Own 10 Or More Games On Steam? You Are Too Core For Many Developers

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Own 10 Or More Games On Steam? You Are Too Core For Many Developers

The debate of core gamer vs. casual gamer has been around for awhile now, but one developer was bold enough to say that, on the whole, core gamers as a group "don't matter" to most game developers any more.

You've probably seen the debates. Gamers with PCs and consoles argue their status as the most important demographic in the video game market, while mobile games and casual gamers are more on the periphery. According to a panel at GDC in San Francisco this week, the inverse may now be true.

Daniel Cook, founder of independent game developer Spry Fox, asked his audience how many owned 10 or more games on Steam. When most raised their hands, he calmly told them "you don't matter."

"You are novelty seekers," Cook said. "You are the smallest demographic in gaming."

The gaming industry has grown to an almost $100 billion business, with slightly more than one-third of that being mobile gaming. The panel - composed of Cook, Lulu LaMer of Funomena Studio, Kongregate's Emily Greer, Storm8 product manager Ramine Darabiha, and Lee Perry of Bitmonster Games - rallied around the idea that, while PC, Xbox One and PlayStation 4 players will always spend a lot of money, the most "core" people who make up those audiences aren't worth chasing after for most studios building games.

LaMer said that the idea that mobile games are more for casual gamers is an archaic one, and one that actually hurts creativity. "Even if you get all core gamers together in a room, they don't agree on what the term means," she said. "That limits the form, and it limits innovation."

Perry, who worked at Epic Games on such titles as Gears of War 2 and Fortnite before forming his own studio, understands the divide in terminology better than most. "It was easy to see mobile gaming as transitionary," he said. "And I used to think of these people as if they were turning into 'real gamers.' And I realized I was devaluing them and doing a disservice by not thinking of mobile and casual as its own form of gaming."

All the panelists were in agreement that a core vs. casual debate is detrimental to the way the games industry is headed.

"I have a problem with calling it core because that makes everything else seem peripheral," Greer said. "It doesn't equally value the experiences of other players."

In concluding the session, Cook reiterated that the debate over terminology and dividing the player base will do more harm than good.

"It's hard to talk about these things logically when they are really, truly stupid tribal behaviors," he said. "I dislike these giant dichotomies. We have over a billion players. There's so many different groups playing games right now. Any time you split up the group to two - into us and them - you're doing a huge disservice to them and yourself."

Source: VentureBeat

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That's fine, most developers don't matter to me either.

*Goes back to playing Dark Souls, Silent Hill 2, and Undertale.

EDIT: Also, spryfox, the legendary developer behind alpha bear, triple town, and... panda poet.

I just read a huge load of hypocrisy and self-masturbation.

I guess it would make sense that people who game on PC wouldn't matter much for a mobile games developer. The feeling is mutual, actually.

So Cook opened the presentation by dividing the audience into who had and didn't have 10+ games on Steam...

and then concluded by saying that dichotomizing gamers is stupid?

I for one am happy to finally feel like a marginalized minority as well.

Fox12:
EDIT: Also, spryfox, the legendary developer behind alpha bear, triple town, and... panda poet.

Hey, TripleTown might just be the best match three game there is. I know that is not saying much if you don't like match three games, but...

Random thought: isn't having more than ten games on Steam just a matter of time? Even if you're just going to buy 2-3 big releases every year (like the newest installment of a shooter or sports series of your choice), you'll still end up owning 10+ games on Steam after several years. I mean, unlike consoles, it's not as if you can sell them and not have them anymore once you're ready to move on to something different.

Anyway, he can call me a novelty seeker all he wants, because I actually agree with that and am proud to be one. Many games/series aren't just *BAM* popular, they start off in a niche and, if lucky, gain momentum from there. Minecraft started as a novelty. Novelty seekers matter to the hopeful developers who are just getting started or want to try something different. Not just because novelty seekers are willing to spend money on unproven products, but because some of them wield the power to influence others and create new buyers.

