CTV Bridges the Gap Between Casual & Hardcore Gamers

Video gaming is such big business today that within  the community, there are divisions between who is the real ‘authentic’ gamer, i.e., which category truly represents what it means to be a player  in 2024. As humans, we have an inherent need to split ourselves into different tribes, to find meaning in a collective as much as to differentiate ourselves from others. From  West Side Story to The Godfather, literature and culture abound with examples of this phenomenon, so it should be no surprise that it exists in video gaming too.

The two biggest communities we can speak of in modern video gaming are the casual  and the hardcore gamers, and the difference between them should be apparent in the names that they use to describe themselves. The former group play on an occasional basis, often fitting their experiences around work, time with family, and other commitments, whereas the hardcore tribe focuses much of their life on gaming instead. As a result, each collective has significantly different expectations for their video games.

The rise of connected television (CTV) has revolutionized the gaming industry, creating new forms of content and consumption patterns, and both families have been significantly impacted. It’s easier than ever to dip into a gaming experience wherever you are in the world, and the quality of content offered via CTV platforms continues to improve all the time. 

Indeed, CTV is now doing something that would have been impossible in the past: bridging the gap between the hardcore and casual gamer sectors. The platform offers something for everyone, and that applies particularly to gaming, so let’s take a look at how it  is bridging this West Side Story-style gap to create a more diverse and inclusive gaming ecosystem.

Tribe No. 1 – Casual Gamers

A casual gamer is someone who, as the name suggests, plays on an informal basis. . This means that they dip in  irregularly or whenever they have the time, so it   isn’t a major factor in their lives compared to other interests, and they’re looking to play games that are relatively simple and relaxing. The ideal contest for this group is one that is accessible and easy to understand as they’re looking for a quick way to relieve stress, so anything involving complex in-game mechanics or requiring hours to play isn’t going to appeal to them.

These factors highlight why CTV gaming has proven to be so popular with this demographic  as its hallmarks  are simplicity, accessibility, and high-impact, short-duration games. People who enjoy playing CTV-based video games appreciate the ease of sitting down in front of their smart TV and immediately finding something that will distract them for a short time with a minimum of fuss.

As a result, CTV has attracted a large number of people to video gaming who  might otherwise not have been interested in the hobby, seeing it as having been dominated by hardcore gamers who are more content to hang out in their basements than in the real world. This is a false stereotype but it’s one that’s prevalent in sections of the media and in cultural life. The simplicity of CTV gaming has proven that it  can be for everyone, regardless of their individual interests or skill level.

Casual players like contests that have simple interface controls and high-quality visuals that will provide them with a quick hit of dopamine whenever they need it. They are often busy with family or professional commitments, so their games  need to be quick at grabbing their attention; in short, they need to be very engaging. Some of the foremost examples of CTV games that can provide this include the following:


Social games are all the rage these days and it’s not hard to see why as they provide an engaging gambling experience without the risk of losing real money, and Crazino is the best of the bunch. It is ideal for those looking for  a few minutes of escapism at home or on the way to work or school, and as the player still has to unlock multiple levels after starting, there’s still a  challenge for them to take on. 

Crossy Road

Running in the real world is usually fun but it can be just as engaging in the virtual sphere too, so if that sounds appealing, then look no further than Crossy Road. The player has to overcome a series of obstacles in order for them to win, which provides a simple challenge along with intuitive gameplay and  high quality graphics. It’s simple, addictive, and immersive, making it ideal for the average casual gamer.

Fruit Ninja

Fruit Ninja brings back that retro feel  for the  relaxed player as it’s reminiscent of arcade games from the late ’80s and early ’90s; in fact, it’s very similar to Pacman in its format. All you need to do is slice your way through airborne fruit using your TV remote. It’s so simple and intuitive that anyone can enjoy it, which makes it particularly suitable for casual gamers with kids to entertain; it’s a great equalizer of skill, ability, and age.

Tribe No. 2 – Hardcore Gamers

A hardcore player could best be described as someone who bases much of their life around video gaming. For this set of people, playing isn’t just a hobby or something they use to escape from life around them; it’s almost the  defining feature of their existence. As such, they  often identify with gaming content in a big way, buying merchandise, attending conventions, and so on.

As you can imagine,  these more serious gamers   tend to be more discerning regarding the content they’re on, and  demand more sophisticated storytelling and in-game mechanics. They expect to be challenged when they play video games and be able to boost their skills, so they are also enthusiastic about competing against other players. 

This being the case, hardcore players  are more likely to demand peak performance from the games they are on. This means that decent processors are a must, but so too are devices like smart TVs that can provide the high-quality graphics that they need to properly enjoy their  contests.

One might associate this group most closely with PCs and consoles, but as gaming technology has developed, so have the capabilities of CTV. Today, it is possible to provide this discerning gaming tribe with high-quality video content via CTV platforms thanks to smart TVs.

Far from simply offering a simple, relaxing break, CTV can provide an immersive experience that rivals those of dedicated gaming consoles and PCs.  Now, video game developers are consistently increasing the number of games available via CTV platforms. It’s a sign of maturity for this form of media; from barely registering on the cultural landscape less than a decade ago, it can now offer dedicated players content of similar quality to PCs and consoles.

There is a huge variety of games that will appeal to serious gamers, and while genres like RPGs, sandbox strategy games, fantasy adventures, etc., will have automatic appeal, hardcore suitability ultimately comes down to quality. A good-quality video game will be engaging enough to draw in the attention of this loyal audience, regardless of its specific genre. 

This provides a window for developers looking to target these committed  gamers interested in CTV content. Let’s take a look at some examples:

The Elder Scrolls: Blades

The Elder Scrolls: Blades, an immersive action RPG within the Elder Scrolls franchise, holds a distinct appeal for the hardcore gaming community as its mobile platform accessibility provides a familiar playing experience on the go without sacrificing quality. The game’s intricate combat system, character customization, and expansive storyline appeal to dedicated players, offering the challenges and depth they expect. Blades seamlessly bridges the gap between mobile and console gaming, allowing  serious enthusiasts to engage in a captivating Elder Scrolls universe while enjoying the convenience of cross-device gameplay.


This globally acclaimed sandbox game offers a vast array of procedurally generated worlds and open-ended creative potential that’s perfect for large screens including those of  smart TVs. The complex crafting system, intricate redstone mechanics, and expansive building options provide a level of depth that is very attractive to dedicated players seeking a robust CTV gaming experience. The game’s vast modding community, which enhances the playing experience and provides custom adventures, cements Minecraft as a cornerstone of CTV gaming for devotees seeking creativity and intricacy on the big screen.

Rome Total War

If you’re interested in history and politics then the Rome Total War is the ideal choice as it lets you  take control of one of a number of actions in  antiquity and conquer the known world. The game features the hallmark of the Total Series: a combination of a real-time campaign strategy map with battles where the players take command of thousands of units. What is also particularly appealing to the serious player is that you can get days’ worth of play from one faction, and then you can simply move on to another, which will have strikingly different mechanisms and objectives.

In-Place Multiplayer Brings the Tribes Together

Bringing together two groups that seemingly have little in common with each other might seem difficult but  our culture has many  examples of when this can happen. In Romeo and Juliet, it’s the shared grief of the Montagues and Capulets losing one of their youngest members each, whereas in one episode of South Park, the infamous Bloods and the Crips gangs are able to make peace by renting out a community center, and sharing marshmallows and ginger ale (we’re not sure if this would work in reality!). In the CTV industry, such antics are not required, as the way to bridge the gap between casual and hardcore games is obvious: multiplayer games.

Do you remember sitting around an old school  television while you and your friends played Goldeneye, Mario Kart, or Gran Turismo? If you’re anything like us, you were probably in front of that  TV for hours (or for as long as your parents would let you), battling not just your friends but maybe your family too, in a shared encounter.. Nowadays, most multiplayer contests are hosted online, and while this has enabled millions of gamers to make new friends and connections, it’s hard to enjoy the same excitement, emotions, etc. of in-person multiplayer competitions.

That’s why CTV gaming is perfect for bridging the gap between casual and hardcore players; it provides the shared, in-person multiplayer experience both tribes enjoy. Playing these collaborative games in person develops social interaction, cultivating a communal atmosphere where players of diverse skill levels can coexist and work together. For sure, there are always going to be hyper-competitive gamers out there, a small majority of whom can ruin the fun of others, but in the vast majority of cases, everything about playing these in-person multiplayer games is about the experience, not just winning.

Casual players, for example, are mainly drawn to  simpler gameplay and the less competitive dynamics offered by the in-person multiplayer environment, making it more accessible. At the same time, hardcore gamers, characterized by their intense dedication to their pastime, which sometimes comes with social stigma, are able to join a group activity in which they find immediate acceptance. It’s a win-win for all involved.

