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Figure 1 - Global Population – Today there are over 6.6 billion people on the planet. All are potential customers for … something. All those of us in the industry need to do is figure out what it is … boy that was simple! (Source: U.S. Census Bureau)

Figure 2 - No Game – Those of us who play them just think of gaming systems as idle time games. But to the hardware, software and subscription service people who make their living in this space it is serious business. (Source:– Informa Telecoms & Media)

Figure 3 - Not All 20-Something – Turns out that not everyone who is a potential game system/software customer is 18-24 and male. They are younger and older and also…female. (Source: Ipsos Insights)

Figure 4 - Female Domination – While men tend to think that men dominate the Internet – and by that definition also gaming – but it turns out women are on the iNet in greater numbers…over 51% are female. (Source: eMarketer)

Figure 5 - Tapping The Market – The older and younger population as well as females and family folks have flocked to the systems and software. So much so that other software developers are suddenly warming up to Nintendo. (Source: U.S. Census Bureau)
“I want you all to consider what I am about to suggest to you. You people seem to want what we've got. Well, we have room for you. We have room for you and about 30 of your friends. You would be students of course, but you'd also be teachers.” – Walter (Brian Dennehy) – Cocoon, 1985

How do you win in the PC/CE industry? Every engineer … every marketing “expert” knows the answer.

You give ‘em more.  More features. More fun. More quality. More bells. More whistles.

You give ‘em less. Lower cost.

That’s the way the gaming industry does it and conventional wisdom (don’t you love that word?) “proves” it works. After all, “everyone” knows gamers are 14-24 year old guys who:

  • love the smell of napalm in the morning and squealing tires
  • want their women overly endowed and ready for action
  • like their mechanical and alien competitors big, ugly and without conscience
  • can sit in their dank rooms 4-8 hours straight without bathing or relieving themselves

If any of the other 6+ billion people on the planet buy into the gaming buzz, fine.

They don’t really count though. You may think of this stuff as simply … games. To the hardware/software folks involved … it’s serious stuff! Right now the market is on track to become a $50+ billion global business. Even by MS standards that’s not chump change!

Ok, so it’s big … huge even.

How would you have like to have been the guys who bounded into Iwata-san’s (now president) and Yamauchi-san’s (founder and CEO until 2002) offices and said you wanted to develop game systems that wouldn’t compete with Sony’s PlayStation or Microsoft’s Xbox?

They want to develop this people-oriented system that anyone could buy and play.  They wanted it kid and adult friendly.  They wanted to call it something that was part of the family. How about…Wii?  Bad idea? While MS and Sony were pushing the fast track, Nintendo took the road less traveled.

Game reviewers fought each other to write the most glowing coverage possible for the powerhouse Sony, MS systems. Words flowed in adrenalin fashion over the systems and the games. Reviewers flipped coins to see who would review the Nintendo Wii. The losers got stuck with the job.

But something went awry in the brilliant Microsoft/Sony planning and reviewer accolades. As Walter/Dennehy said … Every 10 or 11,000 years I make a horrible mistake.”

Time to step back and look how and why Nintendo tapped a market that logic (don’t you love that word?) says wasn’t there. It’s a shift in the post-modern world that can help the entire PC/CE. The signs were there … we just didn’t pay any attention.

The Internet and gaming isn’t a 20+ stud domain! Truth is:

  • 18-49 gamers are only 44% of the market. 56% is “other” (see Figure 3)
  • Nearly 52% of the internet users are female (see Figure 4)
  • 54% of the online game players are female
  • 66% of females watch videos online
  • 75%+ of the online gamers are women
  • Women are different from men (surprise!)
  • Older & younger players like to interact with others

Faith Popcorn, president of BrainReserve, identified two concepts – clicking (pinpointing lifestyle trends) and cocooning (retreating into the home and doing things as a family) years ago. She identified females and families as a dominant force – for long term sales – in the market.

Sometimes referred to as the Nostradamus of marketing, her work and predictions rang true for Nintendo and software/online subscription services have gotten the message. Maybe the rest of the industry will follow suit!

