Nintendo is off to an incredible start with the Wii. With
continued demand and leading sales even after the holiday season, Nintendo
couldn’t be happier with the system’s early success. The Wii’s innovative
controller design has opened up video gaming to a previously untapped market—non-gamers.
The marketing minds behind Nintendo looked beyond the
traditional gamer mediums and advertised its innovations at targets as far from
gaming as you can imagine, such as retirees. Nintendo even went against the
current and took the Wii to an AARP convention. “The AARP thing was a little
bit tough at first. They were like, ‘We don't really want to talk to you
because we're all grandparents and we already buy stuff for our kids,’ and so
we said, ‘No we want to talk to you about you,’” said Perrin
Kaplan, VP Marketing & Corporate Affairs for Nintendo of America. “It took
several attempts for them to finally say, ‘So why do you want to talk to us?’
And it's because we have products for them as well now.”
Nintendo’s efforts seemed to have paid off. The Chicago
Tribune is reporting that the Wii is now the latest rage at the
Sedgebrook retirement community in Lincolnshire, where the average age is 77.
In particular, the Wii Bowling component of Wii Sports has members of the retirement
community hooked on playing the Wii installed inside the Sedgebrooks’s clubhouse
“I've never been into video games, but this is addictive,”
said 72-year-old Flora Dierbach. “They come in after dinner and play. Sometimes,
on Saturday afternoons, their grandkids come play with them … A lot of
grandparents are being taught by their grandkids. But, now, some grandparents
are instead teaching their grandkids.”
Wii Bowling has become so well received that more than 20
residents signed up to participate in a virtual bowling tournament without the
need to leave the clubhouse lounge. Sedgebrook's entertainment committee said
that they even have a fan for people to dry their hands before they bowl, just
like at a real bowling alley.
Although Wii Sports features cartoon-like graphics and
characters—imagery normally aimed at children—the retirees are absolutely taken
with the realism offered by the Wii Remote.
“This is pretty realistic. You can even put English on the
ball,” said Don Hahn, 76, a veteran of numerous real-life bowling competitions.
“I used to play Pac-Man a little bit, but with this you're actually moving
around and doing something. You're not just sitting there pushing buttons and
getting carpal tunnel.”