Casual & Hardcore Player Types

Casual & Hardcore Player Types | S3:E16

Daniel A. Kaufmann, Ph.D
Dr. Gameology on Twitch & The Gaming Persona Podcast
Owner of Area of Effect Counseling
Director of Gaming Services at Kindbridge BH

Casual & Hardcore Player Types

This week, we’re talking about Casual & Hardcore Player Types. We explore the differences between these types of players, how types impact gameplay experiences and more.

Join Doc and Gene while they dive into the exciting world of video gaming!

Download & Listen to this episode of The Gaming Persona Here:

Gaming Library:

Like a Dragon Ishin, The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, Final Fantasy XIV Online, Elden Ring, FIFA, Madden NFL 2023, NBA 2K23, Wordle, Buzz TV, Halo, Call of Duty, Resident Evil, Devil May Cry 5, Street Fighter 6, Silent Hill 2, Overwatch 2

Casual & Hardcore Player Types: The Ordinary World


We are going to be talking about the different kinds of gamers, but not archetypes, not player types. We’re going to be talking about the most basic styles that you can come up with hardcore, casual. What’s a mid-core gamer? And what do these different categories even mean for us talking about who we become when we play games? So let’s go into The Ordinary World. So we can get into our daily lives with our video games. So Gene, what have you been up to with video games since last time we did this.

I have dug further into, Like a Dragon Ishin. It’s been fun. It is a little bit janky because it is an updated PS3game. So there’s some annoying things from the fact that it’s an older game, but it’s been fun.

You know, it’s interesting that you lead off with that point, because I was just playing The Witcher 3 Wild Hunt on my PS5 right before dinnertime. And I was getting, like caught on every corner in this cave and, and like girl just swings his swords out into the middle of nowhere, even though you’re locked on to things. And you can do that in a lot of games. But this was a very PS3 way of doing that. Yeah. If anyone knows what I mean. So I guess on the one hand, it’s cool that we can play our favorite games from the past. However we want now. But there’s a cost. And the cost is we have to allow our minds to enjoy things that feel very old.

Yeah, I mean, this game, for reasons they refuse to bring it over to America back in the PS3 days. So people have been waiting for this game for like 15 years.

What were the reasons (now that you’re pretty deep into the game)?

So this game in particular is a unlike the rest of the Yakuza games, the rest of Yakuza games are like modern day, they’re literally taking place, like between 2005 and like 2019. Okay, this one is a spin off that goes back to the 1800s. So I guess they were afraid that no one would understand anything about Japanese history and then modern,

Like Legends: Arceus?


The random game in the 1800s with an established Japanese franchise. Yeah. Yeah, I okay. I get it. But you know, out of a 10-point scale, where would you put Lika a Dragon Ishin?

I would put it at an eight, because it’s still like very, like as far as being in line with a series. It’s a very solid entry. It’s just got some annoyances.

Okay, I think every game is allowed to have some annoyances, right?

Yeah. Like the item crafting in this game is like, all actually. Oh, okay. Yeah, it’s like, yeah, you got to. You’ve got to grind endlessly because the money you need to put into the crafting system is so much more than anything you need that you would earn by playing the game, so is it a lot of just replaying missions to grind money?

Oh, okay. I can see that. So, I’m going to, I’m going to shift over what I’ve been doing in games and see if we can meet in the middle. Everyone who’s watching this on Twitch or on YouTube, I am wearing my wizard hat. Because I have been doing so many cool things in Final Fantasy 14. And I think, although I do miss streaming, Elden Ring, and I’m still considering finishing the run that I’m on. On stream, I think that it’s pretty clear that my game that I stream is Final Fantasy 14 online. And I’ve been doing a lot more writing to finish up the current manuscript for the data that we collected right at the end Walker launch. And it’s got my brain thinking about what’s the next study going to be? What’s the next instrument that I want to do? Do I need to do personality? Do I need to do a different approach to motivation? Do I want to be like all the people I have zoom meetings with all the time and add something about gaming disorder, to see if people play this game in a way that wrecks their lives or not? I’ve never done a study that measured that. But I could, and in a lot of ways, that could be a good thing to start the conversation. Because if anyone’s going to have that conversation, Gene, the world is better off with me doing it than a lot of the people who are diving into that conversation.

Sure, I can understand that.

You know, it’s sort of a situation where I think we’ve got it all wrong in terms of, if you diagnose a gaming disorder, that makes it seem like all the things that are drawing in aggro on those consequences in your life, originates from the video game. Because that’s how we look at addiction, like a person who is an alcoholic, the problems in their life are because they drink alcohol, but they are drinking alcohol because of the things in their life that are not going the right way. And by treating the alcohol in a way, like this drink is bad. You can accomplish some good stuff, but you’re completely missing the point about all the sucky elements of their life that they just have to “suck it up buttercup.” Right? And so there are there are safety issues too involved with alcohol, they’re not necessarily there with gaming disorder. And I’ve just been thinking a lot about, okay, if gaming disorder can’t be talked about the way we talk about addictions, then what is it? And the train has already left the station in a lot of ways. And I wish we could bring it back, recall it and have us actually talk about how do people learn to be responsible people? You know, like for me, and I know for you, we’re both sitting here we have we have good jobs and we played a ton of games together and a ton of games not together. And I don’t think there’s any point in time for me, I’m not going to speak for you Gene, but I want to hear your thoughts on this. But there has never been a point in my life where I fell short because of a video game.


