No wonder kids prefer video games to telly

As a new reader of Marketing Week I have to say what a good read it is. This week (MW March 9) there are a couple of articles about television ratings dropping, especially in the “vital” categories 16- to 24-year-olds and 25- to 34-year-olds, along with Simon Fuller trying to make Formula 1 sexy again for the teenagers. All interesting stuff, but where is this “vital” audience going?

In the video games industry, we spend a lot of time targeting that area to good effect. There is no question in my mind that if a kid’s not out “happy slapping”, he’s sat at his PlayStation. Girls too. Games like Everquest online (a massively multiplayer online and community-based PC game) and the Sims have bridged the gap of the sexes and created genuine mass market appeal.

Not a week goes by without someone declaring video games to be bigger than Hollywood. So why are games companies still paying brand owners for the right to use their trademarks in games that reach far more people than TV, radio or press advertising ever has?

F1 not sexy any more? Too technical and expensive? So why hasn’t one of the many other motorsports taken over? Some of our top-selling video games are motorsports games: Colin McRae Rally is always in the top 10 on release, Need for Speed is one of the biggest franchises in video

games and F1 titles have almost always gone to number one on their release.

All things “American street culture” are in: rappers, hip hop, R&B, street racing modded cars, gangs, guns, hoodies… Sad as it is, if you want the formula for success with the youth market, take one part rap music, sprinkle a few big-breasted babes, stir in a large dollop of violence and a pair of jeans barely hanging onto the buttocks. That’s what’s made video games the force they are today.

Kids don’t want squeaky-clean Jenson, they want 50 Cent. Kids want danger and heroes who don’t look like your parents’ best friends. Is it any wonder that kids sit up in their rooms playing video games when Z-rated celebrities are learning to ice skate downstairs?

The youth of today is very different from the one we grew up with, and this seems to be missed time and time again by the “men with the money”.

Dave Vout

Business development director

8bit Games

London SW9

mw.editorial@centaur.co.uk include your home/business address

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