You cannot become one of the most fast-grossing markets with an overall value of over $100 billion, including $78.6 billion1 generated from video games, $25.7 billion2 from mobile games, and $5.1 billion3 from VR games in 2017 without inventing a few terms along the way. Hey, gaming, you just can’t resist being just like any other industry, can you? Of course, it is not going to reply, but we all know that the answer to this rhetorical question is surely a yes. The gaming industry’s rapid growth (the revenue has more than doubled4 over the years) led to the market overwhelmed with acronyms, abbreviations, and jargon that sound like a mumbo jumbo to someone new or outside the party.
Don’t worry, the days of you being puzzled or confused when someone says “Have you played this new stealth?” or shouts “Oh, you are just like any other mid-core gamer!” or “Stop using Konami code, you dumbass!” are over now. Game-Ace cracked twenty most common and, though, no less confusing terms that will help you find more sense in gamer’s words. So, let’s get started figure out the lexicon of this crazy industry.
This term is quite self-evident and refers to the video game genre where the player uses stealth to cover up his/her approaching to antagonists (monsters, zombies, game bosses, etc.) In other words, protagonists who are often spies, thieves, police officers, special forces’ crew members, assassins, or martial artists can purchase a special equipment or perform some sort of tricks to remain unnoticed, hidden, or noiseless. Today, it is quite hard to find a pure “stealth,” because over the years, gaming companies have come to a conclusion that incorporating stealth elements into different game genres, for instance first-person shooters, will make the game more engaging and entertaining.
The most popular examples of stealth games are Assassin’s Creed (2007), Crisis (2007), and Dishonored (2012). It is, in fact, a subset of an action-adventure game genre.
Mid-core gaming is a type of game designed for a particular group of people who are fond of games, however, don’t have enough time to devote to gaming. In other words, mid-core gamers build their gaming schedule according to their daily routine. This term appeared quite recently with the rise of the popularity of casual mobile games and as the opposite to the console’s hardcore gamers who organize their life around a game. A majority of the mid-core audience actually have a hardcore-gaming experience and eventually came to the freemium games that do not take much time to play every day.
Since we have started our conversation from such complicated terms, let’s go back to some of the basic terms that are still get messed up. “Avatar” is one of them. Of course, we are not talking about the movie no matter how awesome it is. We are talking about the game character that is used to represent the player or players. In many games, the appearance of these characters can be changed according to player’s preferences; they also can be dressed differently or have different abilities or powers.
Bosses are pretty common in adventure games that, in turn, are often broken up into levels, and in order to move to the next level, a player needs to meet a specific goal.
The Dragon God, the tough boss in Demon’s Souls
Bosses are those tough enemies you should defeat to advance to the next level. However, only a tactical savvy and cunning player can beat these guys. Usually, the boss has a weakness which would help players get it killed.
A non-player character (NPC), also called a “non-playable character,” refers to any character in a video game that is not controlled by the player. For the most part, it relates to any game characters who have a pre-defined pattern of behavior, be they anti-heroes, supporting cast, bots, or mobs. NPCs inhabit the gaming world and, as in real life, they can be allies, foes, or even family.
The mob is a type of a non-player character in MMORPG that is controlled by the computer. Generally, gamers refer to a single NPC or a group of them as a mob. The question of who should be considered as “the mob” is rather controversial. Originally, the term was introduced for characters that can move independently within the game. Later, the term was strongly modified and began to be used for monsters, allies, and any other non-player characters. Depending on the context, sometimes only hostile, monstrous NPCs who should be hunted and killed to gain experience, money, or gaming items are mentioned as mobs. However, there are also many non-player characters that help to proceed the storyline – sell or buy items, engage in dialogs, and have a certain vital information – that actually are mobs as well.
These terms are known to the majority of players and refer to the in-game recognition of player’s abilities, like succeeding in the mini games or performing a target action, or as a reward for collecting a certain number of coins, badges, gemstones, stars, or other stuff.
The achievement tab in the World of Warcraft
Most players literally hate the idea of worrying about achievement and trophies because games take a lot of time even without it. Moreover, people do not like the fact that some achievements are hard to gain.
In video gaming, spawning means basically breathing life into a character or a mob. Typically, all game characters spawn simultaneously at the beginning of the game (round), but some mobs can spawn only on specific locations or after some event. Respawning, on the other hand, means the returning of a dead character to life after losing one of its lives. Respawning often occurs at an earlier point in the game (sometimes at the location where the player “saved” the game for the last time) or the player receives some penalties, for instance, a reduced health bar or – even worse – a weapon.
This term is well-known to old-school gamers because the name first appeared in 1986. Originally, the Konami code (or Konami command) referred to the cheat code that was used across multiple games developed and published by Konami Corporation. Some time later, the code, however, started to appear in some non-Konami-originated games. The entering of some pre-defined sequence of buttons allows a player to cheat or cause some effect to occur. Today, players sometimes refer to the cheat codes as Konami codes (even though the game is not designed by Konami.) Moreover, the code is often placed on the websites as an Easter egg.
In the latest years, the term “indie game” became pretty much synonymous with “mobile gaming.” It is because app stores are overwhelmed with such types of games, and most of them are born and die unnoticed every day. However, indie games are not a bad thing; it is actually an independent game that is produced without the financial support of the game publishers.
