Who plays video games, really?

In your average game store, customers do not read reviews. They do not post on forums, they have never been motivated to leave Amazon feedback just to “send a message,” they do not blog. They do not know which publishers have poor reputations and which ones have good ones. They do not know the names of famous Japanese game designers; they might have Mario Kart Wii at home, but they do not know who Miyamoto is.
Leigh Alexander

Reading this felt so comforting to me. I know this. Everybody knows this. The math is simple. There are simply not millions of hardcore game fans out there. A few hundred thousand, perhaps, if even that many. But video games sell in millions of copies. Most of them to people who couldn’t care less about the discussions on this and other blogs. That is the gaming audience! That is the people we are working for. Not the clever reviewers, the whining commenters and the nagging bloggers on the internets.

This ties in neatly something we have talked a lot before but apparently have a hard time expressing properly. Maybe we should try again…

3 thoughts on “Who plays video games, really?”

  1. “I hereby guarantee that I´m not developing games for YOU..naughty naughty hardcore players who visit developer´s website.”
    But don´t worry.. I´ll get the word to those who are not reading it. 😉

  2. Hmm, good point. I remember when I was younger, a lot of kids played strategy games like Age of Empires (or its sequels). But they were playing for the most part with cheat codes, often just with an AI rather than competing with human players…

    Come to think of it, that’s really more about freeform play than one might normally associate with strategy games. I wonder how significant this fraction of the market actually is.

  3. My guess is that when a game starts selling in millions, most people play it for the story, the immersion, etc. And they just put up with the challenge structure, or use it as a kind of motivator, but certainly not a primary activity. I guess I find the thought of all those millions being freaky nerds unsettling. 😉

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