Process Addiction
The concept of addiction has key terminology for each characteristic of the problem. How well does gaming explain the primary pathway of the problematic experiences in a person’s life?

Yeah. Yeah, for the most part, I would say my senior year of high school I it’s not so much a video games problem. It’s I just didn’t care so much anymore. So I was like I spent more time on video games than actually doing school stuff but I was like, I don’t care I got scholarships and stuff. I’m rolling through school. I don’t care.

So would you say as far as high school goes you are casual, mid core, or hardcore?

Hardcore for the first three years. Dropped down to mid core senior year.

This new content sucks! I’m not getting I’m not savage mode raiding for senior year.

No, I mean, I like my senior year was literally two band classes, a chorus class and my final elective. So I was hanging out all day.

Wow. If they had Steam decks back then you probably would have found a closet and just be playing Like a Dragon Ishin on it.

Yeah, pretty much.

Wow. Yeah. So my senior year was not like that I’m pretty sure I earned like 31 college credits my senior year. I was applying myself. But I know for a fact that when the Lord of the Rings: Return of the King came out for PS2, I beat that whole game on the night I bought it. I just couldn’t stop. I couldn’t believe you could play as Frodo and Sam. Gandalf was amazing. Aragorn was amazing. That is one of the best games I’ve ever played. Man, and I think that’s the first mention of that game in the history of The Gaming Persona.


Casual & Hardcore Player Types: Call to Adventure


So let’s get into our topic for the week. Casual, mid-core, and hardcore gaming. This is our Call to Adventure. All right, so Gene, there are three types of gamers according to this report by Quantic Foundry, and many peer-reviewed publications use the same ideology to come up with their bar graphs and line graphs. And that’s really important because even if you define them differently, you would assume people hear these labels and have a general idea of what they mean and that they mean the same thing. So let’s just pass it back and forth. Gene, can you read for us the definition of a casual gamer?

All right. Yeah. A casual gamer is someone that dabbles in games, plays, short sessions, and most likely infrequently.

All right, I will take core mid core gamer I regularly play video games, but I’m not super serious or competitive. And Gene hardcore gamer?

Yeah, yeah. You have high end equipment, and play seriously or competitively.

All right, so Wow, I don’t know if Jenny would appreciate me characterizing her this way. But I feel like the setup for our show when all three of us are here is that we’re bringing these perspectives into the episode. Except maybe I lean a little bit into hardcore, but like hardcore when you don’t have a team to raid with. Right? Like I’m a wannabe hardcore, which results in me being mid core. Jenny’s definitely casual. And Gene, you be like you’re going to beat Resident Evil 4 when it comes out in a couple of weeks without firing a single bullet. I know it!

I don’t know if that’s possible now that the game mainly includes bosses that you can’t knife.

You’ll find a way.

All right, like, Yeah, I think that’s right now I’m somewhere in between made and hardcore. Like right now. I’m not hardcore, because I’m not like raiding in an MMO or anything like that.

Would you like to Gene?

It’s still in the air because my life is still currently busy. But…

Oh, you can still raid in a game, even though you’re busy. Okay, so I just want to kind of roll back a little bit about why I’m wearing the hat because it kind of fits into this question. And I want everyone to know, so I’m wearing my wizard hat. Because I found out how to create more characters in Final Fantasy 14. For the main server I play on. I’ve been trying to create a second character for weeks, and it wouldn’t let me. But that’s because if the server is congested with high activity, you can’t create a new character. But if you play in the morning, you can and I just thought you couldn’t period. So someone told me on Sunday, you could do this. So then there was a patch in Final Fantasy 14. And I went to make my bunny girl character from a different server and make a copy of her on my home server where I play with AIE. So I did that. And then I thought “Well, I would also like to have a male character.” And so then I wanted to make a different species not human because I’ve had a human male character before and I had no motivation to play as him. I even quit the game after three months of playing the game, I was new to the game. And that character, I just didn’t care I didn’t, I fell, I fell out of the story.

And, oh, wow, we have stream alerts on our podcast screen. Thank you kuro_otome for the follow. I know who that is. That’s never happened before with an alert during the podcast, I will have to think about if I’m keeping that in or not. But all the follows are appreciated, you’re helping our influence grow. Now, back to the character creation story.

