
There are many new possibilities that can come from developments like these, so we'll have to keep an eye out to see just which ones come around. But until then, there are still plenty of good games to enjoy in both directions: casual and core.