Almost everyone is a gamer now, but not everyone likes the same games. This makes it pretty challenging when designing and testing games.
You need a really good idea right from the start about which kind of gamer you’re targetting, otherwise you’ll get loads of false signals when it’s time to test the game.
For example, if you give a casual game to a hardcore gamer, chances are they won’t be impressed. The difficulty level might be lower, and the graphics will probably be simpler than what they expect from a game. So if you’re testing a casual game and all you do is give it to your hardcore gamer friends, you might believe you have a poor game when in fact it’s actually awesome for its intended users.
Casual gaming has exploded with the adoption of smartphones. A casual game is something you play on the train home from work, or while waiting in a queue. It requires some attention, but is not mentally taxing. The player might even be using just a single hand.
The kinds of features which distinguish a casual game are:
Often casual games have been conflated with social games. Casual games don’t have to be social though. There isn’t much social about Candy Crush, except that you can play it on Facebook. Casual, core, and hardcore games can all be social in their own way.
Core gamers are people who make a bit more time for gaming. They will play a game for enjoyment, but aren’t necessarily bothered about completing it. They may be on a console (particularly things like the Wii), or a tablet. The games require more dedication than casual games. The purpose of a game to a core gamer is similar to a TV show or film.
Hardcore gamers don’t just use gaming to fill time - they actively make time to play the latest games. They purchase hardware specifically for gaming, whether that’s the newest console, screen, controller, or graphics card.