“The average age of the most frequent game purchaser is 35 years old” states the almighty Entertainment Software Association. This means the $20b+ videogame industry is largely fueled by old men buying console games – the Candy Crushes of the world are still a blip compared to Call of Duty launches. The Onion nailed it in their recent article “Father Excitedly Tells 10-Year-Old Son About New Video Game System“: kids just aren’t nagging their parents about new consoles the way they used to – it’s the parents (well, mostly the dads) who are most excited about the new tech.
There’s a disconnect between how AAA games are being developed and the people that are buying them. Most of the big franchises are moving towards open world games that take at least 30 hours to finish. The ante keeps getting upped – the world of GTA V is supposed bigger than GTA IV, GTA San Andreas and Red Dead Redemption combined – so factor in time spent with the online component and it could be hundreds of hours of content. This is fantastic if your target market is teenagers who need something to do after school, but seems odd when your prime demographic is a guy who is probably working all day to pay his mortgage and has a family to spend time with.
We worry this isn’t sustainable – how many unopened and unfinished games can a man let pile up? So here at Sandbox we are issuing a public service announcement to all you parents out there: play the latest (age-appropriate) game with your kids, not after they go to sleep or while they are fiddling with their iPads. If console gaming is to have a future, these little ones need to understand how a controller works! Bonus: they will love you for the quality time.