Saturday, March 21, 2009

The Gaming Industry, Q1 2009

I'm kind of at a loss to post about things today, but I can at least bring up some boring business stuff going on in the gaming world and my thoughts.

Despite the economy in America basically being awful, the gaming industry sure couldn't tell. We've experienced around a 15% overall growth in sales since last year, and the trends show no sign of stopping, which is pretty great for everyone.

The gaming market is, as pretty much everyone knows, really leaning towards the casual side of things. The Wii is kicking serious ass in the market right now. February was one of the biggest non-holiday sales months for video games in, well, forever. The big killers in the market have been the Wii and DS. The Wii literally sold over twice as many units as the 360 last month.

770 thousand Wiis in one month. I'm sure that Nintendo wasn't necessarily shooting for this big of a market share, but they have the market by the throat now. It's all because the Wii is made for everyone. Even my 60+ year old aunt has a Wii and plays Wii Fit. She's never even heard of Street Fighter or Metroid Prime, but she loves playing the Wii. That's some crazy stuff.

So I gotta ask, what's the secret? What's the trick to making games that are this successful? Nintendo isn't using anywhere near the same model as World of Warcraft, and yet their sales figures put Blizzard's to shame, at least when it comes to number of installed users.

I'll tell you guys what I think. Gamers like me (and maybe some of you guys too) are becoming a minority. Even though it might be a little scary that the hardcore market might shrink a lot in the next decade or so, I think it's great that we are getting tons of new blood. It's getting easier and easier to understand video games, and that means that we'll get a lot of new buyers of all types of games, not just casual ones. After all, parents that play the Wii will foster kids who play 360, and kids will fuel the hardcore market just like they always have.

I mean, Street Fighter 4 is making a killing in stores right now (it's already platinum, lol) and SF4 is a hella hardcore game.

As the expert nerds that we are, it's up to us to set a good example for newer casual gamers. I can't stress enough that if we want to survive we're going to have to learn to get along with the new guys that don't know what the differences between Mortal Strike and Shadow Bolt are, or for the more reasonable, Sap and Gouge.

Casuals are just nerds waiting to happen. So if you see some casual noob asking what's the difference between a hex and a condition is, help them out. They're our future! Eventually we can get them hooked on 25-man raids and standing roundhouses into Ultras.

As I mention all the time, it's a good idea to put the right ideas in the head of our casuals too. Politeness and courtesy are the best ways to make sure that we get fewer 14-year-olds shouting obscenities into the mic on XBL.

I can dream, right?

PS: I don't actually play WoW, but I know a ton about it because I'm nerdy like that

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