Is Nintendo's "hard core" gamer the same as Sony or Microsoft's?

#1 Posted by GBOmega (13 posts) -

I've been reading up on Wii U a fair bit lately and part of Nintendo's stated goal comes off to me as wanting to win back customers they started losing from N64 right through to Wii.

This seems like a pretty lofty goal, but I'm wondering if Nintendo's definition of a "hard core" gamer is less about shooters and more about some of the qualities of gaming that have been lost through the years. Less focused on action-oriented blockbuster production styles and more focused on complex algorithms for the games' rules systems.

I ask not just for my own sake as I really have no taste for the similarity between games on all platforms lately - but also because if they do release it this year, both Sony and Microsoft are guaranteed to crush the Wii U with their next systems the same way the PS2 swallowed Dreamcast. It makes me want to take a harder look at just what exactly they mean with what they've said and what they're ultimately making.

It's part wishful thinking, but maybe the fact that the Wii U is holding my attention might be a sign of who they're going after? Looking for those long-lost gamers who are only annoyed by all the remakes and re-releases...

#2 Posted by Ubersmake (754 posts) -

I think it's a silly goal/marketingspeak. Nintendo does have a hardcore crowd. But a lot of that crowd is on the DS.

The DS? Really? Yes. Now that the DS is pretty much done, it's easy to look back at its library and see just how many games were made for that platform, and how many of those hit every audience imaginable. I mean, on one end, you had Cooking Mama. And on the other end, you had Contra 4. And outside the normal boundaries of gaming, you have experiences like 999.

I have no idea where Nintendo's going with the Wii U, because they honestly haven't said a lot about it. But if they want to win back the hearts of gamers, which is also marketingspeak BS, they need to examine their successes with the DS. The DS had a lot of compelling games, and a lot of those compelling games were only possible because of the DS's differentiating features: two screens, one of which was a touchscreen.

Nintendo needs to get developers to make compelling experiences that take advantage of the Wii U's unique features. Simple. Well, not so simple, but in my mind, that's why the DS succeeded. You had a lot of people making a lot of games for the DS, and a good chunk of those games were damn good.

#3 Posted by Gamer_152 (14078 posts) -

I'm sure Nintendo would like to pick up any gamers that have fallen off the wagon, but their goals still seem to be far more focused around catering for the old school crowd who still want Nintendo to make Nintendo games and the casual crowd which made the Wii so much of a success. This post is altogether very vague and I'm not sure what you mean about Nintendo trying to build a system with complex algorithms, but if you mean you think they're trying to build a powerful system on any technical level I remain unconvinced, and as long as that is the case they won't be the guys bringing out the big, flashy, exclusive action games, and I don't think they're going to win over the crowd who currently prefer Microsoft and Sony's consoles. Personally, I'm not expecting to see the Wii U release this year but why is it assumed that if they did they'd immediately be trounced by Sony and Microsoft?

Moderator
#4 Posted by Ravenlight (8040 posts) -

Short answer: No, I don't think their definition of "hardcore gamer" is the same.

Shorter answer: No.

#5 Edited by GBOmega (13 posts) -

@Gamer_152 said:

This post is altogether very vague and I'm not sure what you mean about Nintendo trying to build a system with complex algorithms...

Not necessarily. I only meant in terms of the games on the system, not the system itself. There's little variety amongst the majority of the titles for current consoles. They aim to accomplish a visual without putting much behind it in terms of character development or the rules system behind it. I've lost count of the number of 3rd person action-"rpg" games I've tried on my PS3 where there is absolutely zero chance to differentiate my experience from someone else. Majority of games out today - that aren't sequels - are all re-skinned clones of each other.

I have found the occasional title that impresses despite the repetition, but it seems far less often than back during SNES or PSX days when developers and publishes were more willing to experiment.

Anyway. I totally agree with Ubersmake, I think Nintendo has to focus harder on developers with their next offering than Sony or Microsoft will end up having to. I'm not sure how they'll do that. Whether it's by leveraging their licensing which could turn developers away, or by trying to set standards by example with their in-house brands. They'll need to work extra hard to get lazy game companies to do more than just make inventory and map interfaces on the second screen.

