Yes, and in every one of your examples it is implied that they have played enough to be considered 'hardcore gamers'. Anyone who has a large game collection, plays zuma 6 hours a day, or can kick ass at Counter-strike obviously has put a great deal of time in the medium. The reason people don't like to label themselves as such is because there is a stigma attached to the word at this point from obnoxious people who equate hardcore with better.
It's all about the elitism.
I'm not going to get into implicature here. Now we're stepping into the realm of dissertation material.
In the most basic of ways I'd say you are on to something, but I'm not convinced. There's something more specific to it then just playing games a lot, it would come down to literally documenting cases of when people use the word and ask them what they meant by it.
I mean now we're going into the implicature beneath implicature and all that it entails.
I would also say you don't need to play a lot of videogames to be hardcore either. There's tons of definitions that even I've laid out that leave openings for not playing TONS.
Collecting games, or even tuning up a rig doesn't necessarily mean that you play tons of games. Beating the shit out of a game doesn't mean you sink tons of hours into it, you could just be a natural at it, or it could be an accumulation of years of playing it for a few hours here and a few hours there.
Then there are people like me who love watching game vids, and who love reading game history, or even reading old strategy guides. I know a ton of shit about games I've never played.
What if you're hardcore because you just like keeping up with industry news, or because you made a website devoted to videogames? Doesn't mean you sink a lot of time in it.
True, in many cases people do sink a lot of time into games, but the point is this word is such that there's nothing that is precise with it.
And even with the case of time, are you hardcore if you're playing 12 hours a day? or is it something like you play videogames 3 hours a day but you've done it for X amount of years? Is it many games or just one game that you put this time into? Or is it just some total number of hours in ones life that have to be devoted to games, like if I spend at least 5,000 hours of my life then am I hardcore?
See there's ambiguity, and then there's this shit.
I come on every day and have no idea what Baltar is talking about.