I figure it makes sense to write a few live thoughts as I’m listening since it’s turning into a pretty lively discussion. This may be the only way that I’ll be able to keep up with the rapid-fire conversation.
Some interesting threads of conversation that I’m hearing so far:
Another interesting thread of conversation is about ‘social games’ (mostly built on facebook). The core question: are they really social? Hrm. My answer: not really. The games have a viral acquisition model. But these people are not really playing together. Their worlds don’t intertwine any more than the game requires them to ask eachother for help to get more resources and points.
(A mild critique: the way these slides are written is such that we keep debating the semantics of what these game types are. But that’s less important to me, and less interesting in general. What’s really interesting is the ‘WHY.’ Why are people different kind of gamers? What makes them tick? Which one segment is growing faster?)
It seem that a proposed answer to bridging the gap between core and casual: free-to-play. Casual gamers can jump in for free. Hardcore gamers can get ‘more out of the experience’ by paying for extras. Interesting.
What hasn’t been addressed yet that really has me thinking: what makes a gamer more of a ‘core gamer’ vs. a ‘casual gamer?’ What is it inside of us that makes some people get DEEP into a gaming experience as compared to others who get bored after a couple minutes of a gaming experience? Is it socialized behavior (Nature)? Or is it just born-in personality traits (Nurture)?
The big question I’m left with; which segment is winning? There has been remarkable growth in the casual gaming world (particularly in mobile). The big thing I’m wrestling with is: what does that mean? Are casual games going to take over, or will they be the gateway drug that eventually creates more hardcore gamers worldwide?
I am currently at the Rise of Social Commerce conference here in Palo Alto. I was just listening to a talk by Manny Anekal, the Director of Brand Advertising over at Zynga. He said something that really struck me. He said that the hardcore gamer is being redefined.
This is near and dear to my heart because I consider myself one of the ‘hardcore gamers of the old guard.’ It’s something I take pride in, actually. Although I guess I am a little bit over the hill these days. The typical hardcore gamer is a 18-24 year old male.
Anyway, apparently there is a new hardcore gamer in town. It’s the 40-year-old mom. According to Manny, this new hardcore gamer is engaged the most in the world of casual social games (like the kind that Zynga makes). Accordingly, she also purchases the most in the way of virtual goods.