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Nintendo Aims At Oprah Crowd 104

Next Gen's DICE coverage includes commentary by Reggie Fils-Aime, who tries to convince publishers to expand the gaming market. Even if it means running ads during Oprah. From the article: "He said that Nintendo would be using new marketing channels, such as daytime television shows, Oprah and Ellen ... In what has become something of a Nintendo mantra, he said Nintendo was seeking to attract female gamers and older gamers. He also warned that the number of teenage males is declining in North America, and high school students are saying their interest in games is declining."
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Nintendo Aims At Oprah Crowd

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  • by LordPhantom ( 763327 ) on Thursday February 09, 2006 @06:37PM (#14682360)
    .. is it a good or bad thing that High School kids are becoming less interested in video games?
    • by Brunellus ( 875635 ) on Thursday February 09, 2006 @06:40PM (#14682392) Homepage

      It isn't a question of them being less interested, it's a question of that market being more or less saturated, and the gaming industry needing to find new people to sell games to.

      • and the gaming industry needing to find new people to sell games to.

        Um, I think you misspelled "suckers" :P
      • This is probably the best guess, since video games are quickly becoming the "trendy" fad these days. Just look at how they're represented on TV (i.e., the Spike Video Game Awards, the entire G4 channel).
        • "trendiness," from a corporate perspective, happens when a market becomes profitable enough to target aggressively. The disposable income of the game-playing demographic segment has risen tremendously in the past 15 years, so it's no surprise that firms want to market to that segment aggressively.

          what I worry about, of course, is that so much of that disposable income comes from unsecured personal debt, but that's another economic problem and another discussion

    • I don't buy that for a minute. Every high schooler I know plays plenty of games. If the statement is that high school kids are less and less interested in Nintendo, that I'd believe (haven't seen one of those in a while). XBox, PlayStation, and PC games seem to have no shortage of high school audience.
    • For the gaming industry, this is a bad thing.. Less customers = less revenue = less profit.

      As to if this is bad or good for teenagers, I'm not getting involved in that religious flamewar ;)
    • It depends. Are they gaining interest in drinking, smoking, sex, street violence, studying, sleeping, sports, etc... Who knows what's going on with these crazy kids?
    • It's BAD. Think about it.. if they're less interested in games, it's because they're too busy having kids at age 16 and throwing lightswitch raves at the methadone clinic.

      The best argument FOR video games, is that every hour a kid spends playing video games, is an hour they aren't spending getting into big trouble. Today's kids are stupider than ever, I'd rather see a teenager hooked on WoW than making baby Cletuses with the trailer trash bimbo next door.
  • They're turning into adults! They have other things to doa gaming might be cutting into work time!
    • by StocDred ( 691816 ) on Thursday February 09, 2006 @06:59PM (#14682565) Homepage Journal
      Kids ALWAYS say their interest in video games is declining when we're in the transition between console generations. Always. When the new systems hit stride, WHOOPS, all of a sudden it's boomtown again. Stop asking kids to participate in polls. It's as useless as student council elections.
      • by xerxesVII ( 707232 ) on Thursday February 09, 2006 @07:12PM (#14682679)
        Surely you do not mean to suggest that an institution as valuable and entrenched as the Student Council is without use! Why, I remember when I was president of the Student Council I was able to enact sweeping changes to my school that are in effect to this very day. For instance, I promised an end to homework and I delivered on that promise. The students wanted Coke machines in every single classroom and as soon as I was elected I made that happen by dint of sheer will. Also, every day was pizza day and all of our teachers were fired and replaced by highly qualified young ladies from Hugh Heffner's very own School for Buxom Ladies.

  • Surprise! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by RyoShin ( 610051 ) <tukaro AT gmail DOT com> on Thursday February 09, 2006 @06:49PM (#14682468) Homepage Journal
    Everyone look under your seat!


