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An Older Demographic May Soon Dominate Gaming 234

Reservoir Hill writes "An article from last week runs down the new mass audience for gaming among families, women and older people. The importance of the mass audience in gaming's spectacular growth is seen most clearly in the success of Nintendo's Wii, which is far outselling its more technically advanced hardware competitors, the Xbox 360 from Microsoft and PlayStation 3 from Sony. Wii Play was the No. 2-selling game of last year even though it received an abysmal score of 58 out of 100 at Metacritic, which aggregates reviews. The Times says that as video games become more popular hard-core gamers are becoming an ever smaller part of the audience. 'Paradoxically, at a moment when technology allows designers to create ever more complex and realistic single-player fantasies, the growth in the now $18 billion gaming market is in simple, user-friendly experiences that families and friends can enjoy together.'"
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An Older Demographic May Soon Dominate Gaming

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  • Makes one wonder... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Darundal ( 891860 ) on Tuesday February 12, 2008 @01:05PM (#22393768) Journal
    ...How many politicians are going to go after games continually when they gain the same status as movies in the public eye?
  • by DigitalisAkujin ( 846133 ) on Tuesday February 12, 2008 @01:11PM (#22393872) Homepage
    The new emerging Wii market can't simply be lumped into the same hardcore gaming market.

    The Wii market is separate from 360 and PS3 so trying to figure out why Wii is outselling the PS3 and 360 doesn't work.

    It's not simply about being a "Gamer" now. The way most Wii games work isn't in any way similar to the traditional gaming market. Stop treating it like the same thing.

    Not everyone feels like getting off their ass and actually moving.
  • by Alzheimers ( 467217 ) on Tuesday February 12, 2008 @01:14PM (#22393906)
    I love the Wii, but you can't use Wii Play as any kind of reliable metric for the popularity of that kind of game. It's essentially a $10 game bundled with a $40 remote that most console owners were intending to buy anyway.

    Like any genre, the Minigame phenomenon is only as strong as the title itself. Raving Rabbids was actually pretty solid; Carnival Games is utter garbage. Unfortunately, publishers see the unintentional success of games like Wii Play and assume that's what people want.

    Mario Party is a classic, so that's going to be popular. Raving Rabbids is a solid enough game that makes good use of the controller. Wario Ware is goofy and fun, but is becoming tired and cliche.

    Frankly, the less party games we see, the better off the few that remain will be. Otherwise it all becomes shovelware at some point.
  • by SmallFurryCreature ( 593017 ) on Tuesday February 12, 2008 @02:00PM (#22394490) Journal

    That company must have gone ages ago, after all, you say there is not enough of a market compared to simpler games, so since they were founded in 1958, by now they should have gone belly up.

    Ah but no, Avalon Hill has spend decades succesfully making a profit selling extremely complex games. Way more complex then Monopoly, and still somehow making a profit, enough to satisfy the parent company Hasbro. Mmm, were have I heard that name before. Hasbro, don't they also own Parker Brothers, the publishers of Monopoly?

    Why on earth would Hasbro publish both a lowest common denominator game like monopoly (fans, please lynch the OP for those words, not me) and extremely complex games?

    Because unlike you the managers at Hasbro ain't completely devoid of any business sense whatsoever.

    You can't sell the maximum amount of goods if you only sell to the majority. The smart person will identify the various groups that exist and try to meet each of them with their own line of products.

    Idiots MBA's often just don't get this most basic premise, they see a the majority market (and often get that wrong as well) and then think EVERY product should be aimed at that market. It is extremely short-sighted especially when that market is already being dominated with an other product. Don't try to out Coca-Cola Coca-Cola. Don't try to out WoW WoW.

    This is what Nintendo did with the Wii, realizing they could NOT compete directly with Sony or Microsoft they instead tapped in another segment of the market although it is important to note that the Wii has more "adult" games then the Gamecube had before. Even nintendo seems to realize that trying to shoot for just one corner of a market at the expense of all others isn't smart which is why you got violent shooters on a Nintendo a console giant who in the west once censored blood and anything nasty or naughty.

