The New Gamer's Glossary
By Sky Render

This is a glossary of terms for newcomers to gaming. You'll find explanations of basic terms here, as well as the prevailing viewpoint of the elitist gamers (who prefer the term "hardcore gamers"). Any hardcore viewpoint followed by an asterisk (*) means that this view is erroneous to the point of being the opposite or nearly the opposite of the truth.

All examples provided relate to recent or fairly recent games, which should help new gamers identify with the terms better.


Blue Ocean Strategy - A strategy involving the introduction of a new market which progressively overtakes a previous market, by means of disruption. See also: Disruption.
Hardcore viewpoint: Some book they've never read.

Example: The Blue Ocean Strategy, when applied correctly, can make any industry over in the image of the company that uses it.


Casual Gamer - A misused term to refer to roughly 4/5ths of all gamers as of 2007; ostensibly, this term implies that those who fit the label are only interested in playing brief bouts of gaming and are uninterested in upmarket games. For a better term for these gamers, see: Mainstream Gamer.
Hardcore viewpoint: Retarded gamers.*

Example: Fans of games like Wii Sports are often mistakenly called casual gamers.


Consistent Sales - A sales trend where a game does not drop off dramatically in sales, but rather experiences steady sales throughout the lifespan of its system.
Hardcore viewpoint: "Lame game" sales trend.*

Example: Brain Age follows a consistent sales trend.


Console Sales Curve - The overall disribution of sales that a console experiences in its lifetime. There are three primary sales curves: normal (high early adoption rate, quick drop-off), market leader (high early adoption rate, slow drop-off), and disruptor (moderate early adoption rate, very slow drop-off).
Hardcore viewpoint: Something too hard to understand, and thus unimportant.*

Example: The NES followed a disruptor's sales curve, the PlayStation 2 followed the market leader's sales curve, and the XBOX followed the normal sales curve.


Dark Goods - Home electronics which are marketed towards men (such as televisions, DVD players, traditional video game systems, and so forth). These goods tend to be featured prominently in electronics shops and marketed heavily, but are not vitally important to a household. As the term suggests, these products are frequently given dark casings. For contrast, see: Light Goods.
Hardcore viewpoint: Real electronics.*

Example: HDTVs are dark goods, through and through.


Disruption - Changing an established market with the introduction of a new market in such a way that the competition is rendered irrelevant in the process. See also: Blue Ocean Strategy.
Hardcore viewpoint: Crummy products for non-consumers. source

Example: Nintendo has disrupted the gaming industry with the DS and Wii.


Downmarket - The portion of the gaming industry which appeals to gamers who do not wish to have overly complex gameplay experiences, but rather, who simply want to be able to pick up a game and play. For contrast, see: Upmarket.
Hardcore viewpoint: Just another word for "casual gamers".*

Example: Nintendogs is a downmarket game.


Economics - The study of how people interact in a marketplace, in terms of the way they spend their money. See also: Supply and Demand, Market Inertia.
Hardcore viewpoint: Something you don't need to understand.*

Example: Economics are a driving force behind the game industry's growth.


Front-Loaded Sales - A sales trend where roughly 50% to 90% of all sales of a game are made in the first week, trailing off dramatically afterwards.
Hardcore viewpoint: "Blockbuster" game sales trend.

Example: Most traditional games, like Final Fantasy XII, have followed a front-loaded sales trend.


Gamer Drift - An inevitable consequence of incremental upgrades, this is when people exit the game-playing side of the industry for any reason (though usually the reason is that games no longer interest them).
Hardcore viewpoint: Weaklings too pathetic to keep up dropping out.*

Example: During the 20-year span of the NES and the PlayStation 2, gamer drift became a significant limiting factor in the growth of the gaming market.


Hardcore Gamer - An elitist demographic of people who play video games which amount to about 25 million worldwide, or about 1/5th of the total video game market as of 2007. A largely male-centric demographic. Tends to buy all systems, and as early as possible. For contrast, see: Mainstream Gamer.
Hardcore viewpoint: Real gamers; the pulse and purse of the gaming industry.* source

Example: A great deal of fans of the Metal Gear Solid series are also hardcore gamers.


Incremental Upgrade - An improvement to what has previously been available, usually possible to sum it up as "like x, but y".
Hardcore viewpoint: The only way the industry gets better.*

Example: Grand Theft Auto IV, which is like Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas but with new missions, is an incremental upgrade in its series.


Light Goods - Home electronics which are marketed towards women (such as refridgerators, microwaves, vaccuum cleaners, and so forth). Not usually advertised heavily, yet such products are found in pretty much every household. Light goods traditionally come in bright colors, which is what the term is derived from. For contrast, see: Dark Goods.
Hardcore viewpoint: "Other" electronics, no relation to video games.*

Example: The refridgerator, a fixture in households worldwide, is a light good.


Lifespan - The amount of time a system or game retains attention before gamer drift sets in and interest wanes. For games, this can usually be measured in weeks; disruptive software tends to sell for the entire lifespan of the system it's on. Consoles tend to have a lifespan of about 3 to 8 years, with longer lifespans for systems which are disruptive.
Hardcore viewpoint: The measure of how popular something is.

Example: - The lifespan of the NES was roughly 8 years before gamer drift set in and sales declined noticeably.


Mainstream Gamer - A gamer who does not live vicariously through video games, but rather, simply considers it a hobby or a brief pastime. The majority of gamers fall into this category. Tendency is to buy only one console, and when is unimportant to them. For contrast, see: Hardcore Gamer.
Hardcore viewpoint: Non-gamers.*

Example: The mainstream gamer cares less for Grand Theft Auto than he or she does for quick-and-fun games like Wii Sports.