If a company/person has grow so big it no longer needs novelty seekers and can just shove their games through everyone's throats by spending million on marketing - well, good for them. However, if they started out small, which is very likely, it'd be wise to remember what they struggled through to get where they are now.

If I were a cynic I would suggest that this apparent focus on gamers that stick with products long term is similar to the f2p markets focus on "whales". There's not much point in making a game if you cash cow s are just going to wonder off.

Of course this came out of San Francisco. The sense of absolute self satisfaction permeates everything he says.

Oh no, some mobile game devs don't care for me...whatever shall I do? Other than, you know, play games that are actually good?

Don't have MOST people more than 10 games on Steam, if they actually own any games to begin with (and don't just play F2P)?

Better question is: How many of these people care about him? Probably none.

Huh. I haven't heard about this debate for awhile now. I just thought we all agreed we all see it differently and left it at that. I think they missed the point of that with their... would you call it a point?

Also if you don't want to stifle creativity, then you'll do what you believe is best and not focus on peoples beliefs which will never change regardless. If they're concerned of a label that will say more about them.

While I would normally agree with his statement that the "casual vs core" debate is needlessly divisive, it's just as divisive (if not more so) to tell potential customers that they "don't matter." News flash: I own more than 10 games on Steam AND play on my smartphone. They're not mutually exclusive.

Reading between the lines in the VB article indicates that these people are chasing the "whales" for F2P mobile games. I'll admit it does make financial sense in a shrewd, borderline immoral sort of way. After all, why spend all that time and money creating an entirely new game from scratch when you can just add some random loot microtransacations and watch people spend literally thousands on it?

I kind of miss the good old days, when snake oil salesmen had to put on a good performance to win people over instead of simply exploiting our hunter-gatherer instincts and dopamine glands.

Nazulu:
Huh. I haven't heard about this debate for awhile now. I just thought we all agreed we all see it differently and left it at that.

Ya I thought this debate was let go awhile ago too. I haven't heard this argument in a while.

John Keefer:
"Any time you split up the group to two - into us and them - you're doing a huge disservice to them and yourself."

He says its a disservice to split gamers up into groups but that's exactly what he did when he said if you own more than 10 games you're "too core." The Core vs. Casual is a silly debate but telling your audience (a literal audience in this case) you don't matter if you own more than 10 games is really insulting.

I don't think I'm following his argument very well. He starts out saying that people who own more than ten games on Steam don't matter because they are novelty seekers (nevermind that one could very easily buy nothing but wolfenstien, call of duty, or red alert games and easily surpass ten games total - expanding into even extremely specific genre only increases the number of games you might own), but ends by saying that we shouldn't break people into groups. Which is exactly what he did. Is there like a bit of expanding quote missing?

Commenting on the larger point he seems to be making, I don't exactly see how the struggle with defining terms typical to any group is particularly detrimental to innovation. You make your product, presumably innovate in the process, and it is picked up or it isn't. No discussion of the concept of core vs casual will change the success or failure of your product. If the complaint is more centered on picking up individual concepts by investors, understand that the "core vs casual" debate is a euphemism to not support your terrible idea. Investors pick up on general concepts, arguments or jargons and regularly employ them to let you down easy when it comes to not giving you their money. They may not even necessarily understand what they are saying - just that they heard other investors or managers say it to avoid a bad idea in the past.

Wait, what the hell? People who own more than 10 games are the smallest demographic? I don't understand that at all, that doesn't sound the least bit true.

I highly doubt this person speaks for all developers. Or even many developers.

The only games I can think of that this would apply to would be like, MMORPGs or games with lots of Microtransactions, because their intent is to engage you for an indefinite amount of time for an indefinite amount of money.

That's a fool's market; the few that do make it big stand upon a mountain of failures.

"I have a problem with calling it core because that makes everything else seem peripheral," Greer said. "It doesn't equally value the experiences of other players."

Why is that not viewed as equal? I still can't play my Xbox (core) without my controller (peripheral). Why is he looking at it as superior/inferior? Why not just see them as different?