#6 Posted by jetsetwillie (857 posts) -

i hate the term hardcore and want nothing to do with people that class themselves as hardcore. those guys have forgotten what gaming is about imo.

#7 Edited by Sooty (8082 posts) -

Anybody that calls themselves a hardcore gamer is not somebody I ever want to cross paths with.

The amount of braindead Call of Duty players that class themselves as this (and I've met some of these people) is asinine.

#8 Posted by CheapPoison (731 posts) -

I am pretty sure it is different.

But i must say in a way someone who goes ahead and plays games by waving a wand around... well you must be a pretty hardcore gamer to do that.

#9 Posted by Aus_azn (2224 posts) -

@Sooty said:

The amount of braindead Call of Duty players that class themselves as this (and I've met some of these people) is asinine.

I will say that there is a clear distinction between a casual gamer and a hardcore one. I'm not sure that just playing CoD cuts the mustard. You get people who play computer solitaire constantly. Just that one game, but very often. Not very hardcore. Same could be said about CoDheads. What I prefer to term "hardcore" are people who play a lot of different games. Most of Nintendo's current-gen audience are not of that sort.

I do not think that such a distinction arises between a Nintendo hardcore gamer and a Sony/MS one. There are just fewer of them.

#10 Posted by N7 (3589 posts) -

No, but they are by far the craziest.

#11 Posted by Hizang (8532 posts) -

Nintendo's big problem is that when they mean "Hardcore" they mean franchises made 20 years ago, they need to stop putting all of there effort into making so many old games and start making new franchises. The PS3/360 has been host to a whole mess of awesome new franchises, Nintendo really hasn't done anything.

#12 Edited by believer258 (11909 posts) -

No, they are not the same.

Nintendo caters to the Nintendo crowd. Sony and Microsoft are out to make the biggest buck and compete with each other; Nintendo doesn't care about that. I think that one of the things they wanted to do with the Wii and are trying to do with the Wii U is bring some of those, er, "hardcore" games to the Wii so that their waning fanbase doesn't wane anymore. In other words, they're trying to get away from the stigma that only first party Nintendo games that come out every now and then are the only thing that Nintendo really has to offer.

Ever wondered why their newest controller looks weird, but could still play more traditional games? The Wii wasn't like that.

Of course, the main reason to get any Nintendo system is to pick up the next five years' worth of Mario - Metroid - Zelda, but in between development times it would be great for Nintendo if they sold more third party games like Darksiders 2 or other third party games that have expressed interest in releasing on the Wii U.

#13 Edited by Sooty (8082 posts) -

@Aus_azn said:

@Sooty said:

The amount of braindead Call of Duty players that class themselves as this (and I've met some of these people) is asinine.

I will say that there is a clear distinction between a casual gamer and a hardcore one. I'm not sure that just playing CoD cuts the mustard. You get people who play computer solitaire constantly. Just that one game, but very often. Not very hardcore. Same could be said about CoDheads. What I prefer to term "hardcore" are people who play a lot of different games. Most of Nintendo's current-gen audience are not of that sort.

I do not think that such a distinction arises between a Nintendo hardcore gamer and a Sony/MS one. There are just fewer of them.

When I think of 'hardcore' I just imagine some nerd who think he's a badass for putting a bunch of hours into military shooters, they seem to the most stand out to me.

I mean, I don't think I've seen many people claiming they are hardcore because they play Dark Souls but the amount of idiots who think they're amazing at Call of Duty and that it's more manly than say, Mario or Zelda is ridiculous. Then again it's not entirely fair since the Call of Duty fanbase is so large you're going to get many more idiots.

#14 Posted by Aus_azn (2224 posts) -

@Sooty said:

I mean, I don't think I've seen many people claiming they are hardcore because they play Dark Souls but the amount of idiots who think they're amazing at Call of Duty and that it's more manly than say, Mario or Zelda is ridiculous. Then again it's not entirely fair since the Call of Duty fanbase is so large you're going to get many more idiots.

Yep, this is just full-on stupid. I'd consider someone who plays all the Marios and Zeldas that come out as a HC gamer, but honestly, people who have to actually declare that they're a HC gamer actually probably aren't.

