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Nintendo Goes Looking for the Grey Gamer 48

Posted by Zonk
from the octagenarian-mario-kart-fans dept.
The New York Times reports on Nintendo's visit with the AARP. The Association for the Advancement of Retired Persons held a products show this past weekend, and Nintendo showed up in force to demonstrate the 'new generation' of gaming products they're offering. From the article: "Over the weekend, the company proved that it believed its own press releases. For the first time, it took its products to Life@50+, an annual event sponsored by AARP, and held this year in Anaheim, Calif. The event, intended for those over 50, attracted more than 20,000 people and featured a wide range of panel discussions, celebrities and exhibitors showcasing products for older Americans. 'Nintendo has never gone after grandparents before,' said Amber McCollom, a senior manager of public relations for Nintendo. 'We're targeting this audience for themselves, not just their grandchildren.'"
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Nintendo Goes Looking for the Grey Gamer

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  • How do you keep a turkey in suspense? Don't interview any of the attendees to find out what they thought of Nintendo's booth! (GRRR!)

    Unfortunately, all of the articles on Google News are just Newswire reprints of the link in the summary. I had to do some serious digging to find a story that had a bit more substance. This link [siliconera.com] gives a few reactions, photos of the event, and a video of an older fellow playing the Wii. He seems to have an uncertain, yet fascinated look on his face as he picks up a spare in Wii Sports Bowling. Very interesting stuff!
    • by Abreu (173023)
      Thanks for the links, AKAImBatman!

      Yeah, I know a couple of old ladies that learned to play Nintendo with their grandkids... One of them (a friend's mom) was better at Tetris than any other person I've known, and she plays Mario Kart and Mario Party with her friends (all of them over 60)...

      If Wii Sports is as intuitive and easy to play as it looks, I'm sure it will appeal to many non-gamers...
    • If Nintendo can get enough retail space to have cool demos like that, they'll be in greater demand than PS3s.

      Although, given my experience with Gamestop size I doubt anyone but BestBuy or Toys R Us could maange it.
  • by grogdamighty (884570) on Tuesday October 31, 2006 @11:53AM (#16658525) Homepage
    I'm waiting for the new FPS that allows you to shoot at kids who come on your grass.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by cowscows (103644)
      I think gunning down people is a bit violent for the older crowd. The Wii remote, however, is perfect for shaking your fist at those unruly teenagers.
      • by creimer (824291)
        Today's senior citizens are more sophisticated than they were in the past. They would spray unruly teenagers with the water cannon on top of the personnel carrier, shoot rubber bullets and tear gas, call in the national guard, and call the TV stations to complain that the government isn't doing anything about these damn kids.
    • ...they're gonna put out "Nursing Home" in full GTA style. Get to drive cars right into storefront windows!
    • by Megane (129182)
      They're going to make a special version of Crazy Taxi where you get points for smashing up farmers' markets.
  • "AARP" doesn't mean [wikipedia.org] "American Association of Retired Persons" anymore. So "AARP" actually doesn't stand for anything

    (except for fucking anyone under 50 on Social Security, of course)
  • What else will be in their line-up? You know, I would actually play a driving game where the goal is to tie up traffic. If I could take a 1970's Buick and drive on the same racetracks that Burnout Revenge runs on (while they are trying to do their race), just to tie up traffic, that would be sweet...
  • They're Out There (Score:3, Insightful)

    by American AC in Paris (230456) on Tuesday October 31, 2006 @11:58AM (#16658627) Homepage
    Believe me, there are more Grey Gamers than you think. Of all the email I've received regarding my own game, I'd say a good 15-25% of it has been from retirees, grandparents, and other people d'un certain âge. Not the majority, by any stretch of the imagination, but a surprisingly strong showing, given that I hadn't even realized that the Grey Gamer existed.

    I think Nintendo stands a very good chance of striking gold with this strategy.

