Puzzles and games: A community of hobbyists

A friend of the blog passed along a fascinating article analyzing the current gaming market.

The piece encompasses console games, PC games, mobile games, and MMOs (massive multiplayer online games, like World of Warcraft), and not only categorizes different types of gaming experiences, but predicts the future of the gaming business as a whole.

From the article:

“The concept of one true gamer community will be less feasible as evergreen hobbies grow in popularity. Instead, we have a crazy mixing bowl of diverse, separate, long-term communities. Few will share the same values or goals. Few players will consider themselves having anything in common with players of a different game.

Social organizations such as PAX will still promote common ground, much like the Olympics promotes common ground between athletes. But day-to-day cross-pollination will be rare.”

And his conclusion is one that rings true for puzzle-games particularly:

“The shift comes from realizing that individual digital hobbies will soon to be the default play pattern.”

Puzzles and puzzle games are famously singular endeavors. Crosswords and Sudoku puzzles hardly lend themselves to group play (unless you’re asking for help), and often the only “interaction” comes in tournaments or other forms of competition wherein individuals are pitted against each other in isolation.

The expansion of puzzles and puzzle-games into the mobile market (tablets, smartphones, etc.) has helped solidify this. Whether it’s Angry Birds or our own Classic Word Search iBook, puzzle-solving games remain something of a solitary hobby.

(The big exception to the rule here is, of course, Words With Friends and other Scrabble variants.)

But the similarities between the PuzzleNation community and the gaming community don’t end there.

We too have our “grinders” (those who enjoy one particular game to the exclusion of others, posting impressive monthly scores) and our “aficionados” (those who dabble in all kinds of puzzles, peppering the scoreboards with their name across numerous puzzle variants).

You know, the line separating puzzles and puzzle-games is a tenuous one, and while I’ve spent a good deal of time myself parsing out the differences between the two, it’s always nice to be reminded how much puzzlers and gamers have in common. We’re two very enthusiastic communities with a lot of overlap.

Thanks for visiting the PuzzleNation blog today! You can like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, check out our Classic Word Search iBook (three volumes to choose from!), play our games at PuzzleNation.com, or contact us here at the blog!