The world’s demographics are in an important transition:

  • Nearly 1/5th of Japanese and Italians are 65+…and its increasing. The US with 12% age 65 or older ranks 15th in this category
  • Aging is proceeding rapidly. Japan doubled its percentage in 26 years and the acceleration is even greater in Brazil, Singapore and Thailand
  • 60% of the women 75+ are widows in Australia, Malaysia, Croatia
  • Older Canadian women living alone increased 8x between 1961 – 2001
  • By 2050 nearly 1.5 billion will be 65+ and an almost equal number will be 0-14

The big guns in gaming – Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo – are following different paths.  Come on face it. Gaming is a sideline to MS and Sony. Their agendas aren’t really to give you heart pounding, sweaty palm game action!  They want their systems as your home entertainment hubs. If you happen to play a game now and then … great.

But they are adding the features, capabilities and connections you need around the house. Complex stuff they “know” you need:

  • Connection to your TV
  • Internet surfing
  • Connection to your stereo
  • Connection to your refrigerator, stove
  • PC “things” (remember MS wants to rule your world!)

 Nintendo?  They want you to have fun!  They’ve got stuff that:

  • is multiplayer, community focused
  • is of interest to the casual gamer (the majority of us)
  • gets you off your fat *** and lets you participate with more than your fingers
  • makes it fun on a casual, communal, friendly level

 So what has that got to do with the rest of the industry?  Glad you asked!  In our converged/converging world people want personal communications. Personal solutions. Personal devices.

While manufacturers keep adding value … adding capabilities … adding features … adding complexity … adding cost.It’s an unsavory set of design compromises.

They’re compromises that techies love. For example the PSP is a pretty good game system.  It’s good for watching movies (lot better screen size than your iddy bitty iPod screen!  It can store/play your music.

Nintendo’s DS?   Plays games. Of course people are hacking it to do all sorts of things beyond that but hey…that’s what hackers do!!!  But it’s a product that is outstripping the PSP sales! It’s a product that could have legs even into 2011 in the U.S. when there will be 59 million kids (0-14) and boomers (55+) of over 90 million.

The rest of the population? Well as Dennehy also said… “I promise you, you will all lead productive lives.”

Seems to us that Iwata-san was a brain surgeon and Yamauachi-san was a rocket scientist.  The guys who suggested the Wii and DS were more than just snake oil sales people.  The Nintendo approach so far has shown that the Swiss-army PC/CE solution may get a techie’s pulse racing but doesn’t get everyone into the pool.

Consumers – around the globe – want personal products and solutions that they can easily optimize for specific applications, specific activities. Certainly we could be wrong.

Or as Ben Luckett said in Cocoon, “Well there is the one school of thought that says they don't know nothing.”

It’s time that PC/CE companies takes a closer look at the Nintendo phenomenon and implements those lessons that apply for their firm.  After all the lowest common denominator must know something. There are so many of them and … their numbers are increasing!

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Number problems
By Trisped on 5/31/2007 1:00:20 AM , Rating: 3
18-49 gamers are only 44% of the market. 56% is “other” (see Figure 3)
Nearly 52% of the internet users are female (see Figure 4)
54% of the online game players are female
66% of females watch videos online
75%+ of the online gamers are women
Women are different from men (surprise!)
Older & younger players like to interact with others

So 54% of online game players are female, but 75% of online gamers are women. Either that means that game players are not gamers, or that there are fewer females then women. While the first might be considered true by those who like labels, the second is far from it. All XX humans are females, though only adult females are counted as women.

My problem has been, and continues to be that the surveys don't seem to be 100% clear and legit. Do they count gamers as those who play the cheep, easy to make flash games common to neopets and msn games? Are they counting games that actually have a plot, or do they allow the thinly veiled chat rooms count too?

I am not saying that females don't game, as I have one friend who logs over 4 hours a day playing neopet games and my sister is a big WoW fan. Even then my sister isn't a real gamer, as over half the reason she plays is because her husband plays. I admit that there are girls that are gamers, but I haven't meat any that I would award the title to. Maybe I need to change my setting till I do...

RE: Number problems
By James Holden on 5/31/2007 1:33:53 AM , Rating: 3
Well keep in mind -- usually with these surveys when they say "gamers," they're talking about anyone who's picked up solitaire for the computer.

