Failing at your Entertainment

May 19, 2005

With the oh-my-fucking-god-circle-jerk-boy-mass reporting of E3 in full swing, it nice to see a few articles come out that question the direction of the industry, especially ones I am quoted in.

From the article:

"When you spend all day at work, the last thing you want to do is go home and become frustrated by video games," Gilbert said. "There is a gigantic group of people who want easy-to-play games."

The article goes on with:

"Midway Games Inc. Chief Executive David Zucker said the company's core audience - males between 18 to 34 years old - has a more mature sense of fun that involves complexity and full immersion."

But...isn't that the problem?

This industry is too focused on males from 18 to 34 and everything is made to satisfy them and - in my option - to the exclusion of a much larger audience. Also, don't be a statistics goof and confuse "most game players are 18 to 34 males" with "most 18 to 34 males are game players". In the lower end of that range, I can believe that, but as people (even males) get older they stop playing games. They outgrow them because all that's offered is high-testosterone head-banging, and if the floor of E3 isn't testimony to that, I don't know what is.

I have no doubt, like the current movie business, much of the money we make comes from that demographic, but like the movie business, we need more diversity. Right now it feels like we are just in the spiral of a hardcore-gamer feedback loop. They are spending a lot of money, so they are getting all the attention, yet the masses sit just outside the playground, quietly holding their credit cards asking "Is there anything I can play?", only to be screamed at by the anonymous raging hardcore gamer "Shut the Fuck up if you don't like Halo 2".

So what do they do? They move to web games like Bejeweled and play them by the millions, but they want more than that, and they'll pay for it if anyone would listen.


My actual quote was: "Most adults spend all day failing at the office, the last thing they want to do is come home and fail at their entertainment". But it's probably better cleaned up a little...