Next-Gen Issue: Is Power Irrelevant For Casual Gamers?
When you ask hardcore gamers, most will tell you they're looking forward to the power and potential of the next generation of game hardware.
But that's because they're willing to pay for fancy new technology. And let's not forget that the hardcore are now the vast minority in this industry; recent analyst estimates have the casual gaming crowd comprising approximately 80% of the entire gaming market. And you know, I really don't think that group gives one flying fig about hardware power.
If that were the case, the Wii wouldn't have sold for beans and in fact, it sold like mad. The fact that it sold to a ton of non-gamers essentially proves that those who aren't hardcore aren't so interested in "cutting-edge" anything. Therefore, the logical conclusion to make right now would be this- Power doesn't sell. Or rather, power is too tough to sell. The hardcore market seems to continue to shrink and the casual crowd is ruling the roost, which is akin to the movie industry, where brainless action flicks set box office records and quality independent films struggle to get noticed. The majority, the masses, are basically casual at their core; a group of people who like to partake every now and then, but aren't especially avid.
And without the avid, the fervent, the dedicated, we get a set of consumers that really only cares about one thing- The price tag. Availability and general quality of games will likely always be important but I'm convinced that the #1 factor for casual gamers is cost. And if you remember, the PS3 - certainly the most powerful and capable system of the generation - cost an arm and a leg when it came out. Possibly the biggest reason Sony can't make that $600 mistake again is due to the gigantic influx of the casual crowd. That's my theory, anyway.
11/28/2012 12:23:58 AM Ben Dutka