#15 Posted by Elazul (1327 posts) -

@N7 said:

No, but they are by far the craziest.

That was pretty much true when the Gamecube was still around, but now I doubt they exist at all. I mean, how could you be considered a "hardcore" gamer if you only play the 3-5 "AAA" Wii titles Nintendo puts out every year?

#16 Posted by ll_Exile_ll (1703 posts) -

I don't know about this one. If Nintendo thinks they are going to win back this so called "hardcore gamer", I have no idea how they are going to do it. Even if games like Mass Effect 3 and GTA V were released on Wii U, I am sure as hell not buying it for that, I have friends and an established online profile on both the 360 and PS3. Even if something like GTA V looked slightly better on Wii U, it wouldn't be enough to buy a new console for.

However, I will buy a Wii U on launch day, just like I bought a Wii on launch day, and just like I bought a Gamecube on launch day; and for the same reason as those consoles; Nintendo games. The people like me that play every Zelda, every Mario, and any other major first party Nintendo games are the people who have stuck with Nintendo for years. This mythical "hardcore audience" they want is not really the hardcore we think of in places like Giant Bomb. The real "hardcore" are the people that buy every console, play all the biggest games, and are fans of games in general. The perceived "hardcore audience" Nintendo feels they've lost are the douchy frat boy/dude-bro "gamers" that play Madden and Call of Duty. These people aren't going to buy a Nintendo console, even if it has Madden and Call of Duty this time around. They've already got their Call of Duty machine (most likely a 360), and they don't care about Link or Mario.

To end this brief essay, I'll just say that Nintendo is going to get the same audience they've always had; people that like to play Nintendo games. They aren't going to attract the idiot enamored with shooters and football, and they probably aren't going to hit as hard with the casual crowd this time around, those people already have a Wii. People like me will still enjoy Metroid, Zelda, and Mario, now in HD, but I don't know what that means for the success of the Wii U.

#17 Posted by Veiasma (194 posts) -

@ll_Exile_ll said:

The perceived "hardcore audience" Nintendo feels they've lost are the douchy frat boy/dude-bro "gamers" that play Madden and Call of Duty.

You forgot Gears of War dude-bro.

#18 Posted by Jack268 (3387 posts) -

I think Sony & Microsoft are aiming at CoD players and people that play PC games on console nowadays.
 
I think Nintendo aims at people who play console games.

#19 Posted by ll_Exile_ll (1703 posts) -

@Veiasma said:

@ll_Exile_ll said:

The perceived "hardcore audience" Nintendo feels they've lost are the douchy frat boy/dude-bro "gamers" that play Madden and Call of Duty.

You forgot Gears of War dude-bro.

There is certainly some overlap there, but I think the Gears of War player base has fewer of these types of gamers. My reasoning on this subject comes only from the fact that my friends and I like Gears, but can't stand Call of Duty and everything it represents.

#20 Posted by GBOmega (13 posts) -

Great reads, and I think this in some ways validates my own feelings. We're still left with a lot in the air about just who exactly Nintendo is pitching the Wii U at - beyond their entrenched young audience that is.

I have to agree that any self or otherwise labelled "hardcore" gamer isn't one with much of a history with gaming. They tend to be people who only like shooters with lots of machismo - they finished that genre back in Unreal Tournament 1 days.

I've been playing Animal Crossing on my DS again, which while being a fairly strong b-level Nintendo franchise is one I feel like they've never put a complete effort into. I think this series would make a great case study on how close Nintendo gets to blowing the doors off, but for some reason decide to arbitrarily cut everything short. Fire Emblem: RD as well. I play some of these games and I feel like they just stopped developing mid-project one morning and sent it to get pressed. Good games at their core, some more than others, but always falling short of their potential. Especially when it comes to online... I remember writing a blog post years ago when I got my first DS about how Nintendo WFC was a complete disaster. Some who read it got indignant and incredulous saying I had no idea what I was talking about. But fast forward to today and most of the points I made are now universally accepted. Nintendo's online offerings may as well not exist.

