Do all hardcore PC gamers look down on casual gaming?

Do all hardcore PC gamers look down on casual gaming?

Summary: Are PC gamers who choose fighting wars on terrorism or slaying aliens with an overclocked, liquid-cooled desktop elitists who thumb their noses at those whose gaming interests tend toward building farms? A polemical post on the Games Brief blog argues just that.

SHARE:
TOPICS: Hardware, Mobility
35

Are PC gamers who choose fighting wars on terrorism or slaying aliens with an overclocked, liquid-cooled desktop elitists who thumb their noses at those whose gaming interests tend toward building farms? A polemical post on the Games Brief blog argues just that.

Nicholas Lovell argues that those who sneer at the runaway success of casual gaming, which you'll often find on Facebook and which has a majority audience of female and over-30 players, are snobs who can't handle the fact that 233 million people play games from leading casual gaming developer Zynga each month. And he dismisses claims that casual game companies are stealing ideas and dumbing down PC gaming with the argument: If something's so popular, then there must be merit in it. In comparison:

I think that making incredibly expensive, hard-to-play games that require proprietary hardware and prior experience to enjoy is a dumb way of providing gaming entertainment to a global audience.

While I see Lovell's point that there is something inherent in social gaming construction that provides its players with enjoyment -- and that it could be applied to "hardcore" PC games -- I'm not sure that makes everyone who appreciates the artistry and effort that has gone into Dragon Age and Mass Effect a snob. It may just be that the gaming industry has evolved to a point where there's a mainstream audience and a specialized one, just like there is in movies, music, or any other form of entertainment.

Of course, there are some who will dismiss casual games, but painting all serious PC gamers with a broad brush is just as dismissive, even if it's in the name of some sort of populism. Just because you may not get enjoyment out of a FarmVille or Mafia Wars does not make you elitist; it just means that you get enjoyment out of different types of games for different reasons. Maybe you enjoy spending your money on the fastest hardware because you like playing games with the latest and greatest graphics. Maybe you enjoy different types of game play that casual gaming can't produce -- first-person shooters that rely on split-second action, or racing sims that provide maximum accuracy.

What do you think? Are serious PC gamers elitist snobs? Is there any merit to casual games? Let us know in the Comments section.

[Via TG Daily]

Topics: Hardware, Mobility

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.

Talkback

35 comments
Log in or register to join the discussion
  • A teeny bit unfair

    Thanks for commenting on my post, Sean.

    I'd just like to say that I don't think that not liking Zynga's games is elitist; I think that sneering at those who do like Zynga's game is elitist.

    Ther is a world of difference.
    nlovell
  • Every hard-core gamer I know, hates "casual gaming"

    And will go on for hours on how casual gaming has destroyed the industry, how Wii has devastated gaming for "real gamers", how the iPod Touch/iPhone have no "real" games and people that play them are idiots that know nothing about games, how Facebook has set the gaming industry back 10 years...

    They all complain about important resources being pulled away from "real" games to worthless projects for "the masses". I had one friend point to Duke Nukem as an example of important games that have failed to ship because of casual gaming. He siad I could not understand his point (what, is gaming like riding a Harley now?) when I tried to explain Duke slipped years before the "casual gaming" experience.

    Calling them elitist is an understatement.
    Bruizer
    • In other words

      You know a bunch of anti-social idiots who's only life is in games and can't survive in the real world.
      wackoae
    • RE: Do all hardcore PC gamers look down on casual gaming?

      @Bruizer
      I stopped riding motorcycles 17-years-ago, then started again this past June.

      You know what? The Harley guys aren't snobs anymore, and rather than ignore or insult (I ride a 1980 Suzuki GS850G) they now wave, talk, and in general (there are always exceptions) are genuinely nice people.

      Gaming is like that too. Used to be all gamers were outside the fringe, as game-capable systems were expensive, temperamental and required a whole lot of geek-cred to configure, often FOR EACH INDIVIDUAL GAME. Motorcycles (including Harley) were the same way.

      Then along came Honda in the 60s, much like Zynga today. The once esoteric passtime became mainstream, and the hard core rebelled. In the 1980s Harley riders most definitely did NOT wave to riders of other marques, just as hard core gamers today diss on the many fans of Farmville etc.

      Give it time. Just as many Harley riders also share garage space with a Honda, so too are many hard core gamers also likely to play Hearts or even Farmville when not stopping a blight or going after The Collectors.
      Asiafish
    • The one's I know

      @Bruizer
      ...would disagree with all of that. In fact I know a lot of them that play social games on FB. Mostly they gravitate towards games that are complex (such as StarFleet Commander).
      I also disagree with the term "Hard Core Gamer". There are gamers that prefer a PC, others that prefer set top boxes and other's on FB. When it comes down to it I think you could find people in any area or platform that would consider themselves to be "hard core".
      kwabinalars
    • RE: Do all hardcore PC gamers look down on casual gaming?

