Own 10 Or More Games On Steam? You Are Too Core For Many Developers

John Keefer

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Aug 12, 2013
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Own 10 Or More Games On Steam? You Are Too Core For Many Developers

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The debate of core gamer vs. casual gamer has been around for awhile now, but one developer was bold enough to say that, on the whole, core gamers as a group "don't matter" to most game developers any more.

You've probably seen the debates. Gamers with PCs and consoles argue their status as the most important demographic in the video game market, while mobile games and casual gamers are more on the periphery. According to a panel at GDC in San Francisco this week, the inverse may now be true.

Daniel Cook, founder of independent game developer Spry Fox, asked his audience how many owned 10 or more games on Steam. When most raised their hands, he calmly told them "you don't matter."

"You are novelty seekers," Cook said. "You are the smallest demographic in gaming."

The gaming industry has grown to an almost $100 billion business, with slightly more than one-third of that being mobile gaming. The panel - composed of Cook, Lulu LaMer of Funomena Studio, Kongregate's Emily Greer, Storm8 product manager Ramine Darabiha, and Lee Perry of Bitmonster Games - rallied around the idea that, while PC, Xbox One and PlayStation 4 players will always spend a lot of money, the most "core" people who make up those audiences aren't worth chasing after for most studios building games.

LaMer said that the idea that mobile games are more for casual gamers is an archaic one, and one that actually hurts creativity. "Even if you get all core gamers together in a room, they don't agree on what the term means," she said. "That limits the form, and it limits innovation."

Perry, who worked at Epic Games on such titles as Gears of War 2 and Fortnite before forming his own studio, understands the divide in terminology better than most. "It was easy to see mobile gaming as transitionary," he said. "And I used to think of these people as if they were turning into 'real gamers.' And I realized I was devaluing them and doing a disservice by not thinking of mobile and casual as its own form of gaming."

All the panelists were in agreement that a core vs. casual debate is detrimental to the way the games industry is headed.

"I have a problem with calling it core because that makes everything else seem peripheral," Greer said. "It doesn't equally value the experiences of other players."

In concluding the session, Cook reiterated that the debate over terminology and dividing the player base will do more harm than good.

"It's hard to talk about these things logically when they are really, truly stupid tribal behaviors," he said. "I dislike these giant dichotomies. We have over a billion players. There's so many different groups playing games right now. Any time you split up the group to two - into us and them - you're doing a huge disservice to them and yourself."

Source: VentureBeat [http://venturebeat.com/2016/03/15/if-you-own-more-than-10-games-on-steam-you-dont-matter-to-the-99-3b-gaming-industry/]

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Fox12

AccursedT- see you space cowboy
Jun 6, 2013
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That's fine, most developers don't matter to me either.

*Goes back to playing Dark Souls, Silent Hill 2, and Undertale.

EDIT: Also, spryfox, the legendary developer behind alpha bear, triple town, and... panda poet.
 

Fulbert

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Jan 15, 2009
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I guess it would make sense that people who game on PC wouldn't matter much for a mobile games developer. The feeling is mutual, actually.
 

Bad Player

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Jun 21, 2013
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So Cook opened the presentation by dividing the audience into who had and didn't have 10+ games on Steam...

and then concluded by saying that dichotomizing gamers is stupid?
 

Davroth

The shadow remains cast!
Apr 27, 2011
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I for one am happy to finally feel like a marginalized minority as well.

Fox12 said:
EDIT: Also, spryfox, the legendary developer behind alpha bear, triple town, and... panda poet.
Hey, TripleTown might just be the best match three game there is. I know that is not saying much if you don't like match three games, but...
 

NPC009

Don't mind me, I'm just a NPC
Aug 23, 2010
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Random thought: isn't having more than ten games on Steam just a matter of time? Even if you're just going to buy 2-3 big releases every year (like the newest installment of a shooter or sports series of your choice), you'll still end up owning 10+ games on Steam after several years. I mean, unlike consoles, it's not as if you can sell them and not have them anymore once you're ready to move on to something different.

Anyway, he can call me a novelty seeker all he wants, because I actually agree with that and am proud to be one. Many games/series aren't just *BAM* popular, they start off in a niche and, if lucky, gain momentum from there. Minecraft started as a novelty. Novelty seekers matter to the hopeful developers who are just getting started or want to try something different. Not just because novelty seekers are willing to spend money on unproven products, but because some of them wield the power to influence others and create new buyers.

