Posted by: seanmalstrom | January 14, 2015

Email: Maturing Customers

Hi there!

It’s been a really long while since the last time I read your blog, so I
have lots of catching up to do…

Anyway, this part in an email on the Anti-hype blog post had me smiling:

“Hell, people are now starting to flatout regard the developers of Call
of Duty as being liars because they promise to put things in their next
game–like dedicated servers–and then don’t.  They promise to balance
things–like the sniper rifles–and don’t.  They promise the game will
look “next gen” but it winds up looking the same as–or worse–than the
game before it. Because of all of this, everybody is losing faith in the
gaming industry to deliver the steak, because all they can do is sizzle.”

Technically this is nothing new – the industry haven’t delivered what’s
promised in ages anymore. But what the emailer is describing, is what
happens when your customers are getting older. Seeing the games not
living up to the hype and/or not being delivered what was promised times
too many is eventually going to turn customers away.

The industry targets the immature male as they are easy to sell the
games, but the “ever maturing” trend have been leading into maturing and
therefore more experienced customers, that eventually learn not to get
hyped over something that’s not going to be living up to hype anyway.
Back in 2006 I registered to a videogames forum that opened few months
prior to Wii release, where I have had the chance to see the kids
growing up in these past 8 years. It’s amazing how much more sceptic can
someone be at the age of 23 than he or she was at 15. The boys who were
17 back then and were going “OMG” with virtually every big budget hype
targeted them, are now saying “meh”.

In a way you could describe the situation as a tragedy of the commons,
as everyone’s top teams have been making big budget games for the
“mature” audience, while the younger audience have been getting scraps,
leading into less kids coming in as they grow up.
I remember Iwata saying around a decade ago that “it’s important to
appeal to kids”, which is true if you want to keep having customers in
the next generation too…

Up until the 1990s, games were designer based. Then, they became production based. Now, games are marketing based. When I see a game now, all I see is marketing. I FEEL the hands of tons of marketing elves creating it all.



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