    Actually, that wouldn't be too bad of a campaign. AFAIK, most of Oprah's audience are parents to some extent, mainly females. Giving them all a free Nintendo DS, a free copy of Nintendogs, and a free copy of Mario Kart would probably do a lot of good. While they probably wouldn't be visably extatic on the show (though, you never know), they'll probably adore it once they get into Nintendogs, especially those with a lot of free time. Mario Kart is a great game that everyone can enjoy, and the males will probably be more interested in it than the females.

    In either case, the parents, who may not have even known about it before, will find out how much fun it is, and get one for their kid(s), cause "This DS is for the adults (and we don't want you breaking it). Plus, the value of peer recommendations should never be underestimated.

    And, of course, any kids who were dragged along to the show will scream with delight.
    • by xerxesVII ( 707232 ) on Thursday February 09, 2006 @07:06PM (#14682628)
      Nothing there, lying bastard.

      • 3 month old chewed gum isn't "nothing". It's worse than nothing.

        When I read the title I thought Nitendo is going to make an emulator for Opera's web browser? Cool.

        Oprah is less cool than Opera.
    • I remember Sega gave away Sega Dreamcasts to everyone in a Rose O'Donald show. I thought it was a cleaver marketing idea. If Nintendo gave away Revolutions on Oprah, it would be great PR and a semi-effective Anti-PS3-hype bomb if they drop it before Sony releases, assuming Nintendo launches before them. Though I suppose they might be able to get away with some sort of coupon.
    • True, if you just gave a revolution with some games they may not be visiably excited. But, what if it was given out on an Oprah show about the revolution which also demonstrated it's cool capabilities and controls. Maybe also get a few audience members to try out the system, and then everyone will be excited when they look under their seats and get this super cool revolution that they have been watching.

      Nintendo is too smart not to do a multipronged marketting strategy like this with the revolution, espec
  • Smart move. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by kabocox ( 199019 ) on Thursday February 09, 2006 @06:49PM (#14682472)
    Sounds like a smart move by Nintendo. Alot of moms watch Oprah, so if you were making the niche for kid games you would target the kids and the moms. You'd show the mom's all the kid safe games on your system. You'd basically say our system is rated G so you can buy any of our games without worrying about the sex or violence issues that those other systems have. ;)
    • I agree, good move. And after this is successful, we can look forward to Oprah: The Video Game!
    • ... and, with the vibrating, stick-like controllers, there could be *other* advantages to marketing towards Oprah's audience...

      -1 Lewd

    • That makes no sense there not trying to sell it to kids, kids will probably get it anyway because its cheaper. When they show it on oprah they are trying to market it towards older audiances, no not the 16yr old GTA audiance, the real older audiance of people 30-60 and adding this demographic wont take anything away from traditional gamers.
      • That makes no sense there not trying to sell it to kids, kids will probably get it anyway because its cheaper. When they show it on oprah they are trying to market it towards older audiances, no not the 16yr old GTA audiance, the real older audiance of people 30-60 and adding this demographic wont take anything away from traditional gamers.

        Um, "kids" in the 13-17 age may have part time jobs where they can get some money. I'm thinking more of the 5-12 age group. Those kids don't have money themselves. You ca
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 09, 2006 @06:53PM (#14682502)
    Does this mean that they're actually going to, you know, be making GAMES targeted at women and other nonstandard gamers?

    So far for the DS they've got that Nintendogs thing, and that Brain Training thing coming up. These both did very well with "nongamers" in Japan-- but, while they're some kind of similar effect in America, they seem to be not the same kind of smash hit material with american audiences.

    Other than those two games, Nintendo doesn't seem to have any other "zomg aimed at women" games coming up for the DS, and they've certainly announced nothing of that sort for the Revolution-- so far Nintendo's stated plans for Revolution games come down to pretty much "mario smash brothers metroid", all traditionally male-oriented titles. So if Nintendo advertises during Oprah... what exact PRODUCT do they intend on advertising?
    • They could do simple system pushing commericals. Always plenty of games that you can find half second images of that are offensive to no one. As long as they make the system look friendly, nonthreating and overall - fun, It should be fine.

