Infinity Ward Says Call of Duty Players Aren't "Hardcore Gamers"


New member
Jan 31, 2012
This is something a lot of people have suggested, but it's interesting to see it come from Infinity Ward.


New member
Mar 19, 2009
I'm that guy that they are talking about. Me and my buddies and work buddies. We are all mid 30's to mid 40's. We have kids and families. We probably buy three games a year: Madden, Call of Duty, and one other base on personal choice (Mass Effect 3 was the last "other" console game I bought, other friends will buy Forza or Gears or Halo...just depends).

We play for about an hour or two most nights after we are done with the kids practices or plays or they are in bed. We have kill to death ratios averaging about 1:1. Some a little better, some a little worse. We rarely play anything but Team Deathmatch and usually wrap it up around 11PM mountain because that is when most the other "average" players hang it up and only the ridiculously good players are left and it isn't much fun.

I think a lot of people think that the main person who would be this is the 14 year old with no money for other games, but really I think most of us are just Dads looking for a little bit of wind down from a long day of drudgery that was the same as the ones that happened in front of it for the last 10 years and will be the same as the ones after it for the next 20.

Most my friends wouldn't consider themselves hardcore. We suck. We never read websites, we never analyze the best setup, we laugh the next day at the stupid ways we died much more than the awesome kills we got. I think my one coworker has never had a killstreak of even ten kills in three years of playing. Are there better games? Probably, but we don't care. This is good enough for what we need it to do and we are fine with that. What do you want to classify it as? Hardcore COD gamer? Possibly, but you would think a hardcore player would have a better K:D ratio after four years. Casual gamer? We really are on almost every night though...

Really we don't care, and honestly the guy who owns the company can call us complete morons for buying the drivel, but it won't bother most my group because they will never be anywhere to see the comments anyways.

*small disclaimer* I am a little bit of an outlier in the group. I game a bit more, but still, I'm "that guy" that most people around here don't get that is still Playing The Old Republic and Diablo III. Also I do like reading the Escapist (and have the job of reviewing Yahtzee to let everyone know if it's worth watching this week). Plus my K:D ration is almost 2.5:1. :)

Michael Epstein

New member
Sep 9, 2013
Well I think they are a bit confused between hardcore and mainstream.
All the terms are a bit stupid obviously, I had friends that played ONLY Lol or Dota, and they move in a similar spectrum. It isn't that they are not very serious gamers that dedicate a lot of time to playing videogames. It's that they consider it as a hobby, they don't love GAMES as a creative discipline, but instead love THAT PARTICULAR GAME experience as a product.

In contrast, I'm incapable of playing the same game for years, and I can't play very often either, but I love the creative medium of videogames as a whole. I can't stop myself from looking for new, bigger, smaller, weirder, different games. As many people have noted they like only blockbusters, and solely blockbusters of their specific interest, which I suppose is similar to the phenomenon of casual gamers that only play games with very specific characteristics.

This might be a prejudice, and it's surely not always true, but if you go out clubbing, and tell someone you're playing CoD, it is socially acceptable, while, if you tell someone you play final fantasy, or silent hill, or indie games, there is still a slight stigma.

In any case though, mainstream and casual aren't the same.


New member
Jan 13, 2009
I've thought this was fairly established wisdom for a while now. The COD series consistently sells double or more of almost any other title that isn't an EA Sports or Mario game. (Though this year I'm sure GTA V will be the rare exception.) Clearly a big chunk of that audience are people who don't play many other games, like the vast majority of the people who bought one of the 80 million copies of the Da Vinci Code or 70 million copies of Fifty Shades of Grey probably don't buy very many books, because otherwise there'd be a lot of titles with close to that many sales.

The mistake other publishers make is trying to capture COD numbers by making COD clones. This is throwing away millions trying to court a market that is barely aware of their existence. The smarter play would be to spend less money on many different kinds of games to try and tap a niche no one else is exploring, and you just might hit paydirt. Assassin's Creed seemed like a weird idea back in 2007, but it's eked out a nice little niche for Ubisoft. And while a lot of third-person action-platformers cannibalize ideas from each other these days (currently it seems they all need cover-based shooting, mandatory stealth sections, and some version of Arkham Asylum's detective vision), they're different enough from each other to all be appealing, even if it's just for the story.


New member
Jun 24, 2010
Clovus said:
It gets really tricky to deal with labels like gamer or hardcore, because everyone has their own opinion of what it means. We aren't going to be finding a definition of 'hardcore gamer' in the dictionary anytime soon. Look at the Urban Dictionary entry ( and it's easy to see how polarizing and insulting it can be. I wish we could completely remove the word and concept of hardcore altogether. As for my playing games a buttload, while a may be full fledged gamer I tend to describe myself as just "a guy who plays games." Again it's one of those loaded words. Technically anyone who plays games is a gamer, but then there's that portion of people who get super defensive of their title. If a Dark Souls player is a gamer, but so is that Candy Crush guy, what does that say about the former?

