All of these paradigm shifts brought with them profound resentment from the old guard. Having played video games since the late 1970s, I've seen it all. I've watched disgruntled Atari fans call Nintendo's historical impact into question, damning the NES and using ugly racial slurs to describe the company that made it. I found myself shaking an impotent fist at Sony when it steamrolled the Dreamcast with the Playstation 2 and cluttered the market with an unending deluge of sandbox games and first-person shooters. Now, we're seeing it all over again with the rise of the mobile gaming market and the embrace of a wider audience. The players who grew up with Grand Theft Auto and Halo are splitting hairs, declaring their favorite software to be "real games" while arrogantly dismissing everything else. The Wii, despite selling 100 million units, wasn't a "real" game console. The thousands of apps on iPhone and Android aren't "real" games. Women, who recently overtook teenage boys as the most active game players in America, aren't "real" gamers. And so on.
These players are entitled. They're obnoxious. They're even threatening, if the recent antagonism of feminist gaming blogger Anita Sarkeesian is any indication. But beyond all that, they're on the losing side of history, just as those Atari fans were in the late 1980s, and just as I was ten years ago. They're desperate to keep the undivided attention of the game industry, but things have changed in the last decade. The console manufacturers which cater to them are losing money at a breakneck pace, and the handheld designed to offer the experience that "hardcore" gamers crave has been a dismal failure, selling fewer units than the Dreamcast in the same span of time. With AAA titles increasingly becoming a losing proposition and the industry hanging its hopes on smaller independent developers, the gamers that identify as "hardcore" are quickly losing their relevance. No amount of chest-thumping and anonymous death threats will change this.
To those selfish gamers who've struggled mightily to keep the industry under their thumbs: Your time is up. Adapt or be left behind.