Hard core gamers have lost their “most sought after” position for video game system and software producers. Without a lot of fanfare the developers/manufacturers have found that there is a huge general and casual gamer market out there… young or old, male or female.
It came as a rude shock to our son…he was no longer one of the most sought after people on the planet – the hardcore gamer. It dawned on him after watching his sister and Mom play their Wii musical instruments, exercise with the system and do a little Dancing With the Stars. While he and his comrades were busy shootin ‘em up, bustin ‘em up; the gaming industry had discovered there was a brave new market existed beyond teens…beyond boys! We sorta, kinda knew it back at the beginning when worked with the Tramiels to introduce the 7800 console and Lynx. We just didn’t admit it.
The game industry was in its infancy and only accounted for a few hundred million bucks. Today the market is huge and serious. Despite (or perhaps because of) the anemic economy, the gaming industry appears to be hell-bent on fighting the tide again this holiday season with another record year! In good and bad times the game industry has grown steadily.
Action games like GTA (Grand Theft Auto), Gears of War, Call of Duty and MMOGs (Massively Multiplayer Online Games) like World of Warcraft get all the media attention and arguably a strong sell-thru. But with very little fanfare or heated play-by-play discussion, a long list of non-adrenaline/testosterone games have earned a strong customer base.
Have you seen the latest Nintendo DS racing and math challenges of mid-20s folks? Seen the top iPhone apps downloads? Normal folks are taking center stage. There is no longer a stereotypical gamer. The market has broadened and has become embedded into our daily cultural and social fabric.
Game hardware/software/play ecommerce is experiencing record growth even as other categories have lowered their expectations for the holiday and year.
Family interest in game play can be attributed to a number of very real factors:
The high visibility games are only the tip of the iceberg. The range of game types has gone well beyond the blow-em-up mayhem to games that are just plain fun that can be as simple or complex as the players want.