Anyway, some of this isn't restricted to Nintendo, but I'm simply highlighting titles & concepts where they had the makings of something they're probably gonna wanna actually pull right the way through on for the Wii U. No half-assery or else it's the Dreamcast pile for them!

#21 Edited by phish09 (1109 posts) -

I think they all want gamers that are going to buy a lot of games and spend a lot of time playing those games on their respective systems. I don't think any of them give a shit what games you are playing so long as you are buying/playing a lot of them.

I just define a hardcore gamer by how many games a person plays and how much time they spend gaming. If you spend 80 hours a week playing Mario Kart and Just Dance you are more hardcore than a person who spends 20 hours a week playing Starcraft and Counterstrike. So yeah, they all want the same "hardcore gamers", those being the ones that game the most.

#22 Posted by GBOmega (13 posts) -

@phish09 said:

I think they all want gamers that are going to buy a lot of games and spend a lot of time playing those games on their respective systems. I don't think any of them give a shit what games you are playing so long as you are buying/playing a lot of them.

I just define a hardcore gamer by how many games a person plays and how much time they spend gaming. If you spend 80 hours a week playing Mario Kart and Just Dance you are more hardcore than a person who spends 20 hours a week playing Starcraft and Counterstrike. So yeah, they all want the same "hardcore gamers", those being the ones that game the most.

Probably a good insight into what they're looking for, yeah. A question of who is likely to buy the most, but if this ends up being true, the Wii U is not going to do so well because the quality of the games is going to suck. I think companies need to let go of the raw numbers and focus more on their products instead. The profits will flow better from a good product rather than one that tries to market or trick it's way into peoples' homes.

I'm curious about the Wii U, but after the Wii and multiple re-releases of the DS, I'm skeptical of their brand and it's potential to deliver anything of depth. So this who-buys-the-most approach isn't necessarily a guaranteed success.

#23 Posted by MasturbatingestBear (1190 posts) -

I generally associated the term "hard core" gamer with people that would be like us. People who play all kinds of games and it is a large hobby for them. They don't just buy the latest shooter or sports game.

#24 Posted by haggis (1677 posts) -

I'm not sure Nintendo has the corporate culture necessary to really appeal to hardcore gamers that currently play on the PS3 and 360. First, they'd have to be comfortable with a more diverse roster of games--including those that are M-rated. Nintendo has never been comfortable with that. Microsoft and Sony encourage it. Nintendo always seems to need to be convinced. Most of us who play a lot of games play a lot of different types of games. Nintendo hasn't been huge on diversity. Good on them for trying, but I think Nintendo might find so-called hardcore gamers not quite to their liking. They've got some history to overcome. Not insurmountable, but difficult.

#25 Posted by spartanlolz92 (511 posts) -

i dont think hardcore should apply to cod heads i think it should apply to those who buy games off all diffrent types of genres

i for example like mechwarrior, cod but none after 4, kingdom hearts, skyrim, red faction guerilla, resident 4, battlefield series, rogue squadron series, ace combat series, super smash bros, psychonauts only games i really dont have a taster for are turn based rts's or rpgs and even that could change

the list could go on for quite awhile i think people who have interests in more than 1 game and who have it as there main hobby are considered harcore

-___- though i would really perfer the term gamer. hardcore just seems so stupid to me

as for the wii U nintendo has a lot to prove to me they usually dont have the games i want to play. and it seems to me they've treated the nintendo fans pretty badly with the wii

#26 Posted by phrali (646 posts) -

nintendo should focus on figuring out that whole "internet" thing before they worry about what a "hardcore" gamer is.

#27 Posted by fini_fly (767 posts) -

@ll_Exile_ll said:

I don't know about this one. If Nintendo thinks they are going to win back this so called "hardcore gamer", I have no idea how they are going to do it. Even if games like Mass Effect 3 and GTA V were released on Wii U, I am sure as hell not buying it for that, I have friends and an established online profile on both the 360 and PS3. Even if something like GTA V looked slightly better on Wii U, it wouldn't be enough to buy a new console for.