    What gets me in stories like these is that some people seem to think market share is important, it isn't. Profit is. If you can make a living selling a product to 10 people out of 6 billion you got a lousy market share, but are still a success.

    It is almost like saying that simple movies get the largest audiences so everyone should make simple movies. TV execs already live by this rule, does gaming have to follow?

  • by Poseiden ( 575105 ) on Tuesday February 12, 2008 @02:15PM (#22394720)
    Up until just now I've always wanted more people to get into gaming. Before the Wii I wanted more people to game simply because its one more thing that we could all share in common. But now I realize that once the entire population games we are headed in a very bad direction. What happens when we are all playing Second Life?

    Giving even one ounce of attention to a virtual reality takes an equal amount of attention away from physical reality. It's another opiate for the masses that opens the flood gates for a total control. We all know how video games are addictive (WoW?). So what happens when government funded psychologists start to highly recommend playing an alternate reality game as a stress reliever? Or as a way to safely fulfill fantasies in a way not disruptive to society? Then we are set up for a government funded Second Life (America's Army?).

    This is scary. Beyond belief. Just because a movie hasn't been made on it yet doesn't mean that it's not starting to happen.

    Do you see this happening? If you do, are you working for a company that is part of the gaming community aggregately pointing in this direction?

    Of course it will happen, it means more $ for them.

  • Re:Back to basics (Score:3, Interesting)

    by fishbowl ( 7759 ) on Tuesday February 12, 2008 @02:23PM (#22394816)

    >Settlers isn't significantly (if any) more complex than Monopoly, imho.

    I rarely find people who both know the rules of Monopoly and are willing to play the game by those rules.

    Whenever I play Monopoly I choose to play banker/auctioneer/referee, and choose not to have an avatar on the board at all (so as to be disinterested and impartial).

    When you play the game by the rules and with a designated banker, the game mechanics take a back seat and a role playing element emerges. Also, when you play the game without some of the common house rules, the game moves rapidly forward and tends to reach a conclusion in a shorter time. Many people, and to my experience *most* people have learned the game with house rules that were aimed at redistributing tax money with the goal of staving off bankruptcy, and this has a side effect of making the game much more random, and also, tends to force the game to run much longer than the design intends.

    With a full-time banker, another element comes out, and that is a barter/auction economy. But in order for this to work well, the players must adhere to the rules about building and selling. The best way to do that is to broker all transactions through the bank, and to have all auctions operated by a person who is not playing the game.

    I encourage people do try this (and the Parker Brothers rules do as well). With a decent referee, Monopoly can become a very satisfying RPG.
  • by vux984 ( 928602 ) on Tuesday February 12, 2008 @02:26PM (#22394846)
    Not everyone feels like getting off their ass and actually moving.

    How many Wii games have you actually played?
    Most of them do not require getting off your ass.

    Zelda:TP, Super Mario Galaxy, Super Paper Mario, NFS:Carbon, Resident Evil 4, Rayman Raving Rabbids 1 & 2, Wii Play, Wii Sports, Metroid 3, WarioWare Smooth Moves, Mario Party 8, Dewey's Adventure, Lego Star Wars, Big Brain Academy, Wii Carnival, Wii Playground, Elebits.

    I've played all of these and of those, the ONLY games that really benefit from or require getting off your ass and moving to play would be:

    Wii Sports
    some levels and modes of WarioWare Smooth Moves
    a very small minority of the Rayman minigames

    The rest can very comfortably be played sitting down.

  • by Stefanwulf ( 1032430 ) on Tuesday February 12, 2008 @06:18PM (#22398576)
    A friend of mine is studying to become a laparoscopic surgeon, and she tells me that she often catches herself humming the super mario brothers theme song as she controls the instruments...even switching to the world 1-2 theme if something goes wrong.

The wages of sin are high but you get your money's worth.