Archive for August, 2006

The six types of gamers

I came across an interesting article on Next Generation yesterday that talks about a study that divides of gamers into 6 classes instead of the standard 2 (hardcore and casual).
  • Power gamers: This group represent 11 percent of the gamer market, but accounts for 30 cents of every dollar spent on retail and online games.
  • Social gamers: This group enjoys gaming as a way to interact with friends.
  • Leisure gamers: This group spends 58 hours per month playing games but mainly on casual titles. Nevertheless, they prefer challenging titles and show high interest in new gaming services.
  • Dormant gamers: This group loves gaming, but spends little time because of family, work, or school. They like to play with friends and family and prefer complex and challenging games.
  • Incidental gamers: This group lacks motivation, and plays games mainly out of boredom. However, they spend more than 20 hours a month playing online games.
  • Occasional gamers: This group plays puzzle, word, and board games almost exclusively.
Not really sure where I fit in here. I guess I’d like to think of myself as a power gamer, but given the amount of time I usually spend writing code instead of playing games, I’m probably more of a dormant gamer, and I have found that when I have to or want to focus more on coding, school, etc. I tend to play games where I don’t need to spend hours to finish a level. So I usually play an FPS or some type of action game (Quake 4, UT2004, or, recently, Freespace 2) instead of an RPG (still haven’t finished Guild Wars: Factions or Planespace Torment, and I haven’t touched either lately) or RTS (I’m half-way through Homeworld 2 and I’ve had it for over a year; however, to my credit, it is a very difficult game).

I really hope that the result of this study is that more is spent towards advertising games. Analyst Michael Cai states that “…Dormant gamers who are not heavy on gaming time actually have fairly good gaming motivations and spend a high dollar/gaming hour ratio. The key is to design games/services that fit these peoples’ lifestyles, maybe snack- or bite-sized games. On the other hand, the leisure gamers spend a lot of time playing casual games yet pay little money. They are ripe for game-advertising solutions.” I’m not sure I agree with him about making “bite-sized” games; while I don’t always have time to play an RTS or RPG, I’d hate for the experience to be cheapened and/or shortened when I do get the time to sit down to play. However, I think advertising is something that is sorely lacking in the video game world. It’s a fair assumption that power gamers read gaming websites, magazines, etc. and as such are exposed to previews and ads of upcoming and released games. For everyone else, it becomes a chore to find out what the latest releases are; there are virtually no TV commercials, no magazine ads outside of gaming mags (even tech mags like Wired, which on occasion does features on gaming, doesn’t have gaming ads), no billboards, no radio commercials, hell…outside of gaming websites you’d be hard pressed to find a game ad. There are exceptions of course – the new super mario bros, grand theft auto (all of them after and including 3), and halo 1/2 come to mind, as each had quite a bit of TV coverage, but I think more games need to be given the same (or better) treatment.