Back in my day, there were two kinds of gamer; casual and hardcore. I personally always saw these two labels as slightly disingenuous, as they represented two absolute extremes.
Your casual gamers, for example, were the ones who played Wii Sports and enjoyed a bit of Candy Crush while waiting for the train, while hardcore gamers would you corner you at a party and tell you why the split timeline theory in The Legend of Zelda is wrong.
I’m sure we all know that it’s a much broader spectrum than that of course. Newzoo, a global provider of games and esports analytics, has spent the last year working on research and reports a wider range of categories to attempt to fit “gamers” into.
Newzoo calls it Gamer Segmentation, and the research aims to “encompass all aspects of consumer engagement with games: playing, viewing, and owning.” The company has come up with eight personas; The Ultimate Gamer, The All-Around Enthusiast, The Cloud Gamer, The Conventional Player, The Hardware Enthusiast, The Popcorn Gamer, The Backseat Viewer, and The Time Filler.
The most common, according to the research, is The Time Filler, with 27%. This persona plays games to pass the time, when they have time, and rarely touch PC games. Ironically, the least represented is The Conventional Player (9%). These gamers own “tons” of gaming hardware and would rather spend time playing games than watching other people play.
The Ultimate Gamer accounts for 13% of gamers, and they love nothing more than spending all their money and free time on games. The All-Around Enthusiast (9%) lives a balanced life in playing, viewing, and buying habits.
The Cloud Gamer is an early adopter of game streaming services, and will only spend on hardware when they have to. This persona has a surprising 19%, implying that game streaming services such as the incoming Google Stadia will be more of a hit than we might have first imagined.
The Hardware Enthusiast (9%) keeps up with the latest hardware trends, and “probably has a $5,000 extreme-build rig with RGB lighting everywhere.” The Popcorn Gamer comes in at 13%, and as the name implies, they enjoy watching others play on sites like Twitch.
Similarly, there’s the Backseat Gamer (6%). These gamers used to play a lot, but as they got older they preferred the idea of watching other people get on with it.
While these categories are pretty interesting, I don’t see people referring to one another as Hardware Enthusiasts or Popcorn Gamers over casual and hardcore anytime soon – but if you want to take the test yourself, you can head here and find out where you fit in, in this grand tapestry.
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Ewan Moore is a journalist at UNILAD Gaming who still quite hasn’t gotten out of his mid 00’s emo phase. After graduating from the University of Portsmouth in 2015 with a BA in Journalism & Media Studies (thanks for asking), he went on to do some freelance words for various places, including Kotaku, Den of Geek, and TheSixthAxis, before landing a full time gig at UNILAD in 2016.