'Hardcore' and 'casual' are no longer adequate in defining gamers research says

Cal Jeffrey

TS Evangelist
Staff member

I used to consider myself a hardcore gamer. Then came a wife and kids and other responsibilities, and I just do not have the same amount of free time for it that I used to have. So "hardcore" doesn't really fit me.

However, I still do play video games when I get a chance. I watch some streamers on Twitch when I’m not playing or streaming myself. And I frequently write about the subject. So, the term “casual gamer” does not really fit me either.

Gaming and esports analytics firm Newzoo has seen that the gaming landscape has changed drastically. It spent a year studying gaming habits and has come up with eight new “personas” to better define today’s gamers.

The personas are based on various metrics ranging from the amount of money spent on gaming to how much esports are watched. The eight personas Newzoo came up with follows (survey breakdown in parenthesis).

  • The Ultimate Gamer (13%) — You love nothing more than spending all your money and free time on games.
  • The All-Around Enthusiast (9%) — You live a balanced gaming life in your playing, viewing, and buying habits.
  • The Cloud Gamer (19%) — You're most likely an early adopter of game streaming services and will only spend money on hardware when necessary.
  • The Conventional Player (4%) — You own tons of gaming hardware and would rather spend your time playing games than watching other people play games.
  • The Hardware Enthusiast (9%) — You keep up with all the latest hardware trends and probably have a $5,000 extreme-build rig with RGB lighting everywhere.
  • The Popcorn Gamer (13%) — You don't play games all that much, but you like watching others play.
  • The Backseat Viewer (6%) — You used to game a lot, but you got older, and life happened, so you get your kicks from watching esports and people play other games.
  • The Time Filler (27%) — You play games to pass the time, when you have time, and you rarely touch a PC game.

Interestingly, most of the respondents were The Time Filler — the casual gamer of old — and were a median age of 38 with more than 50 percent in the 51-65 age bracket.

Newzoo has posted an abbreviated quiz based on its gamer survey if you are interested in where you fall in its “Gamer Segmentation.” Unsurprisingly, I am an All-Around Enthusiast. Its summary of the all-arounder fits me to a tee.

“The all-around enthusiast is an avid gamer who plays [and watches] for many hours a week. They may not be as dedicated as Ultimate Gamers, but games are still serious business for this persona. They are typically fulltime workers, so paying for the newest titles — as well as hardware — is not an issue. All-Around Enthusiasts enjoy a holistic gaming experience by combining playing games, viewing game content, and owning dedicated gaming hardware.”

Where do you fall in Newzoo’s Gamer Segmentation, and do you agree with its assessment? Let us know in the comments.

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TomSEA

TechSpot Chancellor
Apparently, I'm an "Ultimate Gamer." But also an old fart in the 51-65 age bracket.

All I can say is video/computer gaming has been arguably my #1 recreational past-time since the very first Pong TV game came out a zillion years ago. And I never even lived in my Mom's basement to boot. :p
 

BSim500

TS Evangelist
"Where do you fall in Newzoo’s Gamer Segmentation, and do you agree with its assessment?"
There's more than casual vs hardcore, but half the supposedly unique categories are just duplications worded differently. Eg, Popcorn & Backseat are exactly the same "I'd rather watch others stream". Conventional & Ultimate are both the opposing "I'd rather play games than watch someone else". Conventional and Hardware Enthusiast both "own lots of hardware", and anyone who reads news sites owns a $5,000 rig. Most people enjoy discounts but that doesn't make them "cloud gamers" simply because the games were bought cheap, and F2P would probably be better filed under "Time Filler" since mobile-centric mechanics are exactly what the super-grindy gameplay is styled around far more than any streaming service. All Rounder = anyone who watches movies / listens to music (ie, everyone). I'm pretty sure someone could cut the fluff down to 4-6 categories (even after adding missing ones like retro gaming), that actually measure gamer habits differently, not merely the same things re-worded differently twice over.
 
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Polycount

TS Evangelist
Staff member
My only gripe with the quiz is that it combines watching esports and watching gaming channels. This is way too narrow.

I watch channels like Angry Joe, Jim Sterling, and Yong Yea, but I do not watch streamer channels, or any esports at all. They cater to completely different segments of the gaming population. One is all about the dopamine rush, the other likes detailed breakdowns of industry news and events and lengthy game reviews.

Still an interesting study nonetheless. I got "Ultimate Gamer" in the quiz.
 
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nnguy2

TS Booster
"Where do you fall in Newzoo’s Gamer Segmentation, and do you agree with its assessment?"
There's more than casual vs hardcore, but half the supposedly unique categories are just duplications worded differently. Eg, Popcorn & Backseat are exactly the same "I'd rather watch others stream". Conventional & Ultimate are both the opposing "I'd rather play games than watch someone else". Conventional and Hardware Enthusiast both "own lots of hardware", and anyone who reads news sites owns a $5,000 rig. Most people enjoy discounts but that doesn't make them "cloud gamers" simply because the games were bought cheap, and F2P would probably be better filed under "Time Filler" since mobile-centric mechanics are exactly what the super-grindy gameplay is styled around far more than any streaming service. All Rounder = anyone who watches movies / listens to music (ie, everyone). I'm pretty sure someone could cut the fluff down to 4-6 categories (even after adding missing ones like retro gaming), that actually measure gamer habits differently, not merely the same things re-worded differently twice over.
That's my assessment too. I think this segmentation is terrible, should just be 3-4 types:

the enthusiasts
the time filler
the cloud gamer
the spectator.