So now, I have this project to screen record with no voice over the cutscenes of A Realm Reborn with different characters, so that I can use them in psychological explainer videos about who we become when we play games. So all that to say that I have really been connecting with the bard side of playing games, I just want an amazing story to experience. It’s because on Tuesday nights, I stream but I don’t have a raid team. And all the people who group up with me for content are on this raid team. So I have no choice but to be casual on Tuesdays. So I was practicing my DM skills and using voices for the characters Gene in the in the unvoiced cutscenes. And there is a black mage, Lalafell at the very beginning of A Realm Reborn story. And I did my best to give him an Undertaker voice and it was amazing. So I found out a lot of things about myself as a game player that I can play hardcore. I can play mid-core, and I found a way through my newly found D&D skills to enjoy casual gaming too.

Have you heard the voice or the Japanese voice?

No, I haven’t.

He is the like most manly man of all time. Let me show you.

What does that even mean?

His voice is like, like epically deep.

Okay, well, I can imagine it. But because of all the technology going on on my screens, I don’t think I should watch it right now. Okay, the stream will crash. And episode 99 will be over. But I did put a poll out on Twitter right before this episode to get an idea from the people who follow me and listen to the show. What it is everybody looks like in terms of the type of player they think they are. And right now 57% say they are core mid core gamers 28% say hard core 14% Say casual and nobody picked this sarcastic fun option, which is this question even necessary. So no one has a sense of humor tonight. So there’s that. Um, is there anything else that we need to talk about in The Call to Adventure? I don’t know. So, I do have a question for Eugene. In old school psychological research on gaming, it was just casual and hardcore. So what do you think the idea of a core mid core gamer does to this whole thought process of casual hardcore gaming.


Casual & Hardcore Player Types | The vote from @DrGameology on Twitter indicates most of the current following sees themselves as mid to lower end on the dedication spectrum for gaming habits.
Casual & Hardcore Player Types | The vote from @DrGameology on Twitter indicates most of the current following sees themselves as mid to lower end on the dedication spectrum for gaming habits.

Say it’s a person that just plays games? Because they are interested in the game. Like I know there’s a lot of people that only play sports games they play like FIFA or a Madden game.

Or in NBA 2k.

Yeah, they are interested in the game. They’re not like, you know, there may not necessarily be playing league challenges all day long. They just like basketball or whatever.

Yeah, it’s a way to take their hobby into their living room when they’re not outside doing it. Yeah. Yeah. Or you know what, I’m going to just say this. My first roommate was an amazing basketball player in college. My first roommate in college amazing. basketball player. And every game that I saw him do, he was easily the most prolific scorer on the court, you know, in, you know, we’re not Division One NCAA or anything, but he was very good. And I played one game of those like original NBA 2k, like the first or second year that they did 2k Instead of just NBA Live right? At the end of the first quarter that game, he was beating me like 48 to 4.


I was trash, but he was getting alley oops on every possession and just dunking on me. I couldn’t even figure out how to guard him. And, and so there’s just something to be said there that he was so into basketball, that he was like he would have destroyed me on a real court and it would have been worse than an NBA 2k. But then we’re playing a video game where you would think that I have a chance to play a game against him, right? No, no, I don’t. Because his knowledge of basketball somehow translated into NBA 2k. So, yeah, like, okay, so core, mid core gamers are interested in the specific thing they’re playing, but not necessarily trying to make gaming a central part of their identity.

Probably yeah, like there’s a lot of people that does play games that are, you know, that are interesting when they come out. Like, I’m sure there’s plenty of people that will buy Resident Evil 4 Remake who have probably never played a Resident Evil before. But it says, “Here’s the cool new zombie shooting game,” you know?

Yeah. Because they saw the show on Netflix last summer. And they’re like, “Oh, man. Yeah, my jam” Too bad. Netflix didn’t agree.


Casual & Hardcore Player Types: Road of Trials


All right, let’s go ahead and go to the next section, The Road of Trials where we face our challenges and discover our strengths. All right, Gene, one of my favorite websites that exists besides is, which is run by Nick Yee, good friend of our show, very first guest we ever had. And he had a report about four years ago, I want to say no, it’s actually five years ago, 2018 that talked about these gaming distinctions. And we were already thinking all week about talking casual, hardcore gaming, what is it does it matter? Well, there’s some really interesting statistical charts in this report. And I would like to talk with you about some of them and see what happens. So this first one has so many stats because there’s three different types of players. And there’s at least 10 gaming motivations. And we’ve covered the gaming motivations on the show a few times. And I guess we can do a little bit of a refresher as we’re talking about it. But let’s just, I want to ask you what your first thing that you see, the idea here is we’re looking at gaming motivations and how strong they are based on what gamer category you fit into.

So before that event, I noticed that the breakdown of the people that took the survey, only 10% of people counted themselves as casual, which we’ve had this discussion before. A lot of people in that casual category, probably had to be goaded into even calling themselves a gamer.

Yeah, I actually have no idea how Quantic Foundry gets them to do the survey unless they do targeted emails to people who are not necessarily using their website, just to get the casual perspective.

