Casual social video games are huge in the world of gaming right now. They’ve impacted the public in a way other video game genres rarely have. But is this impact a bust or boon for the gaming industry as a whole? Well, as an avid and sometimes hardcore gamer, I thought I’d share some of my thoughts on the matter.
First however, let me describe what I mean by casual social video games.
Casual social video games are games such as:
Absolutely huge right now in the world of social online games—especially in Europe—it thrives off social platforms such as Facebook.
Seemingly everyone’s favorite social cell phone game of the moment, it’s quickly replaced Words with Friends as everyone’s favorite down time activity.
The veritable titan of casual video games, this app broke mobile video games wide open in 2009.
There are literally hundreds more, but I believe you get the gist. Here are some games I wouldn’t classify as casual social video games:
The titan of MMO(RPG)s, even my grandmother has apparently heard of it these days.
A hugely popular release of the popular video game mod Dota (Defense of the Ancients), which combines PVP (player versus player), RTS (real time strategy), and single unit control.
The second edition of another one of Blizzard’s cult favorite titles, Star Craft. This pure RTS title has been a reigning force in the video game world since it first released all the way back in 1998.
Alright, so in case it’s not obvious, let me explain why these aren’t causal social video games. The operating word here would be casual. Games like WoW, LoL and SCII attract a much more hard core fandom base. So, while a casual could actually pick them up and even likely enjoy them, the games themselves have a tendency toward the hardcore.
So, how do I feel about the explosion of casual social video games into the gaming market? Well, much like most of you I had an instinctual urge to scorn it—if not downright hated of them.
I’ve been gaming since nearly before I could walk, and to watch a bunch of kiddies come along and turn casual social video games into a very real market of gaming just seems….wrong. And yet, is that merely the elitist in me talking? After some serious analytical thinking, I’m afraid it might be. And let me tell you why.
1) Video games are awesome
Video games are awesome. I know this, and you probably do too. So, if it takes some casual social video games to spread around the love, so be it.
2) Casual gaming won’t ruin hardcore games
We’ve all heard how casual gamers ruin it for hardcore gamers. They come in and put their soft little paws on our amazingly fun and challenging games, and next thing you know the gets nerfed down to their level. Well, I don’t really buy this.
Any video game willing to nerf their content to suit casuals wasn’t really hardcore to begin with. There’s nothing wrong with making the game a little more accessible, but at the end of the day I believe there’s always a higher level out there made specifically for hardcore gamers. So, casual games/gamers won’t, in my opinion, ruin hardcore games.
3) Casual gaming could be a stepping stone to a larger hardcore game market
As casual gamers mature it’s possible they’ll evolve into hardcore gamers themselves. You never know when a fan of Angry Brids or Farmerama will develop a more serious video game palette. And the more who’re involved in the hardcore video game world, the larger our market will be. And more video games is something I’ve never disparaged.
4) Gaming is becoming more socially acceptable
Truly it wasn’t that long ago that referring to yourself as a gamer would carry a social stigma. Now however, many people not only know more about video games, but are slowly embracing them as well. And, as much as I hate to admit it, I hated telling people I didn’t know well about my love of video games. Because nothing is worse than feeling socially scorned during a first impression.
After thinking logically about casual video games and their spread through multiple social platforms, I’m glad they’re around. I hope they help propagate all video games, and further saturate social media. Because when it comes to video games, I firmly believe the more the merrier.
Author Bio: Simon Messler is a gaming fanatic who will play any game any time. It does not matter if it is on a PC, a console, a dedicated gaming handheld, a cell phone, or a web browser. Simon loves writing and blogging about his passion and promoting discussion in the gaming world.