If a company/person has grow so big it no longer needs novelty seekers and can just shove their games through everyone's throats by spending million on marketing - well, good for them. However, if they started out small, which is very likely, it'd be wise to remember what they struggled through to get where they are now.
 

Smoketrail

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May 15, 2015
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If I were a cynic I would suggest that this apparent focus on gamers that stick with products long term is similar to the f2p markets focus on "whales". There's not much point in making a game if you cash cow s are just going to wonder off.
 

munx13

Some guy on the internet
Dec 17, 2008
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Oh no, some mobile game devs don't care for me...whatever shall I do? Other than, you know, play games that are actually good?
 

Bindal

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May 14, 2012
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Don't have MOST people more than 10 games on Steam, if they actually own any games to begin with (and don't just play F2P)?

Better question is: How many of these people care about him? Probably none.
 

Nazulu

They will not take our Fluids
Jun 5, 2008
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Huh. I haven't heard about this debate for awhile now. I just thought we all agreed we all see it differently and left it at that. I think they missed the point of that with their... would you call it a point?

Also if you don't want to stifle creativity, then you'll do what you believe is best and not focus on peoples beliefs which will never change regardless. If they're concerned of a label that will say more about them.
 

Neverhoodian

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Apr 2, 2008
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While I would normally agree with his statement that the "casual vs core" debate is needlessly divisive, it's just as divisive (if not more so) to tell potential customers that they "don't matter." News flash: I own more than 10 games on Steam AND play on my smartphone. They're not mutually exclusive.

Reading between the lines in the VB article indicates that these people are chasing the "whales" for F2P mobile games. I'll admit it does make financial sense in a shrewd, borderline immoral sort of way. After all, why spend all that time and money creating an entirely new game from scratch when you can just add some random loot microtransacations and watch people spend <a href=http://www.escapistmagazine.com/forums/read/9.935707-Man-spends-6-000-on-microtransactions-in-a-single-day>literally thousands on it?

I kind of miss the good old days, when snake oil salesmen had to put on a good performance to win people over instead of simply exploiting our hunter-gatherer instincts and dopamine glands.
 

Jeteye

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Nazulu said:
Huh. I haven't heard about this debate for awhile now. I just thought we all agreed we all see it differently and left it at that.
Ya I thought this debate was let go awhile ago too. I haven't heard this argument in a while.

John Keefer said:
"Any time you split up the group to two - into us and them - you're doing a huge disservice to them and yourself."
He says its a disservice to split gamers up into groups but that's exactly what he did when he said if you own more than 10 games you're "too core." The Core vs. Casual is a silly debate but telling your audience (a literal audience in this case) you don't matter if you own more than 10 games is really insulting.
 

EvilRoy

The face I make when I see unguarded pie.
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Apr 4, 2020
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I don't think I'm following his argument very well. He starts out saying that people who own more than ten games on Steam don't matter because they are novelty seekers (nevermind that one could very easily buy nothing but wolfenstien, call of duty, or red alert games and easily surpass ten games total - expanding into even extremely specific genre only increases the number of games you might own), but ends by saying that we shouldn't break people into groups. Which is exactly what he did. Is there like a bit of expanding quote missing?

Commenting on the larger point he seems to be making, I don't exactly see how the struggle with defining terms typical to any group is particularly detrimental to innovation. You make your product, presumably innovate in the process, and it is picked up or it isn't. No discussion of the concept of core vs casual will change the success or failure of your product. If the complaint is more centered on picking up individual concepts by investors, understand that the "core vs casual" debate is a euphemism to not support your terrible idea. Investors pick up on general concepts, arguments or jargons and regularly employ them to let you down easy when it comes to not giving you their money. They may not even necessarily understand what they are saying - just that they heard other investors or managers say it to avoid a bad idea in the past.
 

Zenja

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Jan 16, 2013
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"I have a problem with calling it core because that makes everything else seem peripheral," Greer said. "It doesn't equally value the experiences of other players."
Why is that not viewed as equal? I still can't play my Xbox (core) without my controller (peripheral). Why is he looking at it as superior/inferior? Why not just see them as different?

