Classic vs. Casual Gaming: Have Casual Games Won the War?

There were casual and classic games before the smartphones, although people didn’t highlight that distinction too much. If you wanted to be taken seriously as a gamer, you spent hours every day playing and even attend tournaments and gaming conventions. On the other hand, casual gaming was more reserved for people like my dad who wanted to relax after an 8-hour day at work.

But then phones started being technologically better and better with pre-installed games like Lines. Although serious gamers didn’t pay much attention to that, everyday people saw it as distraction and fun while commuting to work, waiting for someone or looking for a way to clear their head. And today, casual and classic gaming exist on the same plane although it’s still debatable which one is in the lead.  

A Brief History of Video Gaming

Believe it or not, but first video games are dated to 1950s when scientists designed simulations for research. In the ‘60s, M.I.T. already had games played on IBM 1560 with punch cards used to make moves. At that time, games were fun but also served to show what is technologically possible to achieve with the available hardware and how to use it to design complex software solutions.

It was in the ‘70s and especially ‘80s that the games became a part of the popular culture with arcades being the favorite place for kids to go out, aside from the movies and discotheques. Gaming consoles also appeared at that time and they weren’t as sophisticated as the ones we have today. It’s in the 1980s really that video games started gaining the popularity they enjoy today.

The earliest games were developed by computer scientists like Spacewar! in the ‘60s, while video arcades showed up in every mall with coin-operated machines during the ‘80s. One of the early personal computers, Commodore 64 used cassette tapes to load the games and this computer was so much beloved that in 2018 we will have its Mini version. Minus the archaic loading process which took forever. Joysticks were a common means to control the characters in the game and they were usually fixed on the table for stability, although gamers were known to hold them up in the air with both hands. Depends on the gaming style they use, I guess.

Today, we have several consoles, PC, Nintendo Switch and smartphones which are all capable technologies to play a variety of games. The games aren’t available to geeks and nerds anymore, but everyone is now into them in one way or another. However, from the distinction among people to those who play and those who don’t, we are now faced with a new and evolved one: classic and casual gamers.  

Classic vs. Casual Gaming Dilemma

Both classic and casual games are pretty lucrative parts of the gaming industry which can be summed up to billions of dollars. Classic games have more funds and manpower to back them up since their user pay top dollar for the experience and they are played on PC or consoles. But if this was the rule before, today it’s really vague to notice this since many classic games are also available on smartphones and tablets. Now, this distinction is made based on the experience users have during the gameplay and more with regard to how they approach the game.

Namely, casual games have rewards for gamers at the end of levels and are easy to stop playing. Mostly, these are free-to-play and pay-2-win titles not very hard to play, like simulators or match-3 games. This includes most of the mobile games out there since the developers want to attract as many consumers as possible without turning it into a burden. Thus, anyone can become a casual gamer, no matter the age or previous experience and with in-app purchases, this is a very profitable business. But big titles like movie-game Last of Us and multiplayer ones like Call of Duty can also be considered as casual if you are there for the story or quick entertainment.

Then again, competitive games you will most likely see in the tournaments are classics only reserved for hardcore gamers. These are demanding games when observed from the game mechanics and time needed to overcome it. Dota, Starcraft, World of Warcraft and Counter-Strike all belong to this group of games. Even fighting games are perceived as more classic than casual due to the complicated mechanics they use for battles and dedication needed to master a character.

The distinction between these two types is also determined by the addiction a person builds when playing a game. If a person can’t pause the game and takes the in-game tasks really seriously so that they schedule all other responsibilities around it, then they are a classic gamer. Alternatively, casual gamers are not addicted to the game and if it requires too much effort they will simply quit. Of course, classic games are available for all platforms as well as the casual games so it basically matters of declaring where you belong.

So, are casual gamers prevailing?

In a sense, yes. The world is full of tired and exhausted people from everyday stress that the last thing they want is to get more stressed with a classic game. But the popularity of classic games is not so easy to beat since the big money is behind all the tournaments and conventions dedicated to them, as well as technological advances that are constantly improving to back them up.  

While casual gaming may have more users, classic games will leave more dust behind due to the tech-savvy generation that plays them. The war between the two is still going strong, and it will continue since with VR technology classic games will try to win over more gamers to their side. In the end, its more about winning the battles and when it comes to that, casual games don’t disappoint.

What do you think? Do you consider yourself a casual gamer or a hardcore one? Leave your comment below.