I think you have hit an important point here in that almost all console gamers have established their online profile, friend list, etc, on either the XBOX Live or PSN, or both. If a AAA title is release for all three systems (Wii U, 360 and PS3), why would anyone want to sacrifice the larger online communities for Nintendo. The only way this is going to happen is if Nintendo makes something truly remarkable and compelling not only about the game play of the particular title, but also for the online experience.

I hope for Nintendo's sake that they at least make the Wii U compelling and regain trust their lost in a lot of their older fan base, if only for increase competition. Competition is healthy, but for the last few years, Nintendo hasn't been competitive, which is why they had a losing year this year.

In terms of 'hard core gamers', they'll probably be too busy playing Call of Duty: 'Input New Title with Identical Experience Here'.

#28 Posted by biospank (657 posts) -

The thing about nintendo is that they aim at the old so-called hardcore but they forget that most of those dudes have familes and they came back with the ds. So their aim is at what we today call casual gamers.
 
The same as sony is full of shit when it comes to psvita it is obviusly aimed at the japanese market because most of the japanese gamers play on handelds. you might argue that they have lost that market because of iphone and ipad,ect. but they lost it to the 3ds not because it is nintendo  or anything but because of monster hunter.  If you can honestly say I will play a game like monster hunter on my ipad or iphone, I am calling that you are full of shit.
after all the one of the launch games for the vita is a bad monster hunter clone and the one that comes next month is a better monster hunter clone but as we all know, we dont want clones but the game itself. 
So  you might ask what has the vita to do with wiiu, well. we can speculate and make a bunch of preditions before the system is out and even speculate within a month or 4 after launch. And we will all say that the system is doing really bad, ect. And some of us will say that they should have learned from either a or b. After all we are going to see that nintendo will do great or superb within the end of the lifetime is my guess. because bitches love mario. after all the same goes for vita it will either do great like psp or it will be okey in sales.
BTW psvita is awesoem!!!!!!!

#29 Posted by Gamer_152 (14078 posts) -

@GBOmega: I think there's certainly some lack of originality in video games now, with it being so money-driven and based on iterative design but I have to strongly disagree with you over the idea that games aren't doing anything in terms of narrative and gameplay design (I assume when you were referring to rules systems you meant game design). I think more than ever there are plenty of games out there which are fantastically fun, fulfilling, satisfying, and enjoyable to play. I might challenge you on the idea that all games these days are all similar, but I think calling them "re-skinned clones" is going way too far. I really have to oppose this idea that games back in the day were all originality and variety and that games these days are all derivative and unoriginal, that just isn't the case. Look back into the history of retro games and you won't just see similar games, you'll see games that are ripping off each other and in some cases literally cloning each other, this is basically what caused the games industry to crash.

I'm not sure what you mean about Nintendo leveraging their licensing and I don't entirely get what you mean about Nintendo focusing on developers, but I don't think the idea of them leading by example can work, that's just not how things have gone. I believe the reason we get "lazy" game developers doing what they're doing is not because of any specific approach Nintendo is taking, but rather because of the fundamental ways that the entertainment industries work. Regardless of what Nintendo does, developers are going to do whatever they think will have the best chance of making them cash, and that's why we are seeing a lack of originality on these systems. Whatever new, crazy opportunities Nintendo's consoles may provide developers with, experimentation and new ideas are risky, so why not build on what they already know is going to make money? That's not to say there won't be some companies who do some really cool things with the Wii U, I'm sure there will be, just as there were with the Wii and DS, but it's not a business-friendly idea.

As for those who do want to continue developing for the "core" crowd, what will be the incentive for them to focus on the Wii U to the degree they do with the other consoles? Why go for Nintendo's machine when they know that on other systems they can make games which are much larger, capable of much better AI, can have many more objects in the environment at once, can look much better, will have much better online capabilities and will already have a dedicated "core" userbase for them?

Moderator

This edit will also create new pages on Giant Bomb for:

Beware, you are proposing to add brand new pages to the wiki along with your edits. Make sure this is what you intended. This will likely increase the time it takes for your changes to go live.

Comment and Save

Until you earn 1000 points all your submissions need to be vetted by other Giant Bomb users. This process takes no more than a few hours and we'll send you an email once approved.