Welcome to Coffee Talk! Let’s start off the day by discussing whatever is on your (nerd chic) mind. Every morning I’ll kick off a discussion and I’m counting on you to participate in it. If you’re not feelin’ my topic, feel free to start a chat with your fellow readers and see where it takes you. Whether you’re talking about videogames, Super LINtendo, the excellent Gary Carter, or what the hell ever happened to Urkel, Coffee Talk is the place to do it.
As some of you know, I’ve been watching the panels and talks from DICE 2002. One of the dominant themes of the show was attracting the mainstream and mass-market consumer. In 2012, the issue has changed. The mainstream consumer is a gamer. It’s hard to believe how far gaming has come in 10 years. Between consoles like the Nintendo Wii, mobile games, and Facebook games, the mass market is arguably a bigger deal than the enthusiast-gamer market.
Back then, the talk was about attracting casual consumers. These days, most people play some sort of videogame. Part of it is how the industry has progressed, but part of it is that gamers simply got older while a whole new generation has grown up with games as a standard form of entertainment. (And not to be morbid, but a lot of people that viewed videogames as a foreign or unusual thing simply died.)
Originally I was going to ask you, “Who is the mainstream gamer in 2012?” After typing all this out, perhaps the better question is, “How can companies turn casual gamers into enthusiast gamers?” Getting someone to play a game on the iPad 2 or on Facebook is easy. Is there an opportunity to “graduate” those gamers? Can they be turned into players that buy PlayStation Vitas and Xbox 720s? Who are the new targets in 2012 now that gaming in mainstream? How can traditional videogame companies snag them?