Because I know people that will, like play like a, like a mobile game, like a candy crush, or a Wordle. And they don’t count themselves as gamers, but it’s like you are actively playing a game like every day.

Wordle is such a video game plus the whole streak concept. Is such a motivating factor to coerce people into playing when maybe they weren’t planning on it.

Yeah. But yeah, that was something I thought it was interesting in that 10% of people, a lot of people may not even count themselves as gamers and they’re like, this is the category that fits me I guess.

Right? But also if you look at the people who identified as cash Rule, there are only 27% interested in playing a challenge activity.

Right? Yeah. But yeah, going into the chart at hand, like casual gamers generally don’t care about pretty much any aspect of the game. Like, I won’t say they don’t care, but it’s very unimportant to most of them. Yeah.

All right. So I’m going to make a promise. I will explore possibilities for putting a bar graph like this. In the website post for this episode, I don’t know if I’ll be able to because it’s not my data. But you can, I can definitely include a link to this report. So people can click over and see it. There is a 50% line across the bar graphs. And it shows in a very interesting way, which categories in which color codes are positively above 50%. And which ones are below 50%. So even if you don’t look at the numbers, you instantly see all the blue color, which is the casual game category, below 50%. Like, there is nothing about gaming that they love more than 50%. Now, as a teacher, I have to agree to other things. I No big surprise everyone who’s listening to our show. Doc has to grade papers. All right? If I were to grade something at a 50%, I would hear about it the next day like that number would draw rage aggro at me through my inbox. So that is a very tough number. And we’re saying nothing is higher than that. The most interesting thing to a casual gamer according to this chart is fantasy. And that’s only 44%. Interesting.

All right.

All right. So we have a question. We have a couple of questions. So if you’re bad at playing video games, does that count as gaming disorder? Ah, that’s funny. I like that. What else? All right, so like my son playing Halo. The last time we played the score was something like 44 to five. Wow. Okay, so that goes right along with the question of if I’m bad at video games. Does that count is up? I’m just kidding. Ah, that was harsh. I thank you for watching the show. I should be a nicer human being. And does the difference in perspective skew the surveys? Yes, I think Absolutely it does. Let’s talk about that gene. In our preshow, I mentioned that I was going to go here.

I also think that based on the way this chart has, has resulted. If you do value some of these things more highly than these people, you probably aren’t a casual gamer. You might think you’re a casual gamer, but you might not be.

That’s an interesting idea as well. So when I have done surveys through Quantic foundry, they are frequently five point and seven-point Likert scale questions, meaning the highest score is extremely interested, very interested, very motivated. The middle of the line answer, which is the three or the three or the four that’s neither interested nor disinterested. And then the one in the two is not interested at all. Okay, or not interested. So, if you have a person scoring a 40% on a motivation, that means when they like it, they’re definitely not saying very interested or very motivated or extremely motivated. They’re saying, I’m interested. And that means the things that they don’t like, they’re probably saying, I really don’t like that. So what happens is, you get lots of ones and twos on a five-point scale, and the most positive, you’re going to get his four, you’re never going to do a five. And so if you’re living in that middle of the Likert scale, Likert scale is just five choices, and they’re ranked in order, right. So what we’re seeing here is, when we talk about the hardcore scores, they were more likely to say x Stream and positive things. Whereas the casual gamers were more likely to say extreme negative things. And the core players were more likely to be indifferent. Like in the middle, so every good response was balanced out by a bad response somewhere. So the motivation categories, for example, or community competition, excitement, destruction, Completion, power, strategy, challenge, fantasy story, discovery, and design, right, and all three categories scored themselves in each of those ways. So what’s the what do you see that really stands out? Gene, about the hardcore crowd?

Well, yeah, like you said, they, they’ve probably rated certain things on the high end things like community competition and challenge and excitement. Yeah, they’re more likely to express that those things matter to them than not, I guess, is to take away.

Absolutely. Now there’s a method to my madness, and I’m going to bring it into light here. I usually don’t talk a lot about gaming disorder, or about that side of the research, at least not every episode of this show. But you see on competition and challenge, those are the highest scores for hardcore gamers. And if you just look at those as numbers, you might get confused and think those are the people that have gaming disorder. And actually the way the world works, I think that’s what a lot of researchers and clinicians may be inclined to think if they don’t listen to talks like this. Hang out with the geek therapy crowd, go to panels, and see what passion for video games looks like. Gene. Why do you think things like community and competition and excitement and challenge matters so much to hardcore gamers?

Well, okay, so what I’m saying about hardcore gamers, is that they congregate to other hardcore gamers, like you don’t go become number one, right group, by yourself. Right? Right to find that community. Yeah. And if you’re not excited about being in that community, well, then there, you’re going to stop boring member of the break room. And they know, whatever that challenge, then why are you in the right group?

