While Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo show impressive results from a console perspective, today’s game-play market appeals to a very narrow demographic.
Game consoles are purchased by an age group 25-40 years old. While that demographic may be most capable of purchasing these consoles, we know from the types of games sold at roughly $50 per game that daddy plays more games than his children.
One could also argue that the most playful age range in our lives is from age 2 to 16 years old, yet the games and platforms provided do not meet that demographic. According to an Electronic Arts executive, fewer than 40% of teenage girls play any games; feeble attempts to turn existing games pink did not yield more sales.
So, rather than a deep dive into the existing game-play demographic, with even better graphics of game consoles, vendors should focus on a game-play experience that meets real market demand, removes the negative and vegetative connotation of gaming, and instead exercises mind and body.
Nintendo has taken the first step of targeting a new game-play demographic and quite successfully so. Robbie Bach, president at Microsoft (who I recently spoke to), described his initial Xbox objective as building the best performing gaming experience. Sorry Robbie, wrong business objective. By far, Sony is the leader in console gaming and has great opportunity; to lose or bolster its lead. Execution will be key, Jack Tretton will have his hands full on that one, but Sony’s powerful assets in home entertainment should help.
While the console vendors battle it out on price and performance, we see new entrants prepare themselves to enter the home entertainment demographic with new “game-play” propositions. The game console vendors will see competition at a different level, and Apple is just one of them.