Introduction to Gamer Types
Are there different types of game players (gamers)? If so, how can they be catergorized into groups of players that share common attributes?
Within the games industry, players are often assigned to one of three broad and overlapping categories. While these categories are not mutually exclusive, the distinctions are useful for understanding the different types of game experiences and play patterns of each category.
The three gamer types include:
- Hardcore gamers (also known as intensive or heavy gamers);
- Core gamers (also known as medium of moderate gamers);
- Casual gamers (also known as light or mass market gamers).
Hardcore Gamer Type
These are gamers who typically play high-action, extremely competitive games that require a greater degree of involvement in order to progress. Such gamers consider gaming as one of their more important recreational activities, spending an inordinate number of hours per week immersed in their favorite games. Most hardcore gamers admit to spending too much time playing games and, in general, are very demanding users. This group can be further segmented into the following sub-groups:
- Enthusiasts. Play different kinds of games, especially within the action genre. They are not as dedicated to playing one particular game as other hardcore player types but do spend just as much time playing a variety of games.
- Devotees. Are very much into gaming and spend most of their leisure time playing games. They are typically loyal to one particular game and prefer role playing games, where they can become totally immersed in the games "universe". They enjoy being part of a community of game players who play the same or similar games and the social experience encourages them to keep playing.
- Professionals. Play with the purpose of being able to maintain their skills and stay competitive. They prefer action and strategy games and are often members of clans (i.e. groups of players who enjoy playing together). They do not necessarily make money on playing but they are very competitive.
- Retro gamer. Enjoy playing or collecting vintage video games from earlier eras. They are partly responsible for the popularity of console emulation. Some collect old video games and prototypes, or are in the business of refurbishing old games, particularly arcade cabinets.
- Import gamer. Enjoy playing or collecting video games produced internationally. The most common imports are from Japan, although some European gamers purchase games from North America.
- Hacker. Enjoys finding flaws in a game or finding ways to exploit unintentional features, most often with software not included in the game. The term "hacker" is often derogatory when used in a multi-player game setting, as hackers can use their skills to gain an unfair advantage over other players. Hackers in multi-player games are scorned by most of the gaming community.
Core Gamer Type
Gamers who typically play games with a steeper learning curve or games that require some level of deeper involvement or complex tactical challenges.
Casual Gamer Type
The casual gamer is characterized by the fact that gaming is not viewed as a primary leisure activity. These are people who play games for enjoyment and relaxation rather than games with steep learning curves or games requiring a high level of commitment or involvement. As with hardcore gamers, this group of players can be sub-divided into the following sub-groups:
- Newcomers. Have yet to experience the full range of games. This group is very heterogeneous.
- Time killers. Usually do not play games for long periods of time and enjoy playing all sorts of small games that they may stumble upon.
- Stress relief. Play games as a means of temporarily forgetting about everyday life, but do not play for long periods of time due to other commitments.
- Social gamer. Prefer playing games with other gamers as a social activity.