      Imagine for a second possiblities:

      Scenes of the classic-style family gathered around the Revolution showing an elderly grandmother how, to her surprise, easy it is to use the control remote!

      Kids finishing up their homework then skipping over to the Revolution and stand
    • I don't think you want to target games specifically to women. Just target them for a broad, general audience. Think "G" or "PG" movies. Not all of those movies are targeted specifically for kids (although many are). But they're movies that anyone, at any age, can appreciate.
    • Recipe for success: get just ONE truly alpha-female type playing video games. Then, some of her group will start playing games. Suddenly, some outsiders start playing games. Another alpha-female sees the first one using games to cultivate a better social group, so the second one starts playing as well. This all starts snowballing, and suddenly games are the subject of major feuds and victories for female social groups.

      You may think I'm joking, but this entire theory sounds rather plausible to me.

      The o

      • My wife got hooked on WoW. Previously, she didn't really consider herself much of a gamer (maybe the occasional Sims game). Now she plays more than I do, and tells her friends about it. (And some of her friends were already playing it to begin with)

        So yeah, it happens.
    • There's plenty of games that women would like on the DS - Nintendogs, WarioWare, Meteos, Trace Memory, Sims, Animal Crossing, etc - the problem is that women don't think of gaming as something for them. Start marketing it to them, and they'll give it a chance and probably like it.
    • nintendo is smart. there are actually MANY female oriented games on the DS, but the catch is, you'd never know it if you're looking for "Barbie horse adventures." and thats a good thing. Games like "barbie horse adventure" is insulting to gamers, and insulting to women. games like "nintendogs" and "animal crossing" can capture the female non-gamer eye.. and then there's plenty of other games for everyone else that they might be interested in trying, too. Nintendo does things differently, and that is why
    • Nintendogs sold 250,000 copies in the first week, and 1.5 million since launch in the USA alone, that's a seriously huge hit..

      http://www.gamershell.com/news/24482.html [gamershell.com]
      http://www.gamespot.com/news/6141751.html [gamespot.com]
    • I'm at work, so no links, but everything in the following comment is real.

      The response to your question depends on what exactly do you think are games that should be targeted at women?

      It's a "well-known fact" that women like puzzle games, and Tetris has always been popular with everyone, regardless of age, race or gender. So they can market Tetris DS.

      Or, perhaps they can market Cooking Mama (also on the DS) a cooking game. Except, wait, that would be sexist.

      I don't know. How about Kirby Canvas Curse. I

  • Will we be having the guy pop up in the middle of our games and lecture us to "GET REAL" and get a higher score, don't quit, and other psychobabble like that? Will we get more than 3 colors, to accent the room the console is located in?
  • "...high school students are saying their interest in games is declining."

    Let's see, back in HS I cared about two things while others cared about three. I cared about having fun activities (billiards, bowling, friends) and girls. The third thing which was popular in my HS was drugs. With the cost of gaming, who wouldn't rather spend that money on any or all of the three I mentioned?
  • by larsoncc ( 461660 ) on Thursday February 09, 2006 @07:01PM (#14682587) Homepage
    Several folks here are pointing out that it's great for Nintendo to go after "the mom crowd" - that it's good marketing to get the product in front of moms, who will buy Revolution for the kids.

    NO NO NO!

    His whole point seems to be DIRECTLY marketing it to these moms. The games being TARGETED at 50 - 60 year olds. An excercise for your MIND.

    Get it?

    You know - it's that whole market that is completely ignored right now.

    Yes, moms are a great way to get at kids.