In concluding the session, Cook reiterated that the debate over terminology and dividing the player base will do more harm than good.

"It's hard to talk about these things logically when they are really, truly stupid tribal behaviors," he said. "I dislike these giant dichotomies. We have over a billion players. There's so many different groups playing games right now. Any time you split up the group to two - into us and them - you're doing a huge disservice to them and yourself."

What harm is it doing to split playerbases? Some gearheads are Chevy fans and others Ford fans or Toyota lovers. When it comes to bikes, I am a Honda fan and will never own a Harley Davidson. It is an "us and them" environment. But we have fun with it. Harley fans will constantly degrade me and my bike for being a Honda. I will constantly throw it in their face that my bike requires less maintenance. Harleys get more horsepower, Hondas need a lot less maintenance. But we say these things as jokes and all get along. AT the end of the day, I ride with Harley guys on my Honda. We don't get butthurt and demand that no one speaks bad about our bikes or choice in bikes. When a Ford or Dodge fan makes a joke about my Chevy, I laugh and make one about their preferred brand. Most of them are interchangable anyways.

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I could post these all day and even some that admit that all of it is in good fun. You can have a healthy "us and them" environment where everything is basically fun and games. It's when people take it so serious as he is doing that ruins it. So someone took a jab at casual play, why is that such a heinous crime? They just took a jab at core play. This whole article is him telling core gamers they don't matter. Beloved casual do. Then he is all like "you guys need to quit hating on groups!"

My favorite part is when lack of innovation is blamed on gamers.

LaMer said that the idea that mobile games are more for casual games is an archaic one, and one that actually hurts creativity. "Even if you get all core gamers together in a room, they don't agree on what the term means," she said. "That limits the form, and it limits innovation."

All that limits is marketing terminology for demographics.

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>Core Demographic stifles creativity

>Every game he has created is a derivative of an existing game turned into freemium garbage

wfm<

But back on point, I'm not even sure what his thesis is here. I'm assuming it's the "dividing people into hard/soft core demographics is bad for creativity, because if you pander to one base you leave out the other." But I already mocked that idea, seeing as it is coming from another talentless hack pushing freemium garbage designed to trick children and people with compulsive disorders. Seeing as they're a bunch of mobile developers who are defensive about the idea that their mobile games are "casual," and believe anyone should be able to play them, maybe it's about the idea that none of us "hardcore" gamers play mobile games or think they're worth our time? Well I play plenty of mobile games...games that don't try to swindle me of my money or waste my time (cough basically nothing that these people have to offer cough). I seriously don't know.

The Material Sheep:
Of course this came out of San Francisco. The sense of absolute self satisfaction permeates everything he says.

Add to that the self-important narcissism of it all. Oh, PC gamers with more then 10 games are not the single largest group in gaming? Well I guess that means we're irrelevant now and should be forgotten. I mean it's not like the top selling games of 2015 where all available on PC making Bathesda and CD Projeck 9 figure revenue from Steam users alone while these devs would be lucky if they manage to make a one-hit-wonder in their whole career that is successful enough to not make them end up like most Bay Area indie devs who have to get a real job or to beg people to give them money to write on twitter all day.

No sir that is not at all what happened in 2015.

I fail to see how being told I don't matter to someone who doesn't matter to me is a thing of importance. What, is he thinking that he represents everyone or that everyone cares about his past or future games? Silly person.

Clearly there's a ton of different groups gaming but as a member of one group it isn't our job to make it so that they're gonna benefit. Our job is to promote the games and creating methids WE are fans of. I can't get enough of the hipocricy of someone speaking to an audience who he says don't matters. If they don't why waste the time speak to them, isn't that contadictory. If the others are so important, why aren't they there to hear him speak?

Some developer who is considering games like this would not have made a game I'd care to play anyways so I don't see what is lost. I don't need hundreds of games to play each year, a dozen or two are enough and there's more than those already being made by the minority of developers who disagree with this opinion. Hence, I fail to see the point to this talk. What, does he wish to rub it in peoples face that they make more money selling angry birds to grandmothers? Why would they think we care about such a thing. Sadistic narcissism is the only explanation here lol.

