The times are rapidly changing. Social and mobile gaming have exceeded all expectations in both popularity and sales, motion control has firmly gripped a new audience, and Nintendo releases a new handheld that doesn't sell millions upon millions of units. Ten years ago, the industry looked vastly different, and I think the existing gaming populous needs to accept these changes.
I don't show any animosity toward the newfound social and casual gaming audiences, but there's a large percentage of gaming enthusiasts (of all ages) who do. And, to put it bluntly, I'm not sure I understand their ridiculous sentiment. Our passion for gaming is ours to share, not to be shrouded by the childish and xenophobic tendencies of the reluctant. We shouldn't feel obligated to shun those unfamiliar with the industry just because they are unfamiliar; the "hardcore" market isn't going to change. Triple-A titles will still see the light of day (or the snow glare) but release dates could be scattered to try and appeal to the new audiences. I would actually approve of this considering how many excellent games are coming out this holiday season alone.
This anger is actually more damaging than taken at face value. Not only is the angry crowd shunning the new audiences, but aspiring "hardcore" gamers feel embarrassed and ultimately intimidated. Gaming of any kind shouldn't be intimidating - except maybe getting massacred by 13-year-olds in any first-person shooter - because our medium should be presenting itself as an enjoyable experience. Having the ability to engage in an interactive experience with friends or strangers is what sets gaming apart from all other mediums, and limiting that joy for newcomers represents our passion in a negative light. Therefore, next time a parent (or so daringly, a grandparent) offers their valuable time to share the magical experience of gaming, take the careful time to show that person the ropes and the time sacrificed will probably improve the relationship.
It shouldn't be such an alien thought. Like movies and music, gaming is a consumable form of media. And why we are hogging all the fun bothers me. Now, lovely readers, don't feel it necessary to push; there are those that think gaming is an unproductive and useless habit (this is an odd statement). Everyone won't feel so strongly about the desire to share a gaming session so don't enforce the idea. Gradually ease them in by letting them watch the gameplay and see their actions. Don't push because people can get aggressive.
Extra Credits, an excellent video series from The Escapist magazine, explores the world of game design and they cover this very topic in seven minutes. The video can be found here. Go through and watch the other videos too. Really interesting stuff (and a great source of information).
In the comments, leave your stories of trying to convince siblings or other family members to give gaming a whirl, or explain why you agree/disagree with me. Jeff out.