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Is a "Core" user just one who spends a lot?

By on March 5, 2012

One of the things I love about blogging is that it allows people to take your ideas, riff on them and improve them in the process.

Gereko Hoppsbusch

I was reading Randy Angle’s blog on Analytics & Metrics in Game Design via a vanity Google search, and he commented on my post Why Core Gamers Hate Social Games: Because Their Selfish Exploitation Of Casual Gamers Is Coming To An End.

Randy had already discussed in his post why have free players to provide the “party” atmosphere are so important to whales and high-rollers. He then turned my idea on its head and says:

This is an interesting redefinition of what “core” and “casual” actually means – and may for the first time reconcile what is really going on. The “core” players are the one who pay for the game and “casual” players are the ones who provide the party or social atmosphere. I was always reluctant to believe the old definition by time played (core plays more than casual)  – my wife, who enjoys puzzles and card games, will play those for dozens of hours each week, but she would not consider herself a “gamer”, and as busy as I am, I generally only get limited time to play as many games as I like… and the ones I do get to play tend to be for 5 or 10 minutes at a time, but I definitely define my lifestyle as “gamer” by choice. So I like the idea of “core” or “casual” describing a game player’s spending behavior, not the kinds of games they play.

Is someone who plays Triple Town, Temple Run and Draw Something and spends $100 a month a casual player? Is someone who downloads Mass Effect for $4.99 from a Steam sale but finds he doesn’t have the time to finish it a core player?

What do you think?

About Nicholas Lovell

Nicholas is the founder of Gamesbrief, a blog dedicated to the business of games. It aims to be informative, authoritative and above all helpful to developers grappling with business strategy. He is the author of a growing list of books about making money in the games industry and other digital media, including How to Publish a Game and Design Rules for Free-to-Play Games, and Penguin-published title The Curve: