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Free Zone: Hardcore or Casual

Posted Oct 19, 2009 by Jon Wood

Free Zone: Hardcore or Casual

Richard Aioshi returns with his column this week, this time tackling the subject of hardcore vs. casual in the free to play market.

Richard Aihoshi

It's impossible to pay even a passing amount of attention to the free to play sector without running into some topic related to these two types of gameplay. Quite often, we see them addressed as if they form a basic dichotomy; i.e. hardcore versus casual. Sometimes, advanced casual works its way in as a third category. Either way, it generally seems as if we're all supposed to know and understand the differences.

While it can be easy to use these two or three groupings, I prefer to think along the lines of a spectrum that runs from extremely hardcore at one end to very casual on the other. In addition, I don't necessarily position any given game at a single point. That's because key elements can fall at different places; for example, in a release with sieging and crafting, the latter can be considerably more casual. Whether this is good design is questionable, but it does happen, presumably to help broaden a title's potential market.

Read Free Zone: Hardcore or Casual.