Minecraft, the most popular and commercially successful indie game of all time
When people hear someone whisper “AAA gaming,” they get really excited about the quality of the game that is coming after that. Games used to think that AAA was a synonym for awesomeness, and if you play an AAA title, you will definitely like it. However, in real life, it is just an informal categorization that is used to describe high-quality games that involve multi-million production budgets and significant promotional efforts. The term was actually invented by the marketers based on the grading code that publishers utilized in the early days. “A” then stood for major titles made by eminent studios under strict control from the publisher’s side in accordance with world’s best standards. In order to highlight the bigger titles, marketers started to refer to them as “double A.” The idea stuck, and eventually, the term evolved to “triple A” to which gamers developed a noxious affection today. But, there is still no unified standard for such games: no one knows how much money or efforts the game should take in order to be “AAA.” Some games still walk on the edge, and since nobody admits their game is rubbish, it is quite hard to understand the difference. In any case, the marketers are the ones who usually care about such things, not players.
First-person shooters (FPS) is a quite self-evident term. It refers to a weapon-based type of video game that allows players to experience the gameplay from his/her perspective. In other words, the player acts as a central protagonist who uses guns, machine guns, pistols, and other ranged weapons to defeat opponents.
Counter-Strike (CS), a first-person shooter, initially introduced in 2000, marked the beginning of a whole generation of FPS and is still audience’s favorite shooter
Third-person shooters, another popular game genre, have a character visible on the screen, and the camera kind of follows the hero.
Grand Theft Auto (GTA), that has elements of third-person shooter, is one of the most widely-played game franchises in the world
A role-playing game, or RPG for short, is a game genre where the player controls the character’s movements, decisions, and other actions. Players naturally act within a well-defined environment — be it a fantasy or the real world. Moreover, in many RPGs, the player has the possibility to control not only the central character but also a few other protagonists/antagonists that have significant influence over the main storyline (usually referred to as a “party”). One of the major features of this genre is that players are able to customize the character’s appearance, set of abilities, and weapons he or she uses in order to succeed in the game. The RPGs challenge players with solving mysteries and puzzles, winning battles, and developing characters’ powers while advancing through the central story.
JRPG, which stands for a “Japanese role-playing game,” means a role-playing game made in Japan (thanks, Captain Obvious). The growing popularity of RPGs developed in America resulted to the emerging of this term in the 80s. However, Asia loves to adapt all things in its own manner, and Japanese developers invented their unique style with fantasy worlds, good music, big eyes, and ridiculous hair. So, people started to refer to such games as JRPG to distinguish the ones that originated in Japan from Western RPGs. The main difference between these two is that JRPGs usually stick to the traditional format of the genre, while Western ones, for the most part, are an action role-playing games, another popular subgenre.
Action role-playing game (ARPG) is a generally-defined subgenre of RPGs that prioritizes a real-life combat where the player directly controls the character’s actions similarly to slashers and shooters.
Diablo is one of most popular hack and slash RPGs
In other words, there is no need to wait for your turn to kill some bastards; instead, you may fire a weapon or cast a spell immediately. But, be careful – the enemies can do the same thing.
Roguelike is another subgenre of the role-playing games that differs by turn-based-like gameplay, randomly-generated levels, and an irreversible death of the character. One more exciting feature of the classical roguelike is that in the case of the character’s death, the player must start the game from the beginning. Many roguelikes are performed in the scenery of an epic fantasy under the substantial influence of table RPGs like Dungeons & Dragons.
A massively multiplayer online game widely known as “MMO” is a game genre which emphasizes the capacity of the game to handle a huge amount of gamers, typically from many locations usually within one gaming world. Such games create persistent worlds and encourage players to compete with each other. That’s why they are so widely-spread: you can find some for desktop, console, or mobile platforms. They also include different gameplay types and game genres such as MMORPG or shooters. MMO games should not be mixed with multiplayer online games (MOG) that generate a “playing arena” for a single gaming round.
MMORPG, which stands for a “massively multiplayer online role-playing game,” is a combination of RPG and MMO, where many players collaborate with each other within a persistent world (the virtual game world that continues to exist and develop even when no one interacts with it). This genre began its existence as an exciting fantasy world where you can play with your friends and the rest of the world, but turned out to be potentially harmful to some people who developed an unhealthy addiction with “just one more round.” Now, it is considered to be the most anti-social game genre, and the video game addiction it sometimes causes is well-treated.
A multiplayer online battle arena is a video game genre that combines elements of an action game, real-time strategy, and role-playing game (that’s why it is often called action real-time strategy). In such games, each player controls one character with special abilities in any of two rival teams (units) combatting on a special kind of map. During the match, characters can become stronger, gain new skills, and equipment. The ultimate goal is to destroy the main building of the enemy team with the help heroes controlled by players and “creeps,” special units controlled by a computer. Despite the apparent similarity to DotA (and Warcraft at some point), the term has pretty blurred boundaries, and the name of the genre itself is controversial. The early games of this type were described simply as DotA-like ones, but later, in order to designate such games in any other way, Riot Games suggested MOBA.
Hexagonium, an MMO game developed by the Game-Ace team which combines the elements of MOBA and RTS
RTS, which stands for “real-time strategy,” is the most common subgenre of strategy video games that requires strategic thinking, logic, and tactics in order to succeed. In classic RTS, players control and position different buildings, armies, weapons, and other game units in a view to protecting their area on the map and destroying the enemies’ assets. Earning gaming currency, goods, and resources by battling with other players or gamers can create some extra units of weapons, buildings, or heroes to expand their areas and increase influence in the game. The resources usually have a daily limit, and in order to triumph, players need to come back every day (sometimes twice a day).
So, these are some of the basic terms every game developer, producer, and gamer should know. Messed up, isn’t it? We must admit that this is just beginning. The gaming industry is full of different terms, abbreviations, and acronyms. The Game-Ace team will keep you posted on 50 more confusing gaming terms. Follow us on social networks to learn more about game development, production, monetization, and marketing.
1. Value of the global video games market from 2011 to 2020
2. Mobile games market revenue
3. Virtual reality (VR) video gaming sales revenue worldwide in 2016, by region
4. Value of the global video game market from 2011 to 2020, by category