RE: Number problems
By henrikfm on 5/31/2007 6:59:02 AM , Rating: 2
I agree, what would be interesting is to see which group of people spent more money on videogames, not Solitaire players related.

RE: Number problems
By Moishe on 5/31/2007 8:00:31 AM , Rating: 3
I agree completely and I don't think it's false at all. My wife plays as much "online" as I do, and I play BF2142 for at least 2 hours a week (usually a lot more).

We younger guys have this image stuck in our head of a gamer and he's the sterotypical young man shooting things up. To us Solitaire isn't a game. Well we're wrong and that's why Nintendo has been successful. My wife can play Yahoo Gemdrop for hours. God knows I'm not sure why she can, *to me* it looks so tedious. But she is a gamer. It just so happens that it's a different kind of game.

Frankly, when I'm 75 I want to still be able to shoot things up in a game and I imagine that Nintendo will be the one providing that ability.

For Wii2 all they need is what they have now, plus next-gen graphics, and a bigger/better list of games and I think they'd sell quite well to a wider market. Not that I'm expecting Nintendo to produce really gory excellent shooters, but if they could make the kids games 720p/1080p AND add some more good shooters (and a good MMORPG) then they'd be printing their own money. Heck the Sims "online" would fit in quite well with the Wii mentality.

RE: Number problems
By nekobawt on 5/31/2007 11:16:57 AM , Rating: 2
Or the 75% could be referring to avatar genders, in which case a good portion of the female avatars are backed by gender-bending male players.

RE: Number problems
By knowyourenemy on 6/24/2007 1:38:55 PM , Rating: 2
Like someone posted before, "online gaming" includes those java/flash games you see floating around everywhere. First-person shooters and MMORPGs are two completely different animals, yet are still part of the same ecosystem... they're just a minority. Casual games dominate the market.

the only problem....
By Moishe on 5/31/2007 8:06:27 AM , Rating: 2
I am a PC gamer and I think the Wii is genius so don't call me a fanboi... I think the Wii has a very lousy lineup of games. Yeah I know, it has "a lot". Well "a lot" is apparently not enough. I know people who buy the Wii, get Zelda (TP) and maybe a Super Mario game. There are a few others, but mostly there isn't more than 3-5 games that are "must have" if you own a Wii. I think that is highly damaging. I considered getting one but didn't because I kept going thru the list of games and couldn't come up with 5 that I really wanted. I'm not saying I wouldn't have fun with the other games, but even for the PC, I really want to "love" the game before spending $50-$60 on it.

Consoles really need downloadable game demos.

The market may be open to Nintendo, but they'd be wise to provide a couple of good FPS games so that they can include those young male gamers as well.

RE: the only problem....
By nekobawt on 5/31/2007 11:21:49 AM , Rating: 2
Didn't I read something about the next Resident Evil game being Wii compatible?

RE: the only problem....
By Moishe on 5/31/2007 1:50:05 PM , Rating: 2
I haven't heard it mentioned... not that it would cut it for me.
Frankly I've only seen crappy ports of good games like the Wii version of Farcry. If that is how they plan to get males to buy their system, they better try again. They can't expect us to treat a crappy port the same as we would treat the original.

RE: the only problem....
By Spivonious on 5/31/2007 3:37:43 PM , Rating: 2
I agree with you about the lack of real quality games on the Wii but please name 3-5 "must-haves" for the PS3 and 360. PS3 has one game in RFoM and 360 has a few more (Oblivion, GoW, that zombie game, ?).

I am waiting for the real Wii games to come out. So far all we've been treated to are quick ports of the Gamecube (FarCry, Zelda) or DS (Trauma Center, Cooking Mama) versions and tech demos (Wii Sports, Wii Play).

Oh and I hate to point this out, since it discounts your accredibility, but there are no Super Mario games for the Wii yet.

RE: the only problem....
By regpfj on 6/1/2007 8:29:45 AM , Rating: 2
Oh and I hate to point this out, since it discounts your accredibility, but there are no Super Mario games for the Wii yet.