I am only using this comparison as a symbolic parallel. All right. But if you go to some kind of social gathering, like a church or a club, and you are like, I don’t want to be here. And then people ask you how you’re doing. And you’re like, I am so disappointed that I’m here. I would rather be anywhere else. You’re not going to have anyone to sit with, right? And you’re not going to remember, you’re not going to retain information. And you’re not going to find any benefit to adding that to your day. All right. In video games, we have to make ourselves socially appealing, so that people will group up with us. And so that we can make what looks like friendship in a video game. And sometimes that friendship is something that will only last for 20 minutes. Right? And actually, I have a story, can we segue into my story in Final Fantasy gene. Sure. All right. I was playing White Mage in a normal raid on Sunday night with our friend Jessica. Jessica has been on one episode of the show. She did great. And I play a lot of Final Fantasy 14 with her. She has mentor status in both crafting and battling it’s crazy. She’s become so good at the game. And I was playing White Mage I was keeping her alive. She was my tank. I was her healer. It was synergy right? And I was it we were rocking like we were going through the bosses. Nobody was dying. It was great. And then she said imagine using cure one in end game content. And she said this about me because I use cure one Me in endgame content, I didn’t know. I didn’t know that using that move is a mark that I don’t understand my class because you know what? I’m not wearing a white mage hat Gene. I’m wearing a black mage hat, but they needed a healer. So I played healer. And, and she completely broke my confidence in the class. I did an expert roulette this morning and I died 10 times in 25 minutes playing White Mage, it was fine. It was the worst dungeon I have ever run. She gave me a case of the yips if we are talking sports terminology here. And all because what she was saying is you have more powerful spells than that that are quicker, that give you other moves to do that are off cooldown, you could be so much more efficient at White Mage. So what she said although it sounds like she was shaming me, because she was she didn’t mean to she was just trying to tell me that you’re a level 90 White Mage and you’re playing moves like your level 50 which is a fair criticism, but it shattered my confidence. And now I have to figure out who am I if I can’t play White Mage thanks for listening to my story, Gene. What should I do?

Play scholar instead.

Oh man, I’ve never even played a single thing as scholar but I do have a level 90 Summoner. So the question is, is it safe for me to play level 90 scholar when I’ve never played a second of scholar?

Ah, well, my experience of scholar is very dated now because I haven’t played.

You would play like level 50 scholar too.

Yeah, but scholar in that day was the superior healer for learning, I would say yeah, just because less could go wrong.

Yeah, okay.

The way you play that game, the way scholar plays has a lot of built in failsafe’s like because like once that summoner ability I forget what’s called the one where you shoot like a needle and you recover MP.

Yeah. I don’t remember what it’s called. I don’t I don’t remember the names of my spells. It’s bad.

But like in the with white mage, you could just bleed yourself dry if you don’t manage your MP right. But with scholar you have you can you have that fallback safety? If you run low and MP shoot someone the needle getting like halfway around?

Yeah, it may have been Mana Drain.

So yeah. And a lot of your healing is done by shoot shooting a Bubble Shield at them. So you can also run around dodge AOE in a more reasonable fashion? Because they can take a hit with their shield while you dodge?

Yeah. So Gene, one of the things I’ve been thinking about what I really would like to eventually create a second podcast that is all about Final Fantasy 14, but in a very gaming persona or gamers journey kind of way. So I’ve been thinking a lot about that, especially since I’m playing through around reborn, we actually have a really good question in the Twitch chat that passed me by it’s from Kuro_Otome our new follower. So I consider myself a casual gamer when others consider me a moderate gamer. So mid core, according to this conversation, how does my perspective versus other perspective feed into my gamer identity to? That’s a really good question. So I think the most important information in that question is right, they’re staring us in the face. The conversation of who we are when we play games has to start with how we see ourselves. And if there’s something about being a casual gamer that’s really appealing to you and you feel like you experience that, then other people don’t get to take that away from you, even if what they are saying as evidence for their point of view on you is objectively true. It’s not objectively true in the way that you’re interpreting your own self-identity.

Yeah, and I kind of brushed on it a little earlier, but I feel like the breadth of what constitutes casual gamer might be enormous, like does a person that goes to Dave and Busters like twice a year are countless hours of the casual gamer.

I don’t know. Is it a Monday night and they’re just sitting there watching Monday Night Raw?

Possibly. But like, yeah, if that is person counseling sounds as a casual gamer. Yeah, of course, none of these categories matter them. There are there the play skee ball, and like, I don’t know, the Spider Man game that win tickets.

Okay, that’s more of a gambling activity than it is video games. And I hate to be that guy. But skee ball is not a video game.

Probably true, but I’m just saying like, like what like the Spider Man game is, is a video game, but you know, it’s waiting for tickets.

I’m going to date myself here, Gene, but is it okay for me to admit to you that I completely miss the grand prize game? I guess. Yeah. Man Bozo was such an important part of my childhood. I feel like that’s probably creepy to admit. Let’s get back to video games.

So yeah, I would still say the bottom of casual gaming could be so far belief beneath what we consider ourselves casual. That basically anyone by comparison is a core gamer.

