Once again, Gamasutra comes up with an interesting piece. This time, it’s an article by Raph Koster speculating on the future of hardcore games.

He isn’t exactly a doomsayer. However, he does believe that the expanding casual market is going to eat into the core (obviously, hardcore) market. It’s a matter of money. Economics.

The hardcore crowd is dedicated, but we all know that the A-titles cost millions to produce these days. So they had better rake in millions of dollars in sales to recoup the investment.

On the other hand, “casual” games don’t have as high an investment, and by their nature, can reach more players. Koster sees more development money and resources switching over to the casual side.

Does this mean the hardcore crowd will be left out in the cold? He doesn’t think so. In fact, he sees an eventual merger of the two, sort of, as the casual games become more complex.

The again, while the hardcore gamers may enjoy the occasional casual product, they’re still fiercely dedicated to “their” kinds of games. It’s unlikely they would switch sides, so to speak.

Of course, this is all speculation. I doubt that the hardcore market will ever go away. But it may shrink somewhat in the future, as the jump into the casual market by “the big dogs” continues. After all, if you can make big bucks on a (relatively) small outlay, why not?

And what about the indie developers? Who knows. If the hardcore market does start to “downsize”, perhaps the independents will find a new market for themselves.

UNcertain Future For Core Gamers on Gamasutra