Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Video Games Really are for Every Generation

I never thought of myself as a "gamer", although I used to play the odd Atari and Nintendo 64 game way back when; and who can resist a quick online game of Bejeweled? But after spending some time with the Nintendo Wii, I'm convinced that this console really has conquered every generation.

Earlier this month, reports flooded the 'net that the Wii crept up and outsold every other gaming console on the market in the first month of 2008. According to NPD, 274,000 Wii consoles sold in the U.S. in January, compared to 269,000 PlayStation 3s and 230,000 Xbox 360s. Who would have ever thought that a "cheesy" and family-friendly gaming system could overtake consoles made for the hard-core, teenage male gamer?

But this family-friendly console has really come up out of nowhere and taken the gaming world by storm. Playing the "free" sports game that comes with the Wii console for an hour or two will have you sweating buckets; and creating your own "Mii" character that looks just like you is a barrel of laughs, just not for kids, but easily for a group of 20, 30, or even 60-somethings. What's even more telling is that the Wii is still to this day tough to find in retail stores even after being on the market for over a year. I even had to travel to 4 different stores just to find a second Nunchuk controller!

For those who thinking gaming is for lethargic, "geeky" kids with no friends, think again. An hour of gaming with the Wii can give anyone some well-needed exercise, and is a great activity for "family" time for mom and dad, the kids, or even a gathering of friends.

I want to end by noting that I'm not implying the other consoles don't offer neat, interactive features as well. I was also recently introduced to Rock Band for the Xbox 360, and I must say that I enjoyed it as well. Again, this is a game that brings people together, and requires physical activity rather than sitting on your butt and flicking a button or joystick every now and then.

Incorporating physical activity into gaming really seems to be the way that gaming is headed; and it will certainly continue to open the hobby to new and exciting markets.


Jaybird said...

I am an Xbox 360 owner and I love it... but then again I have been playing video games since my dad picked me up an Atari from a garage sale.... it was sweet... anway, Nintendo sure has shown us why they are a major part of the history of video games. They realized the fact that it would be hard for them to win over existing video game players from other platforms so they also aimed for the market that doesn't play. They pretty much invented the video game controller as we know it today, put the first thumbstick on it (N64), and now have reinvented it.... which PS3 tried to rip off with their lame attempt of being able to move around the controller.

I have played the wii and it makes video games fun.

Lee_D said...

Indeed, Nintendo was wise to reach out to the casual and non-gamers.

The thing about hardcore gamer dudes though is that they tend to buy every console. They may talk smack about XBOX360 or PS3 on online forums, but of the sample of serious gamers I know, they all have one of each. In console marketing, it's hardly an either/or decision for the core consumers.