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“Hard-core” becoming smaller part of mass audience: NYT

Friday, 1st February 2008 21:37 GMT By Patrick Garratt

“Hard-core gamers and the old-school critics who represent them are becoming an ever smaller part” of a ballooning games audience, the New York Times say in this editorial, citing recent NPD figures and “the soaring popularity of mass-market franchises like Guitar Hero and the Wii at the expense of critically acclaimed projects aimed at the same young-male audience the industry has relied on for years” as the death knell for gaming’s traditional audience.

Games like Bioshock, Mass Effect and Orange Box all failed to make the US top 10 for the year, the piece points out, despite achieving high Metacritic scores, while titles like Mario Party 8 and Wii Play, both derided by “traditional reviewers”, made the cut.

It’s interesting stuff. Good enough for a Friday night, anyway.

Via Joystiq.

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6 Comments

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  1. Arkin

    We all know the Wii is selling well and for the most part the party games are selling well but I doubt that is any evidence really to say that the traditional gaming audience is a much smaller part of the mass audience. In truth the wii has opened the door to a lot of people that didn’t play games before that. Personally I don’t bother looking at the wii since nintendo themself are targeting a different audience now not the traditional gamer.

    #1 6 years ago
  2. patlike

    It’s an interesting read, but it does miss some pretty obvious points. Over $4 billion was spent on 360-related hardware and software in 2007. Quite a lot for a “hardcore” console.

    #2 6 years ago
  3. Arkin

    Definetly just reading the article now love the picture of the old women with the wii mote comedy gold

    #3 6 years ago
  4. marilena

    Well, the most important thing it’s leaving out is that a market isn’t represented just by the top 10. Every niche makes money and everything has to be covered.

    As far as I can tell, the hardcore market is not shrinking, it’s just that another, bigger market has spawned in parallel to it.

    And it’s not even true that normally the best selling games are the ones that also reach critical acclaim. The licensed dross with the most mainstream appeal has been at the top of the charts for as long as I remember.

    About Bioshock, I’d argue that it sold much, much more than expected. It was exactly the type of critically well received game that usually doesn’t sell well, but somehow the good press it got for a very long time before release managed to make it sell.

    And, anyway, Halo 3 and CoD 4 are both hardcore games and critically acclaimed. I don’t think that the article holds up to much scrutiny :P.

    #4 6 years ago
  5. patlike

    I’d have to agree with you :)

    #5 6 years ago
  6. patlike

    Actually, you’re completely right. It doesn’t make any sense at all. All it shows is that the medium’s maturing, not that the “enthusiast” market’s shrinking. Of course it’s growing. You’re also right about Bioshock. An awful lot of people in the trade thought it was “too clever” and expected it to sell badly.

    #6 6 years ago