/// PlayStation: Midcore Gamers Are the Future of Mobile

August 1, 2013  |  All Things Digital


“ Midcore : ‘I play games regularly, favouring immersive games. I do not spend great lengths of time gaming and don’t not spend a large amount of money on it. However if I would have more spare time I would probably spend more time and possibly money on games.’” – One definition of midcore gamers, formulated and given to survey respondents by Newzoo . At the Casual Connect gaming conference, happening this week in San Francisco, PlayStation Mobile’s Sarah Thomson said the company is chasing an underserved market: midcore gamers, the fuzzily defined group between “casual” and “hardcore” gamers. The number of people who identify themselves as “midcore” is growing, said Thomson, who is the senior manager of mobile content acquisition for PlayStation Mobile. And that’s a big deal for the software, which powers about 150 games for Android and Sony’s PS Vita handheld console, as the company tries to figure out how to reach beyond its hardcore-leaning console-gamer base. After acknowledging that the term sometimes makes developers cringe, Thomson argued that midcore is an inevitable “next step” for mobile gamers who may have enjoyed casual games in the past, but now want a little bit more. That means better stories, and possibly better graphics, while still catering to mobile devices’ strengths like touchscreen controls and the ability to pick up and play a game anywhere with a shallow learning curve. As you might expect, Thomson pitched the developer audience on PlayStation Mobile as the place for a new crop of midcore games, noting that all of PlayStation’s platforms have quietly supported free-to-play business models (which have thrived among mobile games) for nearly two years. After her talk, she said the company has not evolved very quickly in the past, but that the rise of mobile has now pressed it to iterate and experiment faster than it has historically. Of course, blurring the lines between previously separate audiences means that there are some games which may need to be reconsidered. Thomson called herself a “hardcore Candy Crush Saga player,” saying the game had “hardcore elements.” She cited this Newzoo article comparing the audiences for Candy Crush and the presumably more hardcore game Clash of Clans. 31 percent of Candy Crush Saga players and 44 percent of Clash of Clans players surveyed by Newzoo identified themselves as “midcore.” “There are games that would be considered casual that have midcore to hardcore elements in them,” Thomson said. “They can do well because the quality level is there, and the engagement level is there. There’s room for hybrids.”

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PlayStation: Midcore Gamers Are the Future of Mobile

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