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PlayStation = Hardcore, Xbox = Casual, Nintendo = Kiddie?

These appear to be deeply entrenched stereotypes in the console world, but how accurate are they?

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This industry still thrives on labels and stereotypes, whether we like it or not. It's what tends to fuel the most discussion because of course, those who participate in the hobby have immensely strong opinions.

As we look at the current console market today, it's difficult to apply only one word to each manufacturer. Obviously, it's not really fair to do so but in the interest of conversation and argument, it's always interesting to consider.

Over the years, stereotypes bend and change with the times. However, perhaps the labels listed in the title are more enduring than anyone cares to believe...

Nintendo = For the kiddies?

Oh, people get all bent out of shape over this one. But It's clear to anyone with eyes that Nintendo targets a lower age demographic with their products, as opposed to Sony and Microsoft. I mean, that's just logic and common sense. I think what really bugs people is the idea that Nintendo is exclusively for kids, which isn't true. That would be their intended audience for the most part, but it doesn't mean adults can't have fun with those games.

That's why the label is so insulting to Nintendo followers, especially to those who grew up with the iconic brand. It's not because they necessarily disagree that Nintendo products are family-friendly; it's just because some narrow-minded gamers mock these more accessible, inoffensive adventures for being "kiddie." At the same time, there's a reason Nintendo manufactures such software; it remains the ultimate "parent brand," so-to-speak. If you've got young children, chances are, a Nintendo platform will be your best bet.

That's not insulting; it's just reality.

Xbox = For the mainstream gamers?

This is another hot-button issue, mainly because of the preponderance of crossover titles between PlayStation and Xbox. As the vast majority of games produced end up on both platforms, how can anybody argue that one is more "casual" than the other? Well, once again, we look at the exclusive software to make certain determinations. You can also examine the hardware as well; for instance, the Xbox One features a nifty TV-oriented feature that has nothing to do with video games, and isn't anything a lot of core gamers care about.

Xbox is big on multiplayer and always has been. Now, you could say multiplayer entertainment is just as "hardcore" as single-player but I don't agree with that. The roots of multiplayer entertainment are social in nature; they spring from LAN parties and general parties where simple, easy, accessible gaming was the focal point. Yes, I know MMORPGs are a big part of the environment and they're basically the epitome of hardcore. But in the console world, multiplayer often takes on very different meanings and connotations.

Single-player entertainment we always equate with the loners, those who choose to experience their hobby by themselves. And these people are far more likely to be considered "hardcore" than those who play a few rounds of Halo or Call of Duty here and there.

PlayStation = For the hardcore "purists?"

Continuing in the same vein as above, let's look at the software: Recent exclusive PlayStation titles tend to put a premium on the single-player experience, and perhaps that's precisely why this brand draws the so-called "hardcore purists." Heavy Rain, Demon's SoulsLittleBigPlanet (commonly misconstrued to be kiddie or casual due to its cutesy exterior, but extremely in-depth), UnchartedGod of War, even Killzone (one of the few FPS franchises in the previous generation with good campaigns); these are good examples. And let's not forget that Metal Gear Solid and Final Fantasy once were PlayStation exclusives as well.

And look what's coming: BloodborneThe Order: 1886Uncharted 4: A Thief's EndThe Dark Sorcerer (or whatever Quantic Dream is working on) and hopefully, at some point, The Last Guardian. These are very often considered "core" titles and would not necessarily appeal to the casual mainstream masses. They also typically represent the cutting-edge when it comes to technology in the console world; another trait commonly associated with anything "hardcore."

Now, these are only arguments that support the labels in question, and I do not necessarily agree with everything written. It's just a presentation of what so many believe, and offers everyone a chance to rebut. :)

Originally Published Aug. 19th 2014

Featured Columnist

A gaming journalism veteran of 14 years, a confirmed gamer for over 30 years, and a lover of fine literature and ridiculously sweet desserts.



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Comments
  • 1
    ThePokeMaster 2 months ago
    I'd say there's hardcore and casuals across all three.
  • 1
    Mounce 2 months ago
    I agree. In some depth...

    The difference in my mind is simply whether or not a person is in the mood to be hardcore, kiddy or casual. People change via moods and the times. Some people just wanna settle down after a long day at work and play some mario and feel 'kiddy' again (In essence, in nostalgia, in mood, not in age or mental capacity).

    Those who say, go out and buy a Playstation console, maybe feel like by doing so, they're getting the machine that'll mostly cater to their hardcore senses and desires. PC for those who want great variety, freedom and choice, Nintendo for the kid senses, old nostalgia of childhood and Xbox ---- .... well, for whatever god damn mood they're trying to target, each Xbox has set a different mood to try to 'adapt' and find their identity on 'Who they are' and haven't stuck with any yet. Xbox Classic was 'Playstation Sense', Xbox 360 was a repeat of Playstation senses of hardcore mixed with later on a Nintend-catered sense - then X1 seemed like a launch that they wanted to distinguish themselves as Their own, unique selves. They fell on their face so they went to the easiest approach to get back on their feet - the hardcore route that Playstation has been doing since PS1.

    That's how it feels to me. It's all about feels and catering and the sense of who the company is targeting, Sony always targets 'hardcore' with a bit of casual and kiddy - which is why they're universally, generally alright, but it's mostly 75% Hardcore, and the later % to kid/casual. Xbox is a variable, random % clumped together and Nintendo is 75% Kid/Casual and 25% hardcore. How the company targets their audience probably sub-consciously directs our mind to what caters to our tastes.
  • 1
    Spiele-Maschine.de 2 months ago
    Absolutly not agree.
    Kids who are afraid of beeing kids, probably need a PS4- the adult hardcore can't live without mario, zelda, sonic and bayonetta ;)

    If the hardcore just buys everything new - playing old games on new systems -. it's definitly not the hardcore. just gamers with to much money but no plan.
    Last edited 2 months ago
  • 1
    Zac Davis 2 months ago
    I agree with this almost 100%. I do consider nintendo as a kids company because of the style and flavour of games in which they develop (mario etc). And the 7 years i have been playing on xbox live, the vast majority of players seem to be pre-pubity children hurling abuse around like there is no tomorrow! And now im back on the playstation scene, its more chilled out, grown up and seems more clear cut and professional. I cant explain this feeling, but it just makes you feel as though your playing with a more mature crowd. I think nintendo aims for under 13's, microsoft aims for under 25's and sony aim for 25+, however this is just my personal opinion :)