  • Why not? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by techstar25 (556988) <techstar25NO@SPAMcfl.rr.com> on Tuesday October 31, 2006 @11:58AM (#16658633) Homepage Journal
    It seems to make perfect sense to target elderly folks.
    1. They are retired and have plenty of free time.
    2. Many can't drive so they are confined to the house all day.
    3. Many can't walk so they are confined to a chair all day.
    4. Some have a good stash of disposible income.
    5. They have grandkids who are definitely playing. This could be break down the age barrier between them and promote quality time.
    6. They already love gaming (ie. Chess, Shuffleboard, Bingo). Can you imagine Wii Shuffleboard? It would probably be fun.

    I apologize if I'm stereotyping badly. I don't mean to offend anybody.
    • It makes more sense to see that, specially, the newly retired are from the generation that was a young adult in the 70's. That generations has been fabled for their open mind when using new forms of recreation. Also that was the time when the first videogames were created (1972-Pong).

      Heck, my father is from that generation (but Spain is different, take that into account) and he plays games for fun, much to the despair of my mother.

      I wouldn't find it strange if in 10 years discos, catering the taste of the e
    • by AdamThor (995520)
      Why not? Because it has the possibility to make the platform suck otherwise.

      I really like the Wii's pricepoint. It makes me want to like the platform. But the focus that they have on softcore gamers makes me wonder it there will be any games for me to like on it.

      Now, dig this: I don't have anything against 12 year old girls playing games. Or old people either. But I'm not that market. If children and old people want to play games like Halo and Ninja Gaidan and Soul Calibur and other games that I like
      • by trdrstv (986999)
        They need to avoid falling into that "outside realm" niche, I agree. Currently however they are the only ones actively going after people outside the 18-35 demographic and women (of all ages). Currently though there are several games coming out in the launch window that are for the core game players. Zelda, Red Steel, and The Godfather come to mind. They may have mass market appeal, but the types of games are geared to the core gamer.
      • by Hitto (913085)
        What are you going to pull out next? Five years ago, Nintendo was kiddie game crap, today's new fad is "Wii's hardware is so weak it can't even play PONG, OMG IT WILL FAIL!"

        I'm sick and tired of this generation of gamers that associates everything that doesn't contain blood with kiddie crap.

        To quote :

        "But if Nintendo wants to spend all it's time making the Barbi / My Little Pony crossover game, or Bingo - Large Type Version then how can I be excited about their platform?"

        You're either a corporate shill or a
  • Victory for Gamers (Score:3, Insightful)

    by paladinwannabe2 (889776) on Tuesday October 31, 2006 @12:03PM (#16658725)
    The more people who play video games the better off gamers will be, because there is more money that goes to the games developers (and therefore more encouragement for people to create games). This is especially true of the older people- not only do they have more money, they have more influence. The idiots in congress are less likely to screw over an industry that has wide public support. As long as congress thinks games are only for people under 20, they will happily listen to people like Jack Thompson- after all, non-voters only matter if you can get the voters to 'think of the children' and support your legislation.
    • by Rydia (556444)
      Any discussion of the appropriateness of stricted regulation aside, your argument is: "old people playing games means congress would be wary of regulating minors' access to games." This is interesting because a) it's a complete non sequitur, and b) old people are generally conservative and support restriction of information to minors.
      • It means that they are less likely to impose onerous restrictions on games being made. I have no problems with a game like GTAIII not being sold to minors, similar to R and NC-17 movies. I do have problems with Congress passing additional laws that would, say, destroy the ESRB [penny-arcade.com] and replace it with a new board of Congress-appointed stooges.
  • The inflatable colon looked pretty popular. http://www.preventcancer.org/colorectal/events/sup er.cfm [preventcancer.org] Wonder if they could work colonic health and the new controller into some kind of compelling game.
  • this is a huge emerging demographic. I'm not surprised Nintendo's going after it, I'm just surprised Sony and Microsoft aren't.
    • It's even more pronounced in Japan as one of the lowest birth rates in the world combined with very low immigration rates and incredibly long lifespans have ensured that the 65+ crowd is a huge demographic there. Europe will be a somewhat similar boat in about 10-15 years, everyone is going to be after "grey money" if you will. Now for young people like me, I just wonder what the best investments would be to take advantage of this demographic shift....
  • sorry, i thought the title said "ghey gamers". Never mind.
  • starting to work (Score:3, Insightful)

