Is the Sony missing out on young gamers?

By Spencer . December 6, 2006 . 12:00pm

When Nintendo released the Gamecube they were criticized for not having enough “mature” games and for being too child oriented. Rated “M” games like Grand Theft Auto III, Halo, and Hitman 2 have sold over a million copies and two of those games on the list were system sellers. Clearly the gaming audience has “grown up” and there are more adults that play video games than probably ever before. However, if gaming is for everyone you can’t forget  kids. Most kids can’t afford to buy a Playstation 3 on allowance alone. Unless they beg their parents to get one as a present or shovel snow off a lot of driveways they aren’t going to get a PS3 until a price drop. Even if parents get past the sticker shock of the $500+ price tag there are few games designed for pre teens. Unless you’re going to pick up a high definition version of Madden 07 or Ridge Racer 7 there aren’t too many E or E10+ titles for Sony’s new system. As of now there are only 14 games rated between E to E10+ and that includes downloadable games like Go! Sudoku. Now completely designing a video game system for kids isn’t going to hit the masses, but ignoring them isn’t going to help the Playstation 3 either. The Xbox 360 which has traditionally been a “hardcore” system has been actively promoted by Microsoft as a family system. With games like Viva Pinata and a strong emphasis on parental controls the Xbox 360’s new image is bound to get a lot more attention from parents than the Playstation 3 which touts Resistance: Fall of Man and Genji: Days of the Blade.

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  • Casey Anderson

    Even though the PS3 doesn’t have many E games, it’s still topping most polls I’ve seen as the hottest Christmas gift that kids want this year, over the Wii, 360, and DS.

    If there’s one thing Sony’s got going for them, it’s brand recognition among kids.

  • Casey Anderson
  • the_importer

    Even though the PS3 doesn’t have many E games, it’s still topping most polls I’ve seen as the hottest Christmas gift that kids want this year, over the Wii, 360, and DS.

    If there’s one thing Sony’s got going for them, it’s brand recognition among kids.

    Guess we’re not looking at the same polls.

  • Pesmerga00

    I’m seeing the same polls as the_importer. Seriously, I think the only people who desperately want it, do so because they can’t have it. That or they already own the other two. I think Sony’s plan of a false shortage backfired this time.

    Back on topic, yes I believe they are neglecting young gamers. Though when parents will buy their kids anything regardless of rating, it doesn’t matter.

  • Casey Anderson

    Well, I had links to the polls, but the post is not showing up and awaiting moderator approval because I put the actual link.

    Just type in these in google and they’ll be the first result:
    boys and girls want ps3 for christmas
    children prefer ps3 not wii

    I think most serious gamers who actually follow the industry and do research know that the Wii and the 360 are going to beat out the PS3 this Christmas, not just because of shortages, but because the PS3 isn’t cracking up to be everything Sony said.

    My point is, however, you’re average 5th grader is going to beg his mom and dad for a PS3 out of brand loyalty.

  • Tracey Allen

    I am happy that the PS3 is in higher demand by younger people; that leaves more Wii’s for me!
    Really though that is the thing I like about nintendo are the games that I have played since I was young. If they didn’t have Zelda and Super Mario Brothers I would just but an Xbox. I might just buy an Xbox anyway to play Viva Pinata.

  • Pesmerga00

    I see what you mean now, and I agree, to an extent. Although, I don’t think it has so much to do with brand lolalty, as wanting what is all over TV/News. I could just be arguing semantics here though. I do however completly agree with your other point.

  • Eric Fox

    Many of my friends who traditionally would be classified as “hardcore” gamers, ie twenty-somethings who traditionally favor more mature games, have lately expressed dissatisfaction with the rapidly increasing graphical realism with few gameplay innovations.

    If my experience has been at all representative, this generation of consoles may see gamers gravitate toward the system that provides the most fun gameplay irrespective of mature themes and gritty visuals. These are the guys who are forsaking the PSP in favor of the DS.

    I think as long as Sony and Microsoft maintain their appeal to their target demographics, they’ll be fine. Those gamers in their 20s and 30s have a lot of disposable income, allowing Sony/Microsoft to effectively yield the younger territory to Nintendo. I think the real question of this round of consoles is whether Nintendo can make inroads among the “hardcore” demographic and others who don’t traditionally play games. The anecdotal evidence from my experience suggests they can. What does everyone else think?

  • stonerocker

    I agree with Eric-Fox. With the gamecube Nintendo was showing a development into the more mature games while still keeping their system entirely kids friendly. For example, Resident Evil 4 was seen as a solely gamecube game until 8 months later when the identical game with slightly worse graphics came out for the PS2. Taking from that example, I think Nintendo will be doing exactly that, moving into a more mature audience with third party help, while still catering to the younger demographic. Also, it’s important to note that Nintendo is the one company that has been in the industry for the longest. They are what got most of those twenty and thirty year olds into gaming in the first place, so they have that recognition as well.

    Then of course, there’s always the price.

  • Jason Keays

    The PS3 would be traditionally a console system that is by default, aimed at older “hardcore” gamers. They have their good days and their bad days. To this day I suppose that they could be deemed as the leader in consoles, but with Nintendo’s new Wii console and Microsoft’s Xbox 360 (ehem, which on Thursday I won on radio, thank you very much!), I think the competition is going to be shifting somewhat.

    Well – let’s see what happens in this war on consoles.

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