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The Blurring of Casual and Hardcore Games

by Jon on September 21, 2009

I gave a talk at Austin GDC 2009 titled “Emerging Trends in Gameplay: The Blurring Lines Between Casual and Hardcore.”  One of the main points I made–and which I think was well received–is the notion that you shouldn’t be thinking of casual and hardcore as two separate market silos.  Instead, think of how to utilize what works in each category (casual = accessible, hardcore = immersive/engaging) in whatever games you are creating.

If you have been to one of my talks on market trends before, some of the data will look familiar–but there’s something here for everyone, new or old!  However, I was able to include some very recent data from Twitter that shows the stellar growth in game-related conversations for the last three months (7.6% compound week-over-week growth!) as well as shifts in Twitter conversation regarding games (e.g., the huge impact that The Beatles: Rock Band made on game-related attention in the week of 9/9/09).

The Twitter data is in the form of heatmaps, which are on slides 15, 16 and 45.  Here is the slide showing the heatmap of conversation growth for June through mid-September 2009.

The entire presentation is available in its entirety on Slideshare.  You can view it here:

Thank you for reading this article. Please follow me on Twitter to hear more from me on innovation, games and entrepreneurship. If you'd like to learn how games can transform your business, also check out my book, Game On: Energize Your Business with Social Media Games.

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Shifting Demographics in Online Game Play
November 28, 2009 at 3:08 pm

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Stephen ReidNo Gravatar September 21, 2009 at 8:23 pm

Hey Jon, I was in the audience at AGDC and enjoyed the talk, thanks for that.

One thing I don’t recall being mentioned in the talk was how you came by your Twitter data – was it all via or were you looking at Twitter in ‘raw’ form? I’m just guessing there will be some tweets about gaming that don’t necessarily contain key search terms, so there’s margin for error here.

Regardless it’s still fascinating information, and I liked the ‘heat map’ presentation format; was that something you did by hand or did you find some handy generating software somewhere?

Cheers for the talk.

JonNo Gravatar September 28, 2009 at 1:57 pm

@StephenReid We acquired the data via, which operates on top of the Twitter Search API that looks at every tweet that crosses over Twitter containing any of about 1000 keywords we track (mostly hashtags and strings associated with popular games); I guess you could say that this means we look at the information in relatively “raw” form, although it’s true that there’s probably some game-related tweets that we miss (because it doesn’t fall into the 1000 keywords we’re constantly searching on).

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