It's always been extremely convenient to categorize the wide spectrum of gamers into the two distinct, warring camps of "hardcore" and "casual" (especially for journalists, who love condensing difficult ideas into single words) . But that dichotomy isn't too useful for accurately describing most gamers, who fall somewhere in between the guys from Penny Arcade
and your grandpa who played Tetris
that one time.
Enter Parks Associates
, a market research firm that recently issued a report on online gamers that divides them into six distinct groups based on their time and motivational commitments. Parks' categories include:
- "Power gamers" who spend the most money on games.
- "Social gamers" who use games mainly to socialize (duh!)
- "Leisure gamers" who spend lots of time playing mainly challenging, casual titles.
- "Dormant gamers" who like playing games but just don't have the time.
- "Incidental gamers" who play games because there's nothing better to do.
- "Occasional gamers," who will occasionally play a puzzle, word, or board game.
This division isn't perfect (where's the space for people who buy one game and play it exclusively for months?) but it's definitely an interesting new way to think about and discuss the incredibly wide array of people who play. What kind of gamer are you?