      @Bruizer

      Not just Bruser here but all these haters who just don't see whats happening. Look to the Big Crash caused by Atari and Nintendo, (yes Nintendo also saved teh gaming industry spawning the 3 generation systems of the gaming era), in the mid 80's. the industry just about died, but later recovered in about 5 years time, with the advent of Sega DreamCast, Playstation 1, and Nintendo 64! Just think and wake up. PC gaming never died, it slow'd yes, but never died like the console did. Console systems are destine to die, and the reason is that they keep pushing the limits, and abilities of the software engines. when the Console Gamers start seeing the caps on there beloved Wii's, PS3's and xBox, xBox mostly becuase the platform is so close to PC, the PC gaming market will explode, but it will do so slowly.

      We PC gamers are seeing a Flux in the market, and how many new people are playing PC games now only becuase of xBox. They find there buddies in xBox Live who use Windows Live, and then hang out, do a few PC lan parties, and Slammin, you have an xBox Lover now converting to PC. Don't defend this, becuase you know it is true. Console developers are doing a great job for sure, but they don't realize if they don't chill, then the console gamers (The wanna-Be Gamers as thought by PC gamer junkies like myself), will get bored and see just how much a Game can be, and will go to the PC because of it.

      these Console and Web Based applications you see on facebook and Myspace, only help the gaming industry mature, and the Facebook and Myspace like games are as said. Casual games that can be played anywhere there is an internet connnection available. They aren't slimming down the PC market at all, all they are doing is bringing a new style of gaming to the industery, and as much as I hate to say it, only broaden the PC and Consoles equally to new types of gaming. But on the other note, this brings more people to the interest, much like the Console benefits, plug in insert game play formula that makes Console Thrive! In all aspects, this casual gaming has every potential to push people to the PC in the end, that is where all real gamers go anyway. there are the crowds that do honestly play for one purpose, to kill a few minutes of time before something else comes around. However these people will never convert to PC anyway, so stop the complaining and open your mind Extreme gamers who think that there is nothing to do in life, but spend g's on PC hardware, and waste days before stepping outside because that guy who is beter then you was finally defeated ounce. Yes My PC is about 3 Grand as a whole, but in no way do I think that PC markets in gaming have died, nor have they been influenced by lessor games, Consoles are what is making it happen, and web based apps are not even going to inflict any inspiration to PC gaming at all. get off teh Acid Fellas, and open your mind!! If you think that PC's games are slimming down becuase of lessor Casual games on Facebook, maybe it is time to look at you game closers and see just how much is going on. PC andother Computer gaming isn't what is though to be Graphically pretty, yes they help kep you interested looking for new things in teh complex environments, but really, what makes PC gaming happen is just how much is going on in the mechanical potions of the games. Maybe it is time to stop buying those Mainstream, Big name companies that only sell the name. things like CoD, yse it is a great game over all, but what does it really offer? A console style gaming, only optimized because it can now be used on the Mouse and other more efficient control device.

      Remember you to use to think that pC gaming was lame and over-rated becuase your Favorite atari game was good enough for you at the time? Now look at you, you matured with the industry and because a slave, doing exactly what they wanted you to do in the first place, get into Computer gaming! this is what these other games are all about. developers know where it is at, but they, like any business model, push the easy sales, advertise with the platform and sponsorships on teh bottom of the boxes and commercials, displaying what the software has in it, what systems it plays on, and has screen shots of both in the restpective places. Next time you are at teh Department store, hawk shops like Gamestop, or online shopping stores, just compare teh marketing campaigns, all the search results if you use generic terms like bioshock with no platform name, and you can easily see comparisons of visual Experience, and game play
      Ez_Customs
  • Um. Yes

    As a gamer, I despise flash based games with a passion. Zynga especially. Those aren't games, they're 'toys' for kids.

    Go big, or go home.
    The one and only, Cylon Centurion
    • So you're . . .

      @NStalnecker <br><br>Admitting that you're an a$$? :)
      JLHenry
    • RE: Do all hardcore PC gamers look down on casual gaming?

      @NStalnecker - I don't like Flash based games because they use Flash, but some of my favorite casual games (read as games that don't go on forever) are based in Flash so really I have no choice.

      That said, "hard core gamers" seem to forget that all games came from a common root. Quarter arcade games from the 1970s. I spent many hours plugging quarters into those games.

      Ah Tank Commander, PacMan, DigDug, Asteroids and Space Invaders, what have they done to you? :)
      PollyProteus
  • RE: Do all ******** PC gamers look down on casual gaming?