This whole gamer/hardcore thing is just like what's been happening to the idea of Geek or Nerd, ever since comic book movies became a thing. The more it reaches the masses and gets pushed like these CoD guys are doing it, the sooner the defensive raging minority will be overwhelmed by the majority of people that just don't care what you're called, whom will then go on to enjoy both easy and hard games without a concern.

thaluikhain said:
So...replaying every level of Candy Crush over and over till I beat all my FB friend's scores would make me a hardcore gamer?
Arguing over who is better or not does nothing but foster hatred and resentment, and does not represent the majority of people who play games well to the general media and public. All it does is support the idea that there is a group of people playing games that perfectly match the description of recent media scapegoats.


Madness to my Methods
Feb 28, 2010
I'd like to disagree. It's a multiplayer-based FPS. I'm not going to lie, CoD is the one of the best I've played (besides TF2) and the reason for it is because it's so rewarding. Seeing that yellow +100 is like a gambling addiction. If you get good at the game, it can be very addicting, because you start buzzing if you get a good killstreak going. Same with sniping in TF2, seeing that green Critical Hit, and the ding is also very rewarding. I wrote an article a long time ago about how sounds and the like have a Pavlov effect, and how game devs sometimes use it to their advantage.

Does anyone still remember the sound of picking up a liquid in Bioshock? I love that sound.


New member
Aug 20, 2010
MarcellusMagnus said:
Is a person who only plays Call of Duty and not Assassin's Creed, Europa Universalis or Final Fantasy not a 'gamer'?

Is a person who only plays basketball and doesn't swim, play hockey or run hurdles regularly not an 'athlete'?
Hardcore and Casual, not gamer and non gamer.

People who play CoD are gamers, but their CoD gamers, but to be classified as hardcore, i like to think you have a wide variety of games you play.


New member
Mar 8, 2012
The guy has one big point. CoD fans are going to play CoD because they want to play CoD. Not something else.

I think this is something that EA needs to understand, seeing how they're desperately trying to cater to an audience that isn't even interested in their products to begin with.
It's astonishing, really. I don't particularly much mind making a game more accessible to someone who has never played it, through either extensive and good tutorials or removing unnecessarily complex game mechanics. What I do mind is when a company strives with all its might to alienate fans of a game series for an audience that wasn't interested in their game to begin with.
Such is the case with Battlefield. Up to and including BC2, things were mostly fine. The progression-based stuff wasn't as commonly found and wasn't as annoying as in CoD. Fast forward to Battlefield 4... and I'm left thinking "who is this game made for?", because it sure as hell isn't the original Battlefield audience anymore. Those guys are playing Project Reality BF2, BF2142, BF2 or Bad Company 2. As has been established, people that buy CoD every year aren't suddenly going to start playing Battlefield games, either. So the audience shrinks a fair bit. And then a fair bit more, as the amount of BF players with tolerance for the progression system bullshit shrinks. And then even more as the Battlepack system gets completely unveiled. What you're left with is a shapeless glob of people that are probably going to be similar to the LoL playerbase in how friendly they are on average. (This isn't even talking about removing destruction elements from the game. I COULD OPEN MY OWN WALLS IN BAD COMPANY 2, THANK YOU VERY MUCH.)
Such is also the case with Mass Effect 3 - to a lesser extent, of course. While the first Mass Effect established cover as a good place to hide from gunfire, but a bad place to stay if you want to continue doing anything (it also didn't have a glue-to-cover button), the second and third in the series copied the combat wholesale from Gears of War. Suffice to say, it was a bit more engaging than what ME1 had (not that that is really difficult to do). But it was still boring as hell if you weren't incredibly skilled at evading incoming projectiles because your health is so bloody low it might as well not be there at all and it regenerates faster than your energy bar in Crysis 2.

All in all, I just hate homogenisation. Not everything has to be Call of Duty. Not everything has to be Gears of War. Those games already have their respective niches, and are enough to most of their players. There is absolutely no point in copying them since it won't move more copies either way.


New member
Feb 8, 2008
Alexander Kirby said:
Paying COD all the time would make you a hardcore COD player, but to call yourself a hardcore gamer you really need to play a wide variety of games.
Here we go again with what a hardcore gamer is and isn't.

Personally, I believe that the ones who play COD for hours each day are hardcore gamers.

My criteria:

1. You are a gamer if gaming is a hobby of yours (not just a time killer on the subway). This means that you would choose to play a game even if other options are available.

2. You are a hardcore gamer if gaming is your primary hobby. The games chosen do not matter.

Playing a wide variety of games for shorter periods instead of one game for a longer period is irrelevant.


Your sinner, in secret
Jun 24, 2013
Well it's nice to see that Infinity Ward understands it's audience, but the wording is a bit off. Hardcore Gamer and Gamer are far too subjective to just lash out.

However they have to realise that CoD players don't exclusively play CoD, they exclusively play whatever's popular. If Battlefield 3 was the big thing they'd buy that and play it extensively.