    • Calm down, it's going to be ok. He's not talking about targetting to mom, and only to mom. Nintendogs and Brain Training will not be the ONLY games for this system. Think back to the teaser video where they revealed the Revolution. People of all ages. They're still going to shoot for the traditional demographic, just not as blatantly exclusively as MS and Sony. Nintendo will still be making Mario, Zelda, Metroid, etc. It's a fool's errand to try to make EVERY game fit EVERY audience. It's pretty muc
  • by BewireNomali ( 618969 ) on Thursday February 09, 2006 @07:12PM (#14682675)
    For example: analysis of the Japanese marketplace indicates that their economy is coming out of a long recession. Why? Japan has a dangerously low birth rate. Japanese women are educated and entering the workplace at a breakneck pace. They are not marrying and they are not having children. They don't feel the same amount of social pressures to succeed that the men feel, so they experience less stress and have loads of disposable income. For these reasons, the JApanese economy is becoming pegged to the spending habits of professional working age women. They overconsume ALL ACROSS THE BOARD.

    If Nintendo chooses to focus its efforts on this group in Japan, it's only fair to assume that a similar trend will emerge here, given the standard delay of 5-15 years between our cultures.

    We mirror Japan in other ways. JApan has a high suicide rate amongst males specifically. The US suicide rate amongst males is steadily rising. We've mirrored them in reality television shows and the steadily increasing amount of time spent watching it (The Japanese watch the most television in the world). The US is becoming increasingly a-religious as its urban centers grow, mirroring a largely secular Japanese culture.

    I've done some freelance work for MTV and its no big secret there that their second biggest audience is urban professional women. They are a critical mass audience.

    It's always funny that slashdot guys complain about not meeting/having chicks. The numbers are totally in your favor, dudes.
  • offcorse they are losing interests in gaming
    they are 2 busy to have unprotected sex now that a new effective aids medicine has been discovered
  • by jchenx ( 267053 ) on Thursday February 09, 2006 @07:16PM (#14682717) Journal
    As much as I like the direction Nintendo is taking, trying to bring some new innovation to the industry with their radical new controller, and their emphasis on making it easier for everyone and their grandparents (literally!) to get into games ... I wonder what the typical Nintendo fanboi is thinking. Do they understand and appreciate what Nintendo is doing? When I say "fanboi", I'm referring to those ardent Nintendo supports in forums who consider themselves hardcore gamers, are often immature (fans of l33t sp34k and the like), and want the big N to kick the crap out of the PS3 and the 360 in every possible way.

    I used to be a fanboi when I was kid, arguing with friends that "64 bits is better than 32!" and dissing the PSX whenever I could (although I secretly caved in later, because I had to get my fill of Square games). I'm sure there are a lot of these kids today, who still think that Link is the bomb (although they hated his kiddie look in Wind Waker), that good graphics = good games, coolness is everything, and that anything less is just lame. I'm not sure these fanbois appreciate that Nintendo is aiming to bring in Oprah or their moms into gaming, and deliberately "dumbing down" the game experience to do so.

    It's obvious to me that Nintendo is aiming for a difference audience than Sony and Microsoft. The latter two are still placing a lot of emphasis on having a more powerful console, better graphics, everything in HD, media functionality, etc. (Personally, I don't think that's a BAD approach, but it'd better not stop the most important aspect, which are the games themselves) It appears that Nintendo is opting not to go that route. So what if the console is not as powerful? It'll cost less. It'll also be more innovative, and you'll still get those wonderful Nintendo games everybody loves so much.

    But I think there's the danger of upsetting the "fanboi" audience, since Nintendo is no longer playing the console wars the same way as everyone else. I understand what they're doing, and I imagine most of the /. audience does as well. I think it's risky, but it can be damn effective. But if the ardent Nintendo fanbois don't, and the "gaming buzz" starts to sway negatively for Nintendo, I'm afraid it could mean bad things.

    We already know that 3rd party support for Nintendo could be better (referring to the GameCube, NOT handhelds, which continues to be stellar). I will also say that most Revolution purchases will STILL come from gamers, at least in the beginning. (I honestly don't see parents picking up a Revolution for themselves anytime soon ... it'll have to start by getting it for their kids and THEN maybe seeing the benefit for themselves) If that doesn't happen, then Nintendo is in for another disappointing console cycle (again, not referring to handhelds, where the DS > PSP)

