This was an interesting read, but I do not think some of the arguments are very good. Take for example, the money spending argument (spending $60 + more on a game vs. free to play + pay if you want.) For me Farmville is a boring game. It is not fun for me at all, even a little bit. So spending any time with it, even with its lack of price is a waste of time for me. Mass Effect 2, for me, is incredibly fun for me to play. I played/still play the hell out of that game; I have sunk plenty of well spent hours in it. Did I buy it new? You bet your sweet ass I did. Did I buy the expansion pack DLC? (No guns or costumes bought, just the additional missions ones.) Hell yes I did! Did I have fun with my investment, was the time I spent worth the money I spent? For me yes. Even with Farmville being free, the time spent on it for me was wasted. I cannot get that time back, and I hate that I even lost any time at all. Do the people make a better "Happiness" investment than I did by playing Farmville vs playing Mass Effect 2? Depends on the level of happiness. I can say my conversations will be filled with a lot more action and variety, and my memories of playing Mass effect will be more than planting crops for me. Because I dropped more than $60 into that experience makes it a worse "happiness" investment? I do not think that to be true in the least.
The old new IP argument always is an odd one to play as well. Calling Kane & Lynch 2 an established name vs. Enslaved? Maybe, but last I heard people hated Dog Days, I loved it and had a wicked blast playing it. So a million copies of a hated game is pretty good. It was a polished game when compared to Kane & Lynch 1 (loved that one too), and when compare to Enslaved, Dog Days had less technical issues to prevent me enjoying the game. Enslaved will be a game I will purchase, a long with Homefront, once I feel their price points are at a level I feel is worth investing into my happiness. Neither of them are a $60 investment for me, either was Dog Day, so I bought that well after it came out (still got it new so that the developers could get some scratch out my purchase.) The problem with new IPs is that they regularly and consistently do not have the level of polish you get with an established name, like ME2. If they do have the polish and prime of an established IP, they will do very well. Look at Dead Space, and Portal, Assassin's Creed and possibly Mirror's Edge, hell look at the games that are franchises now, they where all new IPs at one point too. I even bought Beyond Good and Evil on XBLA, and love it, and think that deserves so much more success (didn't own a Xbox at the time it originally came out.) I think if new IPs advertised themselves as something that was new but with a lower price of entry, maybe more gamers would be willing to pick up the title sooner, but when a new IP is $60, and you know almost none of your friends will play it, while the newest CoD or Halo will have all of your friends playing, what do you think you will pick? An investment towards happiness is a complicated thing, and doesn't just revolve around price.
I do realize that I am in the silent minority it trying to see the new and exciting games get some traction, and just flaunting my "new IP cred" does nothing, but I do want to at least show that there are core gamers that do enjoy the finner things in video games. So is it true that the hard core are horrendous at actually playing new games and purchasing games that are made for them? Yes. Should there be a looking into a new way to price games? Yes ($60 is asking a lot for a new IP, that may not be as good as an established IP)Is piracy an issue in the hard core crowd? Yes. Is the casual player having more fun than I am? Not necessarily.
Which I think I have the biggest gripe with, and is it 100% the gamers fault, I do not think so. Is shovelware easier to develop and make a profit on? Yes, so developers make a bunch of that shit and make bank fast. Do I wish they helped invest more polish into their hard core new IPs? Yes. Can happiness be measured on an equal scale vs. amount of money spent? Kind of, but not really. Do I think the casual gamer is better than me? No (but I may be biased) Is the whole of the casual gamer market better than the whole of hard core gamers? Yes, in terms of profit generations for developers. Do I want to see games go to a more Farmville style? No. No. No. Pricing? Sell to me right, and yes.
I think hard core gamers have a duty to try and educate their casual friends, to try and show them a more diverse and maybe even better gaming experience. We should not avoid casual gamers, but show them how much more games can offer a person. And the the hard core needs to also be more willing to try new things, but developers need to also try and sell new things to us a bit better than they are.
It's a long post, sorry, but I hope it adds to the conversation.