Hardcore gamer is a widely used term applied to describe a type of video game player. There is currently no unanimously agreed upon definition for the term (see Usage section). Some describe hardcore gamers as those whose leisure time is largely devoted to playing or reading about video games. This type of gamer prefers to take significant time and practice on games, in contrast to a casual gamer. Many hardcore gamers pride themselves on mastering the rules or use of a game, although this is not a strict requirement. Conflicting opinion argues that it is not so much the time spent on games however, as casual gamers can spend hundreds of hours on games without ever mastering them.
The increasing availability of the Internet has enabled gamers to play online games
with others; Xbox Live
, Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection
and Playstation Network
allows gamers to play online with each other. The Web
has allowed gamers to congregate on forums to discuss their gaming interests. This has gone some way to producing common attitudes, opinions, and memes
amongst the more involved gamers. As gaming magazines moved, conceptually at least, online to provide gamers with news, reviews, and information they have inspired the involvement of the hardcore in forums and in the production of content such as walkthroughs
, earning them the respect of the gamers they help on sites such as GameFAQs
In addition, one medium that has been successful in attracting hardcore gamers is that of the webcomic such as Penny Arcade, Ctrl+Alt+Del and PvP. Their associated forums, blogs, computer game guilds, and conventions have served to unite gamers and in particular, those that would describe themselves as hardcore. A positive aspect of this coming together is the defence against persistent negative stereotypes and in countering opinions on the influence of violence in video games and the judgement of people who enjoy playing such.
Hardcore gamers respond well to the reward systems employed in games. The term is often used to describe those who value gameplay over advances in graphics. This is partly re-inforced with the modern 'gamer score' system used on the Xbox machines or the trophy system used on PlayStation 3 for example. It has worked well to move 'shovelware', as the exceptionally obsessive gamer goes so far as to purchase such titles, regardless of quality, simply to garner the achievement points the game offers.
There is often confusion about what a hardcore gamer
is. The term is often used to differentiate between types of hardcore gamers by such things as the amounts of time invested playing, how competitive the player is, preference for player versus player or player versus environment, game style or gameplay preference, or even the type of computer or console equipment used. Certain hardcore gamers are sometimes inaccurately labeled as casual gamers
, often in a derogatory way, because of this differentiation even though they prefer playing games which are designed for hardcore gamers. This is common among MMORPG
players where there is a demand for many different gameplay styles (e.g., solo play, quests, PvP
, raid content, crafting) within a single game but limited developer ability to deliver all of them. The most important area in its usage is in the media relating to the games industry. It is a well noted success story of Games Publisher PR, that they were so easily able to persuade games journalists into accepting -undefined- the phrases 'hardcore' and 'casual'. Equivalent pairings to polarise consumers could have ranged from 'old-school' & 'mainstream', 'elitist' & 'easy-going' to 'dedicated' & 'uninformed'. However conjecture, based on the history of changes in the games industry, would suggest the choices of casual and hardcore were not arbitrary.