There is no such thing as ‘hardcore gaming’. It is all marketing rhetorical bullshit. What it is, and what the Game Industry has become, is polarized around AAA gaming. AAA is an investment reference, not a quality reference (in terms of gaming quality). Take a look at this:
You notice the Jenga blocks all have AAA at the top, then AA, and it goes on down. In terms of gaming investments, AAA gaming is an investment term. AAA game means the game is the most profitable and safest gaming investment though it is very costly.
Video games used to be design based where it was expected that video games were to all be differentiated. Starting in the 1990s especially around the arrival of one game, Wing Commander, it became realized that big sales can be made from high production values. You can literally buy marketshare. This AAA mindset then began to take root in several genres (such as sports games) and then kept spreading. The AAA mindset reduced competition as other studios couldn’t keep up with the mounting costs. AAA gaming also blankets the gaming community in a fog of hype. Back in the day, games were good or not when you played them. They were not ‘pre-sold’. At best, you would get a preview article in a game magazine like Nintendo Power or, better, a demo before release.
AAA gaming should really be called B gaming. These so-called AAA games fall in value extremely fast just months after release where I can buy them for a fraction of their original cost just a year or two from their release. When games cannot hold their value, it is a sign of a bad game. When you go to Gamestop, you see the shelves full of AAA games that people keep turning back in. You do not see any interest in anyone exploring the library of old AAA games like you do with the classic consoles.
While this site is perceived to be a Nintendo fan site (it isn’t), it actually is a shorting of the AAA Game Industry. Nintendo poses an existential threat to the AAA Game Industry. This is why you see so many viral marketers on the boards obsessed with the hardware because Nintendo’s hardware doesn’t make AAA gaming possible (a plus in my eyes). Why don’t they make games that fit the hardware? It is because the AAA Game Industry expects consoles to be designed around their software, not the other way around.
Software has been separated by the terms First Party and Third Party. This was useful back during the 8-bit and 16-bit Eras, but those terms are not useful today. Instead, the distinction should be AAA software and everything else. The Nintendo Switch has third party software. But the reason why certain people say it doesn’t have third party software is that they mean AAA software. When you point out that no Nintendo console has owed its success to AAA software, they then get angry and storm off.
AAA games are making less and less profit each year and costing more and more. AAA gaming is becoming riskier and riskier. The message and marketing of AAA gaming is becoming harder and harder to control due to social media and collapse of the ‘game journalists’.
AAA gaming is to video games what the blockbuster mentality is to Hollywood. Hollywood is finding out that these blockbusters are no longer sustainable and are becoming too risky. AAA gaming is becoming the same.
You can tell the difference on boards if one is part of the gravy train of AAA gaming or a gamer by how they talk. The gamer talks about games. The AAA gravy train is obsessed over the hardware and how it won’t allow any ‘games’ (these games only being AAA games).
Why do I hate game journalists? Because they are the propaganda arm for the AAA gravy train. Why do I hate Hardcore Gamers? They are the brainwashed young audience propping up the AAA gravy train.
But the time for the AAA gravy train is drawing to a close. As Iwata warned, you can’t just shit out a bunch of graphics and expect the game to sell. You just can’t make game consoles which are nothing but bigger GPUs with a controller. Gaming has to be more than just production effects and hype.