In concluding the session, Cook reiterated that the debate over terminology and dividing the player base will do more harm than good.

"It's hard to talk about these things logically when they are really, truly stupid tribal behaviors," he said. "I dislike these giant dichotomies. We have over a billion players. There's so many different groups playing games right now. Any time you split up the group to two - into us and them - you're doing a huge disservice to them and yourself."
What harm is it doing to split playerbases? Some gearheads are Chevy fans and others Ford fans or Toyota lovers. When it comes to bikes, I am a Honda fan and will never own a Harley Davidson. It is an "us and them" environment. But we have fun with it. Harley fans will constantly degrade me and my bike for being a Honda. I will constantly throw it in their face that my bike requires less maintenance. Harleys get more horsepower, Hondas need a lot less maintenance. But we say these things as jokes and all get along. AT the end of the day, I ride with Harley guys on my Honda. We don't get butthurt and demand that no one speaks bad about our bikes or choice in bikes. When a Ford or Dodge fan makes a joke about my Chevy, I laugh and make one about their preferred brand. Most of them are interchangable anyways.




I could post these all day and even some that admit that all of it is in good fun. You can have a healthy "us and them" environment where everything is basically fun and games. It's when people take it so serious as he is doing that ruins it. So someone took a jab at casual play, why is that such a heinous crime? They just took a jab at core play. This whole article is him telling core gamers they don't matter. Beloved casual do. Then he is all like "you guys need to quit hating on groups!"

My favorite part is when lack of innovation is blamed on gamers.

LaMer said that the idea that mobile games are more for casual games is an archaic one, and one that actually hurts creativity. "Even if you get all core gamers together in a room, they don't agree on what the term means," she said. "That limits the form, and it limits innovation."
All that limits is marketing terminology for demographics.

 

Llarys

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Aug 28, 2013
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>Core Demographic stifles creativity

>Every game he has created is a derivative of an existing game turned into freemium garbage

wfm<



But back on point, I'm not even sure what his thesis is here. I'm assuming it's the "dividing people into hard/soft core demographics is bad for creativity, because if you pander to one base you leave out the other." But I already mocked that idea, seeing as it is coming from another talentless hack pushing freemium garbage designed to trick children and people with compulsive disorders. Seeing as they're a bunch of mobile developers who are defensive about the idea that their mobile games are "casual," and believe anyone should be able to play them, maybe it's about the idea that none of us "hardcore" gamers play mobile games or think they're worth our time? Well I play plenty of mobile games...games that don't try to swindle me of my money or waste my time (cough basically nothing that these people have to offer cough). I seriously don't know.
 

Zontar

Mad Max 2019
Feb 18, 2013
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The Material Sheep said:
Of course this came out of San Francisco. The sense of absolute self satisfaction permeates everything he says.
Add to that the self-important narcissism of it all. Oh, PC gamers with more then 10 games are not the single largest group in gaming? Well I guess that means we're irrelevant now and should be forgotten. I mean it's not like the top selling games of 2015 where all available on PC making Bathesda and CD Projeck 9 figure revenue from Steam users alone while these devs would be lucky if they manage to make a one-hit-wonder in their whole career that is successful enough to not make them end up like most Bay Area indie devs who have to get a real job or to beg people to give them money to write on twitter all day.

No sir that is not at all what happened in 2015.
 

Dreiko_v1legacy

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Aug 28, 2008
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I fail to see how being told I don't matter to someone who doesn't matter to me is a thing of importance. What, is he thinking that he represents everyone or that everyone cares about his past or future games? Silly person.

Clearly there's a ton of different groups gaming but as a member of one group it isn't our job to make it so that they're gonna benefit. Our job is to promote the games and creating methids WE are fans of. I can't get enough of the hipocricy of someone speaking to an audience who he says don't matters. If they don't why waste the time speak to them, isn't that contadictory. If the others are so important, why aren't they there to hear him speak?


Some developer who is considering games like this would not have made a game I'd care to play anyways so I don't see what is lost. I don't need hundreds of games to play each year, a dozen or two are enough and there's more than those already being made by the minority of developers who disagree with this opinion. Hence, I fail to see the point to this talk. What, does he wish to rub it in peoples face that they make more money selling angry birds to grandmothers? Why would they think we care about such a thing. Sadistic narcissism is the only explanation here lol.