Yeah, I actually was thinking when we were getting ready for the show. It might be worth talking about “does this even matter anymore?” Because think about it. We’re all carrying games in our pocket and games that are more technologically advanced than what people who are gamers from the 90s were playing. You know, one of my favorite video games of all time that has done so much for me journey by That Game Company. It’s on my iPhone. They converted it to an iPhone app gene. You can play it on Steam, you can play it on Xbox and PlayStation, I’m pretty sure they have it on switch to you know, there’s, there’s no screen in this world that cannot play journey. I’m sure kids are playing journey on their graphing calculators. I don’t know how. But I just want to imagine that they can. And, and so if you can play a game anywhere, then it takes less connection with the identity of being a gamer to add that to a part of your day. Yeah. You know, like, we’re always looking at our screens. For better or worse. It’s probably not a good thing. But just driving home today. I saw a mom rolling a stroller down the sidewalk. I’m assuming there was a baby in it. And she’s not looking up at all. She’s walking with her right hand out, face glued to your screen, probably not playing a game, probably more of a social media or scrolling through music or something. But it doesn’t take hardcore music listener to be walking down the sidewalk with your baby stroller that way. Do you get what I’m saying there?

Yeah, like? Yeah, so I’ll give you an example. Like, I’m from my freshman year of college, economics 101. It was a big class like 300 people. We were in like a big auditorium. Oh, yeah. One of the requirements of that class was you bought this buzzer, basically. And you would answer questions in class with that buzzer and it would get you extra credit. Everyone by default in that class was playing a game.

Oh, yeah. That’s, that’s the same technology as the old Who Wants to Be a Millionaire. Right? attraction that was at Hollywood Studios for Disney.

Right. So it’s like, a lot of people probably don’t associate that they were playing a game, but you definitely were.

Now oh my gosh, Gene, do you remember the college times and we would play Buzz TV in my living room. Oh, that was such a good game. I wish it still existed. We’re getting a really good list for our library of games for this episode.

Yeah. But yeah, like I’m just saying there’s these game activities everywhere. And most people probably don’t count themselves as playing a game.

Yeah. So because that would make them childish and uncool and irresponsible. Right. You know, that’s one of the things I took a I took a research survey recently, and I just pointed that out with a lot of their questions. I was like the foundation of this question. Shin assumes that playing a video game is irresponsible and childlike. And the problem is, in early childhood development, you are not responsible for things and you are supposed to be childlike. So a lot of the questions about like, how does this help to diagnose gaming disorder in six- to 10-year-olds? I was like, “it shouldn’t. Dear God, it should not.” Okay, so then 11- to 16-year-olds, and I still have kind of the same point of view on that. And I really don’t think that it’s fair to take this idea. It’s, it’s this idea that from the time we were born, our only purpose is to get a job and work and make someone else money out of our productivity. And video games are an obstacle for that. And so we need to demonize it. That’s how I’m starting to feel about this. And I wish I played enough at this point in my life, to say I’m a hardcore gamer, because what has happened is, I am a hardcore worker. And I, quite frankly, hate it more days than I love it.

Sure. Yeah. That’s why I’m not currently raiding Final Fantasy XIV.

Yeah. Well, you wouldn’t have to do savage raids. If you came back and played with me, there’s like casual stuff, we could just go, oh, man, our chat. The “suck core gamer” that is you need to trademark that before people swoop in that have the same last initials as you and start putting it on shirts. GG. So I want to talk about one more chart, I think we have time to do this. There are a few other charts that are really interesting. But the second half of this report brings in gender as a determining factor of what motivates people to play games. So it’s less so a conversation on these charts about being hardcore, mid core or casual, but it’s about what happens if instead of investment in the gaming activity, we look at investment in the motivation separated by gender. So let’s look at the one that has some positive percentages to talk about Gene. Okay. All right, competition. Meals are so much more competitive. Statistically speaking, those bar charts are not close to the same thing.

Yeah, I think it’s interesting that the mall in several categories are super close together despite the gender difference. That’s true, too. Like, I find it interesting that despite being way more competitive for males, the power part is basically even 60% versus 61%.

I don’t want to characterize it as female gamers being less competitive. I think it’s less interest in being competitive. Yeah, that’s right, true. So it’s 76% for male in interest level 63% for female, but I think that 63% for female would totally own some of that. 76% and draw some gamer rage, because that’s stereotypical. And I can just imagine it happening.

Well, I don’t think it’s a matter of genre, right? Like that. Most competitive games are very gender unbalanced. Yeah, so games, like MMO is like 14, yet, its equal gender, because anyone can be anything. But yeah, like, um, you know, certain games, you know, like, the Call of Duty’s out there. There are the halos, it’s very much like, “Hey, you are you are Master Chief you are a man.” You know, this is what you do. attracts a different audience.

You think so, do you think that the gender of the character you play attracts a different audience?

I wouldn’t think so. Just because, okay, so I mean, the internet is, of course, not indicative of reality.

But here it is that internet. Take that!