I wonder if any people shooed that guy off the stage, or even other developers cause you know.... people that buy games clearly are not a market.

Clearly smelling a guy who'll prolly end up like Mr. Fish, if he'd actually cared about the thing.
Why was that weirdo talking again!?!

This kind of mindset always seems pretty closeminded for me. I am not outraged about it or anything, but I still don't think it's smart in any way to ignore "core" gamers like that.
Because in the end it doesn't matter how many of your copies are actually bought by those "core" customers. What matters is how many copies are bought because of those "core" customers.
Just as an example: I know nothing about cars. Like barely anything. Now there are obviously people that know a LOT about cars, but generally they would make up a very very small amount of actually car-driving people.
But if I, a person that knows nothing about cars, want to buy a car, where do I go? I could just go to a vendor and let him talk me into something, but that wouldn't be smart. No, instead I will go to the people that know a lot, to the "core" car-customers. I will read something in a magazine, ask a friend that knows a lot about cars, or just check out some test or rating system online in order to find out which car would be good for my needs.
And the same goes for games. All games really. Some people like to view mobile gamers as "casual" but mobile gamers have as much of a "core" segment as pc-gamers of console gamers do. Gamers that buy all sorts of mobile games, talk and write about them online and get information about those mobile games out there for everyone.
That being said I do think the videogame market is something special, as I think that the "core" audience for videogames can actually be more important than in other areas.
Just look at Paradox, for example. Their games are clearly designed and made for a rather niche and "core" audience. And it works. Their audience buys their games very consistently, allowing them to maintain their games through dlcs for a long time. Their audience is also incredibly easy to market to. Most of their marketing consists of written developer diaries or streams of the game. This is almost laughably cheap to produce if you compare it to the exorbitant amounts of money other game developers spend on marketing. And yet it works, because their audience is invested enough into their games to enjoy these markething techniques.

*puts developer name next to Bioware on the eternal boycott list*

All in all better than expected.

Yeah lets see...hmmm I think a developer has gotten a little bit too fat of an ego and is feeling a wittle bit biased

This guy is an idiot. By definition the people who buy the most games [or any item] are the ones who matter the most to said business.

That's like saying if you eat out 5 times a month, you don't matter to the restaurant industry.

Just dumb.

Smoketrail:
If I were a cynic I would suggest that this apparent focus on gamers that stick with products long term is similar to the f2p markets focus on "whales". There's not much point in making a game if you cash cow s are just going to wonder off.

Well I just looked up Spry Fox and their products are mainly freemium games so not just similar but intrinsically tied to whales by the freemium business model.

"You are novelty seekers," Cook said. "You are the smallest demographic in gaming."

My interpretation = "You're less likely to give me loads of your money via my mobile games."

It could be argued that the people who play games very occasionally are the "novelty seekers." This guy doesn't sound especially bright.

Bad Player:
So Cook opened the presentation by dividing the audience into who had and didn't have 10+ games on Steam...

and then concluded by saying that dichotomizing gamers is stupid?

I love it. Real life imitates art, it's straight out of Inception or Arrested Development:

Feeling is mutual, Mr. Whoeveryouare.

Hahahahahaha. HAHAHAHAHA.

AHAHAHAHAHA.

I'm not sure if this is cognitive dissonance or just sour grapes (or potentially both), but I think it's worth mentioning that the reason mobile gaming is still primarily seen as "casual" gaming is because nobody has managed to actually make a good "core" game for mobile devices yet. Even the ones that have been touted as having the same sort of graphics or action-packed nature as a AAA console game end up just being on-rails games or heavily, heavily simplified versions of things that have been on PC/console for decades. And honestly, how much more simplified can a game like Diablo get in the first place?

The bigger issue to me is that a lot of people tend to automatically assume that because something is "casual", that makes it "bad". Come on, that's a mindset that even extends to "hardcore" games. If you really want to make waves in the industry, dispel that notion first.