Unless the 3 different enthusiasts types different by age and income that is not shown here it's a bad customer segmentation.
 

Prosercunus

TS Maniac
In the 90's and early 00's I would have definitely considered myself a hardcore gamer. I had more time and simply put the standard wasn't so damn high. Now in 2019 there is no way I could commit the time and even if I could I would never spend the ungodly amount of time some people do in a video game.
 
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wiyosaya

TS Evangelist
I tested as a hardware enthusiast. However, I do not have an extreme build $5K rig, nor would I ever spend even $0.01 on RGB lighting. :confused:
 
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brucek

TS Maniac
Maybe this analysis will help some companies target their marketing, but I can't imagine any gamer using those categories to talk to other gamers.

The only time wheres I've heard categorization attempted, and that it maybe mattered a little, was in multiplayer online situations where you were trying to figure out if you were in the right group for the content you were attempting. Like you might need a "hardcore" group to do the hardest raid in a MMO. Even then the terms had little to do with time played -- casual could play just as many hours -- it was more a mindset and depth of preparation.
 
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Kraemepoo

TS Enthusiast
Conventional gamer, and their chart matches my observation from myself and my friends.
mostly 30-45 years old.
We're all in adulthood with time consuming kids, families, jobs, and hobbies. On the other hand our careers now allow us to buy any hardware or games we want. Our setups are always cutting edge, but the limiting factor is time, so we have an extensive list of games we want to play, already own, but haven't yet installed. When we play, we don't buy loot boxes or in game currency or merchandise, and we don't watch people play.
 

Toju Mikie

TS Addict
I got Conventional Gamer, but I'm 24 and live with my parents. Currently work part-time, but since I don't make much, half of my computer components came from eBay, but working part-time also means that I have more time to play as well.
 

m3tavision

TS Evangelist
They missed a complete segment of Gamers ... the "Core" Gamer. Who play a certain type of game, and are at it's core. They rarely play any other type of game, because they are extremely competitive in their field of gameplay. They game with their guilds, clan, or squadmates almost exclusively.

They are the expert gamers who are at the top of the game mentally and don't suffer from hardware envy. The game for competitive game play & the challenge, not nec for entertainment
 

elementalSG

TS Addict
I was classified correctly under "Hardware Enthusiast". But then I'm an avid reader of Techspot and love the hardware reviews, so that was pretty much a no-brainer!
 

xpwjintel

TS Rookie
I think there are only few gamer categories now: fortnite gamers, webbrowser gamers(those who play facebook or other web browser games), mobile gamers, and true gamers (formerly PC and Console gamers) :D
 

Axiarus

TS Evangelist
I think there are only few gamer categories now: fortnite gamers, webbrowser gamers(those who play facebook or other web browser games), mobile gamers, and true gamers (formerly PC and Console gamers) :D
I really hate how someone bored at work who hops on Candy Crush to pass time, then goes home and plays no games at all is considered a gamer now. No.
 

Bp968

TS Booster
Maybe this analysis will help some companies target their marketing, but I can't imagine any gamer using those categories to talk to other gamers.

The only time wheres I've heard categorization attempted, and that it maybe mattered a little, was in multiplayer online situations where you were trying to figure out if you were in the right group for the content you were attempting. Like you might need a "hardcore" group to do the hardest raid in a MMO. Even then the terms had little to do with time played -- casual could play just as many hours -- it was more a mindset and depth of preparation.
Oh yes, the goal wasn't to give us useful terms to describe each other. The goal was to get as many of us to take the quiz as possible to they could sell the information to publishers and marketing companies.

Its all about the data collection ;)
 

arrowflash

TS Booster
I got "Cloud Gamer" (maybe because I've spent very little money in gaming in the past years), but based on its definition, I don't identify with it at all. Based on the descriptions, I identify the most with both "Conventional Player" and "Hardware Enthusiast".
 

fluffydestroyer

TS Booster
@Cal Jeffrey: you're a casual and thats not bad. The description you give means that you have a life and this aint really bad. You play games, watch streamers and do other stuff. Being casual as nothing to do with the money you spend on it.

To me, there 3 of them. The casual, the influencer and the hardcore.

Casual: play games occasionally from time to time. He has a life, he does other things. Priority in his life is not games in other words. He wont play for multiple hours on end to play games.

Hardcore: He has a Mountain Dew taped to his "lala". He never gets up to go to the bathroom. He seat his not a racing chair, its the toilet itself. He plays hours upon hours. The only subject are games in his case. Ok I exagerate but you get the point. If he talks about a game, he makes an essay out of it, not a review. Almost everything he does his about game and that person could easily play games all day long without any problems.

Influencer. Thats the bad one here. Were starting to see this one a lot more. The person who doesn't play the game at all. He just hears about it and gets triggered or some subject or thing about a game massively trigger something in him that makes him send threats to the game developer to change the game to his liking. Were starting to see this from design characters, to change of text which they see wrong. For example, think of Pillars of eternity poetry or text or Overwatch character design for one.
 

Victor38077

TS Rookie
None of the profiles mentioned in this article fit me, so I am creating one for myself. I am a RETRO GAMER. I play games from the early 1980's to the mid 1990's. They range from games that run on Commodore 64 to MS DOS. I use emulators to play these types of games. The most advanced game I play is the classic DOOM games. Today's games are too visually complex for me to handle.