There are many people out there that would say, you know, this dude is not handsome. I’m not interested in playing this character.

That’s definitely the first thing I think about Gene.

But like, that’s like I’m just saying, if you have an ugly man that is displeasing to the eye that’s turning away both male and female players, I’m sure,

Gene, what if this is why I didn’t like Resident Evil 7 or 8, because I didn’t know how attractive Ethan was.

There are definitely a million. Not million, but there’s definitely a greater appreciation for the buff. Mature Chris Redfield over Ethan, the everyman bland dude that no one even knows his face.

And then, what about the preference for super buff steroid Chris Redfield from the BSAA versus the shrimpy? One that has a face that’s not quite Chris Redfield in village and 7.

Yeah, but yeah, that there is definitely a lot of what’s the word? So I saw a post a while back, that says, like, basically the fate of the most popular characters and Capcom franchises as to become basically a thirsty like, there’s a thirsty dad. So Dante and Devil May Cry five. Oh, man, so good. Now Chris Redfield? Who else, I forgot who else was in this chart. But like, so apparently, that is a motivation for some people to play these games, though, to see how their favorite characters has become a thirsty dad.

I was actually thinking about Dante for a different reason. Earlier today, I was thinking about how he is not to above his own physiology to admit that he’s tired or to sarcastically embrace the fact that these fights are ludicrous. And I’d rather not be doing it right now. And I just think that’s such a cool thing for a video game character to demonstrate. And I was thinking about actually, because I’ve been doing my elliptical and my VR workouts every day. For half a week, I wanted to see what it would feel like to do two workouts a day. And drink two of these water bottles every day. Just to see how I feel. And, and today, I was feeling a little bit of extra pressure or like soreness in my ankle from the elliptical machine. I’m not used to using it every day yet. And I was just thinking for some reason I was thinking about video games, I was thinking about who’s going to be my character, the week for the gamers journey. And in that book, I do talk a lot about Dante and Nero and Virgil. They’re very important characters to me. And I think they have a place in the story of gaming mythology. Because they bring the Angels and Demons aspect to video games in a really compelling way. Anyway, so I was just thinking, you know, Dante would just say like, Oh, my ankles sore. I don’t feel like doing this fight Nero, you take it. And so I was making my morning coffee, and I had that thought about Dante.

So yeah, but he’s going to instead while Nero is doing the fight, he’s going to go somewhere else and actually advanced the plot.

Oh, burn. You know, I actually think there’s another interesting thing about Capcom, we have some of the Street Fighter six characters getting revealed. And so a lot of them have new outfits.

I just remember now, Ryu, They’re like, yeah, “here’s another sexy daddy character now.”

Oh, yeah, he is not the same, right? You that You convinced me to just mean him 15 years ago, so that could be good with one character? Yes. Yeah. No. But actually back to Resident Evil really quick. I find it really confusing what they’re doing with the character models in that franchise, because they very much changed Chris and Gil, in the most recent games that we’ve seen them, you know, like, facial design, right? Maybe it’s the motion capture people and they modeled the character more after the person who’s MO capping them now. But for some reason, we can’t mess with Leon S. Kennedy. And Ashley. They must look like 4k high-res versions of Have those GameCube characters so I wonder what it is about Leon?

Well, I think it’s maybe not so much Leon but so much the ideal of Resident Evil for like, Resident Evil four is by concert by a lot of people like, I don’t know the greatest game ever made. And I think they would risk a lot of people to speak, just not buying the remake if they did anything with.

But you don’t think that they I felt weird the first week after they revealed the new look for Jill, because Jill carried the same facial design all the way through Resident Evil five gold. And then she looked different. And then you get over it. And then now Jill looks like her right. So after playing through the game, that feeling goes away. But they could have said the same thing about Jill Valentine. I still believe nobody played as Chris in Resident Evil 1.

That’s because Chris and revenue of one was definitively we really bad time, your first time through.

We got distracted Gene. I just looked on my other monitor and this graph is still looking at us.

Oh, yeah. You played that game? Your very first if your very first introduction, right. Resident Evil One was Chris, you will have a bad time. Oh, yeah. You have less backpack space. And you can’t pick locks. Yeah, you would just be stumbling around, getting beat up and we’d be like, Fine, uh, you know, Elden Ring at this point.

You don’t even have Barry making the game comedy, man. Okay, so on this chart, I want to just go through the categories where the female motivation score is significantly higher than the male, then you can do the same for the males. Completion. Fantasy, story, discovery, and design elements are all categories where it is more than 8% difference. All right, females are more motivated by those things, regardless of hardcore casual mid core.

Yeah. The most striking one to me was design, which kind of correlates to what I was saying before.

20% difference between 20% 71 to 51.

Right. And for people that don’t know design, in this case, is the ability to customize and create your character. And so this kind of goes what I was saying before, if you are locked into a to a man character, a Master Chief, your apparently your motivation as a female would to play this game would drop because you don’t have that design and customizability that you’re looking for.

