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summer-solstice-2011We were a little surprised to discover there is an apparent rift between two sections of gamers – casual and hardcore – and even more surprised to read some of the comments the two have left for one another, but that doesn’t mean the two gaming groups can’t get along. Besides, casual and hardcore games aren’t as different from each other as some might think.

It’s true, casual gaming is the new kid on the block, but it’s growing – and its chunk of the pie is nothing to laugh at.

If you’ve come under fire for your love of casual games, don’t worry. There are more people like you enjoying casual games than ever. With articles appearing in Forbes defending the casual style of play and the growth of the mobile gaming industry, it’s a good time to be a casual gamer!

A recent Forbes article recognized casual gaming as an evolution of the genre and highlighted mobile gaming as a medium for innovation. “Developers are charting new territory, garnering new gamers and experimenting with new ideas,” the article proclaims.

The disconnect between casual and hardcore gamers stems from a big shift in the industry, and we all know how people deal with change.

Although casual gaming might be undergoing an evolution, it hasn’t entirely separated itself from the old-school genre. Time and resource management games draw inspiration from traditional strategy games by placing importance on the ability to prioritize which buildings or military units to create with limited resources. The upgrade systems in many tower defense games shares similarities with classic role-playing games. Casual and hardcore gamers enjoy many of the same gameplay mechanics, they just enjoy them in different presentations.

Just because you can pick up a game in a few hours and make significant progress doesn’t mean the game lacks of complexity – whether you enjoy complicated Puzzle games or intricate Hidden Object games with voiceovers and detailed, artistic scenes.

Casual Gaming: Here to Stay

As we recently highlighted, Daily Finance says casual gamers are fast becoming the core of the entire gaming market, and there have also been significant breakthroughs in technology that should have some awesome effects on the causal gaming experience.

NVIDIA, the video card company, recently developed a cloud computing-based graphics card. Cloud computing and video cards are a bit on the technical side, and we don’t want to bore you, so we’ll skip straight to what it means for gaming. Basically, imagine if your computer could use a powerful video card through the internet, much like how your monitor receives streaming movies through services like Netflix.

While it might be a little ways off before that kind of technology becomes widely available, it does have some really amazing implications for the future of gaming. Why is it good news? Well, it means you wouldn’t need to own a super computer to play games, even graphically intensive ones. It would allow developers to design even more visually impressive games for gamers who don’t want to fork out several hundred dollars for a new video card.

It’s also good for gamers who like options. New cloud-based gaming technology like NVIDIA’s would enable the possibility for different pricing models as well as new playing options. Allowing gamers to stream their games instead of downloading them would open the door for subscription-based pricing. Imagine being able to choose between buying and downloading, or paying a subscription to access unlimited video games through the web. Pretty cool, huh?

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