Casually Zumba-ing – Are Casual Games Really That Bad?

Casually Zumba-ing – Are Casual Games Really That Bad?

Casual gaming is a term that was only coined in recent years, and during that time it’s been slapped with some pretty negative stigmas. But is casual gaming truly as bad as a lot of people make it out to be?

Let me start by telling you where the idea of this article comes from. It all stems from the fact that inherently casual game Zumba Fitness has absolutely dominated the charts here in the UK for weeks on end now – it has held onto the top spot for over two months despite extreme competition from other titles such as Catherine, Harry Potter and Lego Pirates of the Carribean. In short, casual gaming has had a lengthy reign right at the top, and it doesn’t seem to be shifting from that spot anytime soon.

Why is this though? Why, in a sea of other games, is a ‘casual’ title dominating the charts? Well, quite simply it’s because the casual gamer is rapidly growing in size, so much so that it’ll soon be that the ratio of ‘hardcore’ to ‘casual’ gamers will be pretty damn equal. A lot of hardcore gamers may not like the fact that casual gaming is so popular, but the fact remains that it is just that popular – in thousands if not millions of homes around the globe mothers who’ve never picked up a controller in their life are currently gyrating their hips to Zumba Fitness, suckered in by the prospect of getting fit in their own home using the delights of their son’s/daughter’s favourite console, which, until now, was just that box thing that their respective children obsess over.

Is it any wonder, truly, that Nintendo focuses on this market? You know it’s becoming extremely dominant when a casual game reigns atop the charts for weeks on end, comfortably earning masses of sales on a daily basis and I, for one, can’t blame Nintendo for wanting to tap into the massive success of the casual market.

You could of course argue that the Summertime is a time when all the big releases don’t seem to come, but there’s still been a good amount of games coming out recently that one would think would jump to the top spot instead of something like Zumba Fitness.  Shockingly, Zumba even knocked Rockstar’s LA Noire from the top spot, and the remake of The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time couldn’t usurp the massively popular fitness game from the top spot. Instead Zumba Fitness laughed from on top of its pedestal at the top, knowing full well that the casual game is something that is here to stay, and it is now something that can easily be in competition with other ‘hardcore’ titles.

Very many people will be sad with this state of affairs where a casual game reigns at the top of the charts, but I for one think its a good thing that casual titles are becoming more popular. While I wouldn’t say they’re my cup of tea and I’d play them actively, I can understand how involving a wider consumer base – a consumer base who likes a different form of gaming title – is an extremely positive thing for the gaming industry.

First and foremost, bringing in a massive new audience means gaming steps away further from the negative stigmas that have been slapped upon it. With more and more diverse ranges of audiences playing gaming, people are starting to see the positives more than the negatives, and embrace gaming as a form of home entertainment that isn’t the evil thing that a lot of media outlets make it out to be. Could you imagine ten years ago seeing a grandma gyrating her hips on an advert for Wii  on the television? I know I couldn’t, and while I didn’t exactly want to see it, its amazing that these type of people, IE the older generation, are starting to embrace gaming with increased fervour.

This in turn improves the industry. With more and more casual fans coming in to complement the hardcore fans, millions of pounds of cash is poured into the industry every year, helping more and more companies to innovate and bring new things to the table. With the combination of hardcore and casual fans pouring all the money into the gaming industry, the industry itself is only going to grow to new leaps and bounds, giving us more and more stellar titles over the years to come.

The Other Side of The Casual Coin

Many hardcore fans would argue that casual games are completely rubbish – it is from casual gaming that the term ‘shovelware’ was born, IE, shoving games down the throats of casual fans that will eat them up, scarcely aware of the poor quality these titles have been associated with. Thing is though, casual gamers love this stuff – kids and their parents love playing minigames as its simple to do and gives them ease of use while letting them have fun as a family or by themselves.

A casual game may the equivalent of stepping in a particularly large cow pat up to your knees to a hardcore gamer, but to the casual gamer, these type of titles are absolutely fine. There’s some good casual games out there, don’t get me wrong, but a lot of them are just cheap cash-ins based on the wants of the casual fans, which isn’t a bad thing consider it is what this new generation of gamers wants.

Casual gaming is here, and we can’t do much about it. Speaking personally as a predominantly hardcore gamer, I don’t mind casual gaming. I can see why people like it, and I tend to steer clear of it and focus entirely on the ‘bigger’ titles that come out periodically and more than satisfy my gaming needs. Zumba Fitness is top of the UK Charts for a reason, and that reason is that casual gaming is massively popular – it’s here to stay whether you like it or not, and I for one hope that a lot of you, upon reading this article, will agree that, while casual gaming may not be for us, we can understand how big the market is, and how beneficial it is to our beloved gaming industry.

 

Read More