    by dogbowl (75870) on Tuesday October 31, 2006 @12:15PM (#16658977) Homepage
    My mom (late 50's) flew on Japan airlines this summer when trhey were advertising Brain Training. Once back here in the states, she went out on her own and bought a DS and the game. Not only that, she drove around to 3 stores before she found any systems in stock.

    And this from a woman who had to put up with her son being obsessed with the NES back in the day. They last person who I would ever expect to buy a Nintendo on her own.

    On another note, I mentioned to her the cook book and DS browser and she was definitely interested in those. NoA needs to get serious about the older gamer and start targeting them.
    I've seen their demo stations with Brain Training running, but naturally they are mounted 3 feet off the floor and located in the video game section. ToyRus has giant signs advertising the game - but thats the problem -- its at ToyRUs. The last place any self respecting older adult is going to be shopping for themselves.

    Why they don't have Brain Training for sale at Borders, Sharper Image, etc is beyond me. It will never appeal to older people as long as its relegated to the kids section.
    • Why they don't have Brain Training for sale at Borders, Sharper Image, etc is beyond me. It will never appeal to older people as long as its relegated to the kids section

      Target actually had plans for something like this not too long ago. When I worked there, I would often talk to representatives from different companies. Anyway, the Nintendo representative told me we should have a Brain Age display in the books section which maked perfect sense.

      Nintendo needs to turn their marketing machine into overd

  • This is just good strategy on Nintendo's part. With the touch line of games they are already doing a decent job reaching non-gamers for the DS. Applying that same strategy to the Wii only makes sense. My mother recently purchased a DS Lite after reading about Brain Age in a mainstream magazine.

    This strategy might end up being the wisest instance of subterfuge in video game history. Most people who dont play games dont avoid them because they dont like them, they avoid them because they are scared of tec
  • O.k. It maybe time that we rethink this whole retirement thing. (Esp. so my generation won't have to pay for those baby boombers.) Let's just give them all a Wii and call it a day.

    When I was in college I worked on a medical imaging research project. That was just about the time PS2 was coming out. At the time, I thought it would be great if the PS4 or PS5 could run our medical software on a daily basis monitoring the daily health of gamers. Everyone is excited by the more physical input of Wii. Well, all 3
  • So let me get this straight, Nintendo are now striking at the whole age spectrum...

    Not enough that parents sit their kids in front of a television all day/evening, it now seems as though Nintendo want to do the same in retirement homes across the world!

    I can see it now:

    Nurse: Take this pill...
    Patient: Ok
    Nurse: Now be a good boy and play with you wii wii thing...

  • ...The number of elderly people up in arms spreading hate speech and banning Nintendo for not releasing a Matlock game?
  • My father (70 years old this year) has finally gotten into First-Person Shooters. He's playing Far Cry and Call of Duty 2 on a new dual-core box I built for him.

    The funny part is that during his younger gaming years, he was an aficionado of Avalon Hill and SPI wargames. When he got his first computer, he would play Steel Panthers, Age of Rifles, etc. He moved up to Real Time Strategy games (He loved Age of Empires), and now plays FPSs.

    I don't think he's ready for online yet, though. Probably spend m

  • I frantically clicked on this story from Gametab thinking it was a report on Nintendo going after importers ala Sony, but because it wasn't specific I was worried it was games as well as hardware. Then I find it's just talking about people that probably don't know what a computar is. As soon as I change my underwear, I'm outta here.

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