There are a lot of contests that are ideal for in-person multiplayer games, from retro classics to new releases. Here are a couple of examples that are perfect for  competing against your friends and family in a fun environment:

Rocket League

This  is an excellent choice for in-person multiplayer gaming thanks to its slightly absurd premise: soccer played by cars. While that may sound ridiculous, the game provides a very entertaining experience combining skill and strategy, so it’s little wonder that it’s become so popular. Its over-the-top visuals make it ideal for playing on your smart TV with your friends and family, providing a dynamic atmosphere for everyone to enjoy.

Just Dance

Just Dance is a great choice for an in-person multiplayer setup as its simple gameplay and interactive dance sessions make it easy for anyone to join in.  While  many participants may be  competent dancers, it’s unlikely that they’ll execute every move correctly, which adds to the pleasure.. Casual players are sure to  enjoy it as it’s simple, wholesome enjoyment, while hardcore gamers will appreciate the complexity of the moves and the competitive (yet still fun) format of the game.

Game Developers Have Already Adapted to Support In-Person Multiplayer via CTV

In-person multiplayer gaming is a great way to bring people together and thanks to CTV, it’s easier than ever to set up, but there has always been the possibility that the skill disparity between casual and hardcore gamers could become an issue. Sometimes the  participants will be around the same level, but the more serious player in the group could be light years ahead of the others.  The good news is that many CTV games now come with options that will support varied difficult gameplay so that everyone involved can contribute more equally.

Think of it like a golf handicap, which is “a numerical measure of a golfer’s ability, or potential ability, that is used to enable players of different abilities to compete against one another.” Our thanks to BBC Sport for that definition. The same principle can be applied in CTV video gaming, and many games have been developed to incorporate adaptive difficulty settings and customization options to make the playing experience more equal. 

Initially, this ability wasn’t widely available, possibly because developers did not want to put off the hardcore gamer market, but now the ability to provide playing ‘handicaps’ is frequently included in new video games. Let’s take a look at two examples of contests  that successfully implemented this concept.

Guitar Hero Live

Guitar Hero Live is one of the best music rhythm video games out there and it has given a much-needed impetus to this genre as the market had become saturated with poor-quality offerings. The format is the same as before, where players take control of a guitar-shaped controller and play along to notes that appear on the screen, simulating the experience of playing as a rock musician. 

The game can be played in single-player career mode, but it is best enjoyed as a multiplayer interaction  where several players compete in person to become the best rockstar. The game’s publisher, Activision, has incorporated a number of cool features to make it particularly appealing to a wide range  of participants.

For example, Guitar Hero Live comes with a number of difficulty settings as standard, but during multiplayer games, it’s simple to adjust them individually for each  player, making the contest more equal overall. This in-game handicap, combined with the game’s excellent visuals and a huge list of music tracks, makes it an ideal game for gathering everyone in one place to have fun.

Disney Infinity 3.0

This action-adventure sandbox toy-to-life game (which is a bit of a mouthful) is perfect for bridging the skill gap between casual and hardcore players. Gameplay focuses on real-life figurines as characters, ranging from Jack Sparrow from the Pirates of the Caribbean films to  Rey Skywalker from the Star Wars films. As such, it’s perfect for kids who want to bring their toys to life, as well as for adults who want  nostalgia.

What makes Disney Infinity 3.0 ideal for in-person multiplayer gaming is that it offers a number of playing formats that allow almost anyone of any  ability to participate. For example, casual users can play it  in its pre-structured adventure mode, which focuses more on storytelling, making gameplay simple and enjoyable, and making competition less combative.  

On the other hand, there’s a sandbox option as indicated by   its genre, meaning that gameplay is completely open-ended and essentially at the whim of the player. This is perfect for hardcore gamers who want a more challenging experience while also allowing casual players to participate in a more relaxed manner.

CTV Gaming Can Bring Back the Good Old Vibes

With all the improvements and technical developments on offer, there is one thing that should be abundantly clear by now, and that is the fact that CTV gaming is here to stay –  The revolution has succeeded. From a niche market segment that was characterized more by its promise than technical capabilities, CTV gaming has evolved to such an extent that it can provide immersive and engaging video game experiences that rival the more established mediums of PCs and consoles. 

Thanks to this consistent evolution, the division between the previously irreconcilable tribes of casual players and hardcore participants is smaller than ever. This is thanks in no small part to the feel-good vibes of in-person multiplayer gaming, replicating the feeling of playing   in front of a traditional  TV back in the day. 

CTV gaming is only going to improve as new technology continues to evolve, bringing gamers of all sorts closer together around smart TVs. CTV has something to offer everyone, so there’s a lot to look forward to in the coming years, including financial opportunities for game developers, publishers, content platforms, and more. Enjoy the ride; it’s going to be fun, and make sure you set aside some time to get into video gaming.