Growing Up with Violent Video Games


Welcome to my world, sukka!

Pity the poor, impressionable kid who’s psyche and view of life will be forever warped because of violent, no redeeming value video games.  Take Grand Theft Auto (GTA) IV.  Blood, guts, sex, drugs, rock ‘n roll.  Take-Two’s Rockstar dropped a cool $100 million to develop this horrific game.  If only the kids could wrestle the controls away from the Atari generation dudes and dudettes.

That’s right.  The game may have racked up more than $500 Mil sales in a week but don’t worry about the kids skipping school to play.  Instead they better
check to make certain mom and dad go to work because adult players are more prevalent than you might guess.  The computer, game console, software and  MMOG companies are major product categories in the CE industry.  Success here drives the need for faster, more powerful processors; higher quality graphic chips/cards; better viewing screens; surround speakers and more.  Here’s our views on how the industry will grow.

“Either we’re moving real fast or not at all” – Johnny Storm (Chris Evans) – Fantastic Four (2005)

Parents and critics around the globe complained vigorously about the lack of any redeeming qualities when GTA (Grand Theft Auto) IV would damage our kids psyche or open the door to them to unleash more violence in the real world.

Figure 1 – Pointless Violence – There weren’t a lot of good vs evil plots in GTA IV but that didn’t seem to bother the 10s of thousands of people who ran to stores and shopped online to grab their copy of the long-awaited sequel.  Reviewers said they wouldn’t be disappointed.  Shareholders certainly weren’t – Photo Source — IGN

We watched over our kid’s shoulder as he played the game on his PS3 and seemed pretty similar to what he’d run into in a week of watching TV – sex, drugs, mayhem, rock ‘n roll – yep pretty normal.

We sorta think after a period of game play he’s going to agree with Ben…“You know, living through something like this you really appreciate having the right woman in your life.”

Things have changed a lot from the “good old days” before the game industry crash in the mid ‘80’s when JT (Jack Tramiel) kicked off the first 7800 System and a little later the hand-held Lynx to take on the audacious  Nintendo.


Figure 2 – Good Ol Reliable – Sure you can play your fancy PS3 or aging Xbox but don’t forget it was the Atari 7800 (and 2600) that set the stage.  Actually a lot of those early players have graduated up to today’s power games.

Sure the graphics are light years better but then programs are bloated compared to epics like Ms. Pac-Man or Gates of Zendocon.  Heck if programmers back then had more to work with than 128 – 640K they would have produced blockbusters too.

Maybe not.  Rockstar dropped about $100M on GTA IV and had 150 developers working for a couple of years creating their sandbox (follow the plot or not).  And in less than a week they racked up $500 M in sales?   SHEESS!!!!

JT told a couple of guys in the back they had a few weeks to knock out the game and he’d give them all the Twinkies and Ho-Hos they could eat.  Don’t even ask what he’d do for sales numbers like that…for the year!

Maybe the lack of financial support “hurt” the development and marketing a little but JT figured anyone who wanted to make/play video games didn’t need much anyway.  Except for the infamous Custer’s Revenge there wasn’t much to those early games.

Who Is Out There?
Who knew those kids would grow up and still play games? Who knew there were as many girls as guys playing?  No one realized that early exposure to video games would carry over into adulthood.  Or as Reed said, “The cloud has fundamentally altered our DNA.”

Must have because today online/console/mobile gaming is a multi-billion dollar business.  And it’s the strongest segment of the online commerce arena.

Figure 3 – Number 1 Sport – The biggest sport for men/women, young/old are video games.  Online or casual the video game industry is a big profit center for a lot of software producers, retailers and online sites.  Source – Parks Assoc

Online games are more popular than watching videos online or cruising social networking sites.  As they say, online no one knows if you’re a dog (or a boomer+ player).

Figure 4 – Online Entertainment — There are thousands of VC funded business models around the globe that will make room for indie developed video content and provide a place online where folks can meet, chat, have fun.  But even more of the folks go online every evening to play videogames. Source – Parks Assoc

Like many “casual” gamers we’re more inclined to PC games than consoles.

Figure 5 – PC vs Console – While industry analysts closely watch the sales and market share shift of the key console firms – Nintendo, Sony, Microsoft – the market for online games from your computer continues to grow.  After all you already have a high def screen with the monitor so you’re ahead of the game (pardon the pun).  Source — NPD