Thought of the Day: Are computer games the new megamedia or a (big) flash in the pan?

For as long as I can remember, computer gaming has been a growing hobby. It still is. Every year, more and more people play games on their consoles or computers, whether they be social facebook games, multiplayer deathmatch shooters, single player, or MMOs. Games are becoming more and more a part of the cultural fabric of society. Maybe the norm is still guys playing shooters on their xbox/ ps3, but it’s not a weird thing to do any more.

And yet, Syp has looked at various surveys on the average age of gamers and found that it is rising. (Even the more conservative figures here agree that the average age of gamers is rising.) It is possible that the surveys just don’t capture younger players well. It’s likely that they tend to play on consoles owned by older family members, or play games that aren’t included in the survey.

But just for the sake of argument, let’s say that the surveys are right and the average age of gamers is going to keep increasing. Younger people will drift into new, different hobbies. Probably they’ll involve internet connectivity but not the big AAA games, increasingly looking bereft of new ideas, that we’ve seen in the past few years. (If I say AAA games are looking short on ideas, it’s from having been trapped in an office with a fanatical black ops player – I know a lot about that game now! And pretty much all of the battlegrounds/ win conditions are things I’ve seen before.)

Whilst gamers are still in the money making part of their lives, studios will pander to them. But in 30+ years time? It’ll be on to the new hotness. It may be less than that depending on how the next generation of consoles shapes up. If you think that games are the 21st century’s big media breakthrough in the way that cinema and TV were the media darlings of the 20th century, then you have to wonder how the next generation will be enticed to make them a part of its life.