New member
Nov 21, 2009
CoD has gamers that only play CoD?

And people are just now realizing this?

Some people just have very narrow tastes. I'm not hating on these people, but I thought it was just evident that some people just play CoD (and I kinda feel very sorry for these guys, but that's beside the point). Copying CoD is kind of a death sentence now, since it's either mediocre or (if it's an established franchise) you're alienating your fanbase.


New member
Aug 4, 2013
I don't know about anyone else, but I'd take the casual gamer title over the hardcore gamer title any day and everyday.
CoD fans probably take that part as a compliment.

"...or even gamers, but..."
I'm not sure about this part, however.
After looking up the definition of a gamer, CoD players technically are gamers.

Brian Tams

New member
Sep 3, 2012
Getting real sick of people on this forum starting a "Gamer vs. Non-Gamer" argument everytime the title is mentioned. Enough. If you want to discuss, make a thread saying "Let's discuss gamers" and squabble there.

OT: Well, duh. CoD has something that every publisher craves: a dedicated fanbase. Halo has it, Pokemon has it, GTA has it, Final Fantasy had it, but is starting to lose it. That's why those games are almost always sure locks to be very profitable. But dedicated fan bases are something you build overtime; a lot of publishers have gotten it into their heads that they grow up overnight. No. They do not. Activision earned their fan base. Bungie earned their fan base (and handed them off to 343). Gamefreak earned their fan base.

Now, the gamer comment. Just like how you can break down a genre into a sub genre, and a sub genre into a sub sub genre, you can break labels down into sub-labels, sub-labels into sub-sub-labels, etc.

The label "gamer" is far reaching and covers everything from shooters, RPGs, handheld and tablet gamers. CoD gamers are a specific subset of gamers. And you can break that down even farther into Casual CoD Gamer (someone who just wants to kick back and have fun), and hardcore CoD gamer (most typically defined by those who shell out cash/teach themselves how to make auto shot controllers and such, i.e. are willing to go the extra mile to "improve" their gameplay).

The label is so convoluted, and their are so many variations and sub-variations that its fucking impossible to argue about it at this point.

Lunar Templar

New member
Sep 20, 2009
this seems a very 'sky is blue' story to me. But then I'm the kind of gamer snob that thinks if all you play is one, maybe two games, ever, your a casual gamer, no matter how much time you sink into it.


New member
Sep 9, 2010
nah, already tired of classifying the term gamer, it's a loose term, very loose. Can mean a large variety of things at different times, there's no set for it, least not one a majority can seem to agree on. So, you only play COD? You only play each release of COD from each year? You only play a few hours of COD a week? Fine, call yourself a gamer, call yourself whatever you want, same with those who will play every AAA release, or every Indie release, or buy 1 game a year, or a month, or a week, and play some of, or 100% each game, or only play arcade games, or only RPGs, or RTSs, or sims, it doesn't matter. I'm tired of exclusion, I don't think I want to exclude anyone anymore, the little I ever did of it didn't get me anything. I like games, there's some I don't like, there's some I'd rather not play, I'd rather not be asked anymore why I don't play COD or GTA, they just don't appeal to me, and that's okay. And if that's all someone plays, then that's okay too, they're missing out on all the amazing games there are, but if COD makes them happy, and they're getting what they want out of it, then I'm not going to bash them.


New member
Jun 2, 2011
To me, the measurable difference is attitude toward other games. Many of the people who play COD can talk about that and bond about that, but anyone who plays other games will just get weird looks and be treated as an outsider if they bring up other games.

That, I think, is why people see many COD players as not being gamers. Because most self-identified gamers are open to the whole world of gaming, and two gamers can feel a connection even if they don't play the same sorts of games. But there's COD players who would theoretically be "gamers", yet they would still (consciously or not) alienate other gamers who play different things.

A "gamer" appreciates games as a medium of entertainment, regardless of what they play or how they play. A "COD-player" only appreciates COD, not the medium itself.

You can't group both kinds of people together as "gamers", because they aren't the same kind of people with similar attitudes.


New member
Dec 18, 2003
After reading most of the replies I ventured to ye ole Urban dictionary

It almost hits upon what most people are talking about. Still I'm not completely satisfied with that answer. Nor am I completely happy that it's slightly true. Gamers are like onions; there are layers. (and levels) Just when you think you have it figured out you dig deeper and find something else. Might as well try to count the grains of sand on a beach. Just not going to happen. What the OP points out is the developer noticing the buying trends. It's good to know your audience, but don't stifle innovation and creativity. Say you are the best at what you do, that's not excuse against improving yourself.


New member
Aug 20, 2009
CoD is a game.

Because they're clearly enthusiastic about a video game people who play it for thousands of hours are clearly gamers.

Anything else is bullshit.


New member
May 25, 2011
"I'm not a football fan because I only support Manchester United."

Yeah, that's not how it works.