Most developers don't matter. Hell, most games don't matter. But thanks for reminding me why despite their flaws, I still am fans of companies like Capcom, SEGA, and Ubisoft. Yeah they need to often fix their shit, but at least their shit is worth fixing.

I can almost see validity in the points he's trying to make here but I think he got caught up in trying to do it in a clever or shocking way to engage the audience (both present and extended) then in doing so didn't fully analyse some of his claims.

It is true that the concept of "core gamer" as a multi use definition that has grown less significant as the variety and availability of games grew along with the wider and more diverse base of gamers.
I find myself thinking that the concept of a "core gamer" should actually vary based on the studio and the title they are working on, rather than be some prepacked concept that defines gaming as a whole.

Even so, there seem to be a number of assertions that just feel faulty.

Size of demographic is obviously relevant to developers but can't be considered without also factoring what individual elements of that demographic are willing to soak as expenditure.
The free to play market recognizes the difference quite readily between those who dip into their games paying for nothing save with add views and those who throw dollar after dollar into the microtransaction money mill.
The same level of demarcation has to exist between a gamer who will buy a new title every three months on the app store and one who purchases at least one title a month at around the sixty dollar mark.
Failing to recognize that is akin to ignoring inconvenient data.

As stated above by NPC009, time is a more relevant factor in how many games you have on steam.
Having more or less does not indicate what kind of gamer you are, just how long you've been playing games.

I'd also contest the claim that owners of many games are seekers of novelty.
That may be an aspect of what drives a sale and it may be a motivation that an individual sometimes responds to, but it does not follow that size of library is an indication of this, nor what title said customer desires at that time is an indicator of seeking novelty in their gaming experience.
It is very possible to have a library full of nothing but strategy games, fps, rpg etc, etc and beat that arbitrary ten.

When I want a novelty, something fun but short lived as games go, I head to the app store and pick something up quite cheaply.
Or even free for that matter.
What I find there always seems more fitting of the term 'novelty' when applying it to games.

I also wonder if the worth of the demographic varies per developer.
Larger, more expensive titles require a higher investment of time and money to achieve the perceived standard expected, whereas a five dollar game on an app store requires less investment financially and while the individuals who work on it will work just as hard as the larger developers (in theory) they do make up a significantly smaller team and the final product requires significantly less man hours to produce.
Ergo, to the financially minded developer a game that requires low man hours, low investment but has the potential to turn a result like, for example, Undertale could be seen as much more desirable.
Therefore, the demographic attracted to that game would also be more desirable.
One could even say that they are the developers "core" audience of gamers...

While It's fair to say there's a lot of things being said by this speaker that I don't agree with, either based on reasoning gaps or conclusion, it's certainly been a topic that's got me ruminating over it and by that metric it has succeeded.

I'm sorry, people who actually spend money on games "don't matter"? What an insane delusional arrogant self-congratulatory interesting point of view.

Because I was reading recently that on average, a new game on the Apple market now makes less than $4,000 over its lifespan, and the mobile market is burning itself out at a truly remarkable rate as it floods with look-alikes and people tire of filling up the small amount of space on their devices with underdeveloped crap, choosing instead to keep playing a small number of games they actually like for their fifteen-minutes-at-a-time experiences.

And you might think that's fine if you're already at the top of the mobile games heap and somewhat reassured that your title isn't going to fall into the sludge pile, but for everyone in a different situation, your narrow view of reality isn't helpful to anyone else.

If we're going to define "core gamer" as narrowly as "owns ten or more games on Steam"- that's an audience that's still going to be there in ten years, and to ignore the value of that is asinine.

Funny, Spry Fox's tag line is "making happiness", might want to incorporate that into your panels next time.
Just seems needlessly divisive, next time you propose a theory don't do it in a way that makes everyone cry bloody murder.

Wait, if I buy too many games, I'm not a useful... audi...ence...?

I have so many question marks.

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