You’re stuck being Master Chief. Yeah.

Or a guy that looks like Master Chief because you know, when you’re playing multiplayer, you’re just a generic Spartan Space Marine. You’re not the Master Chief.

Yeah, like the reason that I love Super Mario Brothers too in North America more than three is because in three I’m stuck being Mario and in two I can be Princess Toadstool.

Yes. But yeah, like, Yeah, that. So that all right. Like I said, this seems to me that yeah, if you’re if a female gamer values design, there are dissuaded from some of these competitive games that are very specified character.

Hmm. Yeah. So the next thing, the next chart, it basically just says, if you’re a casual gamer, you score low on every motivation, regardless of gender.

Right, right. Which was, which was kind of what I was thinking. Like, if you identify, you’re saying you’re a casual gamer, because you go to Dave & Buster’s twice a year. Of course, you don’t care about any of that.


Casual & Hardcore Player Types: The Ascent


I mean, to be fair, maybe they buy one video game every year like there’s one franchise that brings them into the community of people who game but when the questions are general about how games work, you’re not interested, because I just want to catch Pikachu and do thunder shocked everything. You know, something like that. Which that’s cool. I think if you know what you like, and you can experience it at regular intervals, and you can add that to your day. That’s awesome. That’s the superpower of video games. That brings us to The Ascent, where we elevate the topic. So, in this conversation, we have talked about hard core, mid-core and casual gaming. And at the end of the day, it doesn’t matter. The research says a lot of things about gender and motivations. And we can talk all day about escape, and coping, and if we should play, and how we grow, and what’s the healthiest way to live our day. But when everything is over, and we’ve logged out, and the game is no longer being played, if we feel like it lifted us up, and took our mind somewhere where we wanted to go, that adds something to our day, whether it’s a happy experience, a goal, a drive, a metaphorical lesson, or even connections with other real people who wanted to have the same kind of experience with us. That is powerful. And that is why we should all be able to enjoy playing video games, no matter how invested we are in the overall industry.


 Casual & Hardcore Player Types: The Return


 All right, let’s go on The Return. So we can get back to our everyday lives. Gene. I don’t know if you’ve noticed in the video, but I keep almost knocking my hat over using the back because the back of my computer chair is hitting the Yeah, it’s a pretty big, brimmed wizard hat. So I think we need to end the episode before I lose my hat. So Gene, what do you think you’re going to take with you from this conversation tonight?

I’ve been in casual gamers just don’t like games.

Oh, man, Gene, that’s such a gross generalization. They buy what they like.

But they don’t care about the community, or the game or the story, or the discovery or any of it.

What if they don’t like doing online questionnaires?

To answer everything negatively out of spite.

I’ve done that recently. If I don’t think the questions are designed, well, then I’ll just be like, neutral, neutral, neutral, very disappointed, neutral, neutral, neutral, neutral. You have to earn my positive regard in a survey. I guess it’s a no therapy session. There’s no unconditional positive regard here. Oh, man. So I think that I’m going to take with me that. Ultimately, we like to talk about these things and create our little labels and categories so that we can pretend we know what we’re talking about. And it works for a research report. But when it comes to actually experiencing it, I’m very hesitant to say that people walking around saying you’re a hardcore gamer, are saying that as a supportive, descriptive way to say what they see you doing. Like, I feel like if you are the kind of person who’s looking to identify them people, it’s probably not in a nice way. And that is definitely not what quiet Foundry is trying to do. You know, I’ve talked to Nick a few times he was on the show. And his research has inspired me so I understand that they are using labels that are common terminology. For people who are trying to scientifically talk about video games. I’m just worried that the people who scientifically talk about video games are just using it as a way to find the exact right label to make it sound like a bad thing. And I would love to sit down and talk with them about what they think about Resident Evil for coming out. Or Silent Hill two, or what their last time that they played Overwatch to was like, and the researchers that I get along with and collaborate with we have those conversations. I just wish it was a requirement. Like if you’re going to talk about this stuff. Bring some of that with you too.

Yeah, I mean, I’m sure in other fields, you can’t just fake it. Like if you’re an oceanographer. You have to experience the ocean, right?

Yeah, I mean, I will I’d say that a lot of people do research on how cocaine works. Hopefully you’re not doing cocaine.

Well, I believe the early ones definitely were.

Oh, they definitely were. Yeah. Again, I’ve talked about this, this story on the show, but Sigmund Freud had a guest lecturer somewhere when he was still alive and said, it was such a lively engagement, no doubt because of the cocaine I took right before stepping on stage. And that was like, like, that’s such a historical white privilege kind of thing to say, isn’t it? Yeah. All right.

 Well, if this is all sounding fun to you, and you would like some cool people to play with Checkout AIE at And I have one final quest for everyone to take with them in their week. play your games in the best way you can to enjoy them. Casual, mid, or hardcore. It doesn’t matter. Just make sure that you always…


Continue the Journey

Yeah, make sure you actually enjoy the game.

See you next week.

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