    Anyone else get this feeling? Or am I smoking something here?
    • I'm going to have to disagree with your defenition of Nintendo Fanboys. While I'm sure there are a large number of 13 year old, l33t sp34k, graphics = good game out there rooting for nintendo, It seems to me that most of the people who hate nothing but flashy graphics with no content are the ones rooting for Nintendo to put some creativity back into video games. All the forum trolling 13 year olds have their Xbox 360's and like playing NFL 2004/5/6.
      • I'm not sure about that. I think the best place to find those forum trolling, 13-year old, Nintendo fanbois is at GameFAQs [gamefaqs.com]. I've had to use their message boards, from time to time, to find out more information on certain RPGs that I play. I definately get the feeling that there are a lot of Nintendo and Sony fans there (not very many Xbox gamers though). You can check out various polls to see this. Anyway, they're not exactly the brightest bunch ...
    • You're right. I think what Nintendo is doing is really dangerous. They're putting their chips on the line. But, I think it might pay off in the end. Just looking at the Japanese market, they've apparently done a good job of selling Brain Training to old people and Nintendogs to girls. Nintendo knows how to make a fun and interesting game, and if they can get non-gamers to give up their anti-game prejudice, they can make a lot of sales... But yeah, this may end or may not end up leaving fanbois in the dust.
    • The Revolution will be a fanboi's wetdream. Something that I think a lot of people are forgetting about the Revolution is the downloadable game component. Turn the Revolution's controller sideways, and I think you'll notice it looks oddly familiar.

      Nintendo has said that one of the features of the Revolution will include the ability to download Nintendo titles from their previous consoles. Talk about backwards compatibility! This is a fantastic selling point which would appeal to people like my dad who use
      • Nintendo has said that one of the features of the Revolution will include the ability to download Nintendo titles from their previous consoles. Talk about backwards compatibility! This is a fantastic selling point which would appeal to people like my dad who used to spend hours playing Super Mario World, but has trouble playing some of the more modern games. I predict this feature, combined with it's low price point, is going to sell a ton of Revolutions.

        With the success of the 360's Live Arcade [slashdot.org] ... yeah, i
    • I used to be a fanboi when I was kid, arguing with friends that "64 bits is better than 32!" and dissing the PSX whenever I could ...

      Um, so you're still a kid now. OK, maybe you're a "young adult" (like myself), but that doesn't make you exactly "not a kid".

    • I'm not a fanboy, but I do see there are reasons for everything. Plus I've consistently felt that Nintendo has had more games I want than the other systems. But I haven't been an active gamer in a few years, either.

      Prior the the release of the GameCube (now verging on 4-5 years ago), Nintendo's president (Iwataki, I believe) and Shigeru Miyamoto, one of the lead developers, expressed serious concerns about Sony and Microsoft getting in the game. It wasn't so much because competition was unhealthy for Nint

    • I understand what you're saying, but I think Nintendo isn't quite taking as drastic a route as you're thinking.

      What Nintendo has always done, up to this point, is make games targetted at everyone, regardless of age, race or gender. And to an extent, this has worked for them.

      I think (and this may just be totally in my head, and not in fact what Nintendo is doing, but the things they've been doing with the DS lead me to believe this) is that Nintendo is going to try targetting everyone as they have befor

      • I'm not debating the strengths of their games. They've always done a good job of providing solid first party titles, as you've pointed out.

        I guess my beef is more with their marketing. It seems like they've always done a mediocre job of this. Anyone remember the claims of "blast processing" from Sega, or the Emotion Engine from Sony? The "Nintendon't" campaign, or the "SEGA!" commercials? Yeah, most of that was essentially marketing hype, and I hated when my friends fell for things like that. And I know tha
  • warned that the number of teenage males is declining in North America

    It's an exact science to 'predict' the teen male population for the next dozen years.

    Take the current 13-19 sample size and project out each year by dumping the group
    that turns 20 and replace with the population of those who were twelve.

    Demographics people have acted surprised for the past 40 years at age-dependant
    statistics for the baby boom generation, even though its size is a known entity.