Market Inertia - An economic process whereby a product will maintain a given general level of sales overall in a time period, bearing available supply, according to overall demand.
Hardcore viewpoint: Entirely unimportant.*

Example: Market inertia is why hardware sales do not all occur instantaneously, but rather, over a long period of many years.


Market Presence - A difficult-to-gauge measure of how popular a system actually is. Market presence is a culmination of hardware, software, and cultural presence of a system in a country at large. The former two can be measured (and are as market share), but the latter is impossible to accurately track.
Hardcore viewpoint: Another word for 'market share'.*

Example: The Wii's market presence appears to be very strong in many nations, as the awareness of and interest in the system as well as the sales of its hardware and software remains high.


Market Share - A simple percentage representation of how much of the market is controlled by a particular company under a particular viewpoint. Common market share measures include hardware sales, software sales, and million-seller sales. Market share is an imperfect representation of market presence.
Hardcore viewpoint: The only way you can tell who's winning... until somebody gets more market share than your favorite console; then it's a pack of lies.*

Example: The market share which Nintendo holds in terms of hardware in the overall industry exceeds 50% of the total video games market for the current run of systems.


Microsoft - A primarily software-based company founded in 1975, which originally produced operating systems for personal computers and disrupted the home operating system market with Windows. Currently, Microsoft is attempting to maintain a console division which focuses on the incremental upgrade formula of past generations of consoles.
Hardcore viewpoint: A "real" console maker, but not as good as Sony.*

Example: Microsoft attempted to enter the console market with the XBOX, and remains in the market with the XBOX 360, but has yet to gain any significant and lasting market presence.


New Market - The video games market starting circa 2004, consisting of video game systems which rely on unique control systems such as touchscreens, motion controls, cameras, and unique controller designs to immerse gamers into the experience. For contrast, see: Old Market.
Hardcore viewpoint: Lame systems that are doomed to fail.*

Example: The DS and Wii are the first systems to be released in the style of the new market.


Nintendo - A Kyoto-based company founded in 1889, which originally produced playing cards. The company's primary goal is to provide unique and valuable entertainment experiences at affordable prices. Notable products over the last 20 years include: the NES, the Game Boy, the DS, and the Wii.
Hardcore viewpoint: A washed-up, doomed company that cares more about kids than "real" gamers.*

Example: Nintendo is the current market leader in the console industry, and is dominating its competition with the DS and Wii.


Old Market - The video games market from circa 1985 to 2007, consisting of video game systems which rely on two-handed inflexible controllers with many face buttons and controls to operate. For contrast, see: New Market.
Hardcore viewpoint: The ONLY video game market.*

Example: The PlayStation 3 and XBOX 360 are the latest and most likely last systems to be released in the style of the old market.


Sony - A consumer electronics company founded in 1946, whose noteworthy contribution to electronics was the disruption of the radio industry by introducing portable the audio player known as Walkman. Currently attempting to dominate the console market with their PlayStation brand name.
Hardcore viewpoint: A "real" console maker, and the best one.*

Example: Despite dominating the console market by force with the PlayStation and PlayStation 2, Sony has been unable to repeat the success of this business model with the PlayStation Portable and PlayStation 3.


Successor Syndrome - A side-effect of sequel game development and successor console development characterized by a game or console's sales dropping off dramatically when a sequel game or successor system is released.
Hardcore viewpoint: Upgrading to the next best thing.

Example: Grand Theft Auto: Vice City suffered from Successor Syndrome when Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas was released.


Supply and Demand - The basic economic theory that producers are willing to supply a certain quantity of goods at a given price, while consumers are willing to purchase a certain quantity of goods at a given price. More complex models also account for the appeal of the product to the consumer and the expenses of production for the supplier.
Hardcore viewpoint: Something that doesn't relate to video games.*

Example: Supply and demand are a key factor behind why the Wii is successful, while its competition lags behind.


System Seller - A game which results in a large volume of hardware being sold over a long period of time; traditionally, games which provide a unique gameplay experience become system sellers.
Hardcore viewpoint: Sequels to popular franchises.*

Example: Wii Fit is a definite system seller for the Wii.


Touch Generations - A branch of Nintendo games focused on expanding the gaming market to include previously underserved groups (such as women and the elderly).
Hardcore viewpoint: Non-games.*

Example: Crosswords DS is part of the Touch Generations line.


Upmarket - A branch of the gaming industry which focuses on making games that have complex gameplay and which cannot simply be picked up and played by anybody. For contrast, see: Downmarket.
Hardcore viewpoint: The REAL games industry.*

Example: Halo 3 is an upmarket game.


Source Material

Crummy products for non-consumers - Sean Maelstrom's Disruption Chronicles - Disruptive Storm article.
Full Quote: The definition of a disruptive product is: a crummy product for non-consumers. Sure enough, the NES was a crummy product for non-consumers... these being kids. Kids didnít care that the NES had worse graphics than the computers. NES brought values that computers did not have which included no loading, easier to play games, and playing in front of a television.


Pulse and purse of the game industry - Benjamin Heckendorn's Future of Videogames Part 4 - 2007 Edition article.
Full Quote: Bottom line - no matter what some ace writer or "market analyst" says we hardcore gamers (translation: real gamers) are the pulse and purse of the industry. We were there after the crash, weíll be there after the soccer moms put the Wiiís in the attic. Letís hope the game publishing industry continues to realize this or we could be in trouble...


General resource: Sean Maelstrom's Articles, a hub for a great deal of technical information on the video games industry.

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2008 Sky Render