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RE: the only problem....
By knowyourenemy on 6/24/2007 1:40:32 PM , Rating: 2
I won't lie: Paper Mario is fun.

RE: the only problem....
By chsh1ca on 6/5/2007 9:42:08 AM , Rating: 2
Go rent Rayman. I had loads of fun in that game, and it makes me believe they could successfully port all those wicked arcade shooters to the Wii and bring in the "male 14-49" bracket easily.

Screw going to the arcade to play House of the Dead 4, if I could do it at home I'd be slaughtering undead hordes all night.

I agree about the demo thing, but keep in mind, to keep the price down they intentionally didn't put a large HDD on the system. It would be nice if they made a peripheral so we could get demos if we wanted.

By James Holden on 5/30/2007 7:56:58 PM , Rating: 2
Couldn't have said it better myself. I even remember reading the posts on this forum about calling it the Wii. And everyone said it was going to tank.


RE: Nice
By James Holden on 5/30/2007 7:57:57 PM , Rating: 2
NPD: Nintendo top hardware and software for April 2007

RE: Nice
By darkavatar on 5/31/2007 4:09:05 AM , Rating: 4
Game reviewers fought each other to write the most glowing coverage possible for the powerhouse Sony, MS systems. Words flowed in adrenalin fashion over the systems and the games. Reviewers flipped coins to see who would review the Nintendo Wii. The losers got stuck with the job.

Oh my, this is so true and funny, I laughed my head off on this one.
I suggest we should put this on the comment lines at the bottom of each page as a reminder to all.

RE: Nice
By James Holden on 6/2/2007 11:52:16 AM , Rating: 2
Oh its there now :) lol

Very well written
By indianpunk on 6/2/2007 4:41:12 AM , Rating: 2
A gr8 Article and something i would love to know is how many people in the world have HD Tv's!!!!!!!
In india i believe its not even 5% of the totall population so as we all know both sony and ms's product did'nt work out and the silly thing is ps2 and xbox 1 the original still sell for around 320$ or Rs 13500

I hope Wii comes here soon

RE: Very well written
By indianpunk on 6/2/2007 4:44:13 AM , Rating: 2
And forgot to mention that ps2 slim is available for half the above price and is a failed product cant survive the heat and dies out in max two months

Duhbuhlyeuwteeyeff, Mate?!
By Xietsu on 6/1/2007 4:40:54 PM , Rating: 2
Yeah, sorry to say, Andy Marken, but it doesn't seem that women have the predominance as gamers that you are arbitrarily conjuring them to have. The Ipsos Insight poll statistics clearly display, in fine numerics, females to consist 38% and males 62% of the gamer populace. Does anyone know where Marken got his 54% and 75%+ figures? Really confounded as to where such a conception was construed to be legitimate.

By xuimod on 5/31/07, Rating: -1
RE: Italians?
By Topweasel on 6/1/2007 12:35:44 AM , Rating: 2
Both Racist and backwards. Its Soccer to us Americans and Futbol (or something like that since their is a American Football in Europe)everywhere else.

errr. okay its just plain Football... Wonder where I got that spelling from and why I thought places like the UK would spell it like that. Though it does appear to be one spelling of it.

RE: Italians?
By floffe on 6/2/2007 10:39:20 AM , Rating: 2
Fútbol is the Spanish name, but it seems to be used in a bunch of languages according to

RE: Italians?
By CollegeTechGuy on 6/1/2007 4:15:40 PM , Rating: 2
beep beep beep dash dash beep (Morse code beeps in a news flash)

Nintendo releases a boot to wear on your foot to attach the Wii remote...YOU CAN NOW PLAY SOCCER ON THE Wii!!!!

Ok, so that isn't true. But the Wii is fully capable of doing such a thing, the hardware is there. Now we just have to sit and wait for someone to make the game and the shoe :P

RE: Italians?
By knowyourenemy on 6/24/2007 1:41:52 PM , Rating: 2
Remember how the Wii-mote broke those few TVs? The Wii-boot...

"Nowadays, security guys break the Mac every single day. Every single day, they come out with a total exploit, your machine can be taken over totally. I dare anybody to do that once a month on the Windows machine." -- Bill Gates
Latest By Andy Marken
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