    Phenomena like "crime waves" can be pred

  • I think it's interesting that Nintendo is going after older women at all. This demographic is regularly behind the times in many new techs that are considered the hottest thing among their children. This generalization can even extend to single women around this age. These people often look at things like text messaging via cell phone and trends such as Myspace/blogging as a waste of time. As such, I commend Nintendo for being adventuresome and targeting a group that is certainly off the beaten path whe
  • by damsa ( 840364 ) on Thursday February 09, 2006 @07:24PM (#14682789)
    Controversy as Mario went on to Oprah to promote his new Revolution game Million Little Marios about Mario's mushroom addiction, Doki Doki hallucinations and his "friendship" with Toad. The Smoking Cannon has learned that in fact, Super Mario 2 did not really exist, Mario is in fact a carpenter, not a plumber and most shocking of all Mario is in fact Japanese not Italian.
  • what the heck oprah IS, see this wikipedia article [wikipedia.org]

    Apparently it is some sort of talk show.
  • This is a great idea (Score:5, Interesting)

    by sien ( 35268 ) on Thursday February 09, 2006 @08:01PM (#14683070) Homepage
    A few years back I was on a late night flight across the US. I went to the bathroom and on the way back noticed the blue shimmer of PDAs almost everywhere. And there was something else - without exception that I could find, there were all playing solitaire or some game.

    These were adults who had, or whose employer had, shelled out hundreds of dollars in part so they could play 'Drug Wars' or whatever on a plane.

    Similarly, on a plane to Australia from Thailand there were again, heaps of older men (and it was offputting) coming back from Thai holidays. This time, many, many of them had Gameboys.

    Who hasn't seen their, or someone else's parents or grandparents playing a raft of card games on their computer.?

    Nintendo is dead right. Many adults want something to play while waiting for things and riding on public transport. And with the DS you could do some interesting things - hey, on Oprah you could run a competition to do something while the show was running and then call some woman and give her credit for whatever. It'd be like voting for reality TV on steroids.

    If Nintendo can take away the game playing is for younger folk stigma on their devices, particularly on their handhelds they could well exploit or create a large, successful new segment of the market.

    • Well, the trick is to remove the stigma. My brother, who's a high-level corporate guy, has no problem playing solitaire or sumsuch small "game" on his Blackberry. I don't think I've ever got him to touch any of my consoles. Once he picked up the PSP, but the DS was just too much "I'm not an adult" for him.

      In America, games==not adult. This may not be true for many of the slashdot crowd, but go try and play a DS in a business suit in your company lunch room. No one will say a word, but you will be thoug
  • He also warned that the number of teenage males is declining in North America, and high school students are saying their interest in games is declining.

    So, instead of the obvious solution -- make games that don't suck -- they'll just try harder to market games that DO suck. Makes sense to me!

    4) Profit!!!
  • My fearless prediction?

    Nintendo commissions an exercise program that uses a controller you step on. Sound familiar? Only unlike DDR pads, this controller has a second level so that you can do something similar to step aerobics. Also unlike DDR, the music isn't hyperactive techno and J-Pop, but smooth Jazz and R&B. And Oprah's brand is all over the program.

    Suddenly fitness-minded women all over America buy Nintendo Revolution consoles bundled with the step controller and Oprah's Fitness Dance Studio game
    • The interesting thing is that as far as I can recall, no Nintendo controller other than the "normal" controller got used very much.

      Thinking back to the NES, there was a few innovative gadgets you could hook up, such as the ROB robot, the "Zapper" light gun and the "Power Pad" step-on mat (like DDR)... all very cool addons but only used by a couple of games. Since I got the NES for Christmas 1990 (if I remember correctly), the "fad" of having the power pad and Zapper was starting to fade. My mom said that sh
  • Another good headline spoiled by reading the summary (luckily, not the article).

    Here I figured RockStar had paired with Nintendo, and come out with a new game where you shoot up the audiances that fall for the "Violence hurts children (ok, ok, only when it's real violence.... against them...)" line...

    hmm.... idea...

Fear is the greatest salesman. -- Robert Klein