    Anybody who consider themselves a "h.a.r.d.c.o.r.e" gamer (for whatever platform) is a person suffering from an addiction and is very likely a person with social problems.<br><br>Games are for entertainment .... nothing to take serious.
    wackoae
    • I disagree

      @wackoae

      Gamers are not always "addicted" and suffer from social problems. I consider myself a hardcore gamer (nothing but the best hardware, etc...), yet I lead a normal and very active social life outside of the digital realm.

      Now on the other hand, I do know gamers that do not. But it isn't everyone.
      The one and only, Cylon Centurion
      • And yet

        I know a few people that play Zynga all day long. Gotta get their Cafe World to top notch and make sure their Vampire Wars Clan is up to 501.
        Social games. Social problems? In my opinion No. People play games for some kind of interactive experience. It used to be that people would lock themselves for days in games by themselves. But over time it has become painfully obvious that the most successful games are ones with a high level of sociality built in. WoW is arguably the most successful game ever made (I base that on the fact that it has 11.5 million (and growing as of May this year) monthly subscribers who PAY every month to play it). Most people that are heavy WoW players do it because they have a close relationship with the people they play it with. There are many people that start off playing it alone. The very nature of the game gives them reasons to become social with other players. Social problems you say, doubtful.
        kwabinalars
      • RE: Do all hardcore PC gamers look down on casual gaming?

        @NStalnecker

        I consider myself a recovering computer gaming addict even though it has been many years since I played Everquest. I still play games. My system isn't anything to brag about (if I could I would have the best hardware etc but family takes priority in my book--wife and kids). In fact, the only thing I could brag about my system is that I could play WoW while using less than 100 Watts, but that comes with a price such as the computer has to have the graphics features near minimum....

        I too know of both gamers who seem to have balance in their lives. And others that cannot seem to get away from the computer to really live a life of their own.

        Can games be addicting? Yes. Computer. Console. And even board games at times.

        I think your comment caught my interest a bit because I know of a few gamers that have the best hardware and no real social life. And so it is refreshing to know that there are those of us who do more than computer games.

        And, yes, I still dream of a owning a gaming rig of my own. I just need to increase my income before that happens. For example, right now it is hard provide for those growing kids and my wife's needs. I know she complains that she falls on the bottom of the list for getting what she wants. If I were to start listing all that I want and don't get, it will only foster anger and I don't want that. So I think it better to focus on what I can do to make things better for our family and then perhaps someday I can have a nice gaming rig connected to a large flat screen television (I do dream!).
        dedrizen
    • RE: Do all hardcore PC gamers look down on casual gaming?

      @wackoae Anybody who makes broad generalizations about a group of people is likely to be wrong. I consider myself a hardcore gamer. I have a job, a girlfriend, and lots of friends who either don't game or are casual gamers. You can have a passion for something without being addicted to it.
      GrumpyOldMan
  • RE: Do all hardcore PC gamers look down on casual gaming?

    I think both types of games have their place. The hard core games are great, but require a lot of time investment. Often people with busy lifestyles just can't afford that much time investment.

    And sometimes you just want to play for a few minutes, rather than playing for hours. Which is a perfect time for a casual game.

    Yeah, I had to learn to ignore the all too often snobbish attitudes of the hard core gamers.

    Me? I play to have fun, that's how I like to play.
    CobraA1
    • Exactly . . .

      @CobraA1

      Although, I will admit, as I've gotten older, my love for Non-violent games has increased . . . I find it more challenging to create than destroy . . .
      JLHenry
  • Can somebody tweak the filter?

    Can somebody tweak the swear filter for this? Every time we talk games, it blanks out the word.
    CobraA1
    • I *****

      @CobraA1 <br><br>This ****** is rather ******** at best. I **** to **** what is wrong with the word ********? It's not **** we're ******* *** here.

      Sheesh. ****************************************
      The one and only, Cylon Centurion
      • Now THAT'S a post . . .

        @NStalnecker

        I can agree with!!!!! :)
        JLHenry
  • RE: Do all hardcore PC gamers look down on casual gaming?

    I think casual games have a purpose, but so do the serious games. Each for their own reasons. For me, (yes I play a little Farmville), casual games offer the quick fix when you don't want to invest dozens of hours on a campaign. But on the flip side, there are times I might want to do exactly that.
    But as a whole, I do see the entire gaming market starting to dumb down a bit and become a little like WalMart or your local Dollar Store -- quick fixes on the cheap.
    To me, I started seeing the "gaming erosion" start a bit over 10 years ago with the onset of games like Deer Hunter and Sims. But also saw an growing group of computer savvy indie programmers (thus where Flash and Java became handy for that quick fix). It's only multiplied since then.
    It's both a blessing (more people able to write games) and a curse (fewer people able to write true cutting-edge games).
    ZStoner