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It seems that when I was a kid, adverts for video games were, well, directed at kids (for those who don't want to click, it's that fantastic 80's Zelda rap). More recently I saw an advert for Mario Party 8 for the Wii — the demographic this intended this time around is your typical young adult, aged anywhere between 20-30.
I don't have a problem with this — hey, these commercials are still roughly reaching me with their more mature take on casual gaming. But I always have the need to stop and wonder — why are the demographics growing up with us?
Could anyone imagine the Mario Party 8 commercial being advertised like the first trailer? I know I wouldn't pay it any attention whatsoever.
This doesn't just apply to video games, of course. Look at comic books — they once started off clean and fresh, but most today are dark, mature and have a lot more depth.
But why the shift in demographics?
My theory is that when a genre, new idea or lifestyle reaches 'pop-culture' status, the age group that hooks into it and stays with it (through thick and thin) will always grow up with it.
I never imagined I'd see people like Kieren Perkins or Nicole Kidman selling video games. Honestly, I find that kind of lame — what kind of kid ever enjoyed their parents getting in on their game scene?
Displease your demographic, reap chaos
Some things really try their best to go against the grain and try to 'reset' the demographic. Often, this is a really poor (and even greedy) move and can cause many of the demographic to jump ship.
Star Wars, when it was first released in 1977, enamored and captivated the youth and their imaginations. Twenty odd years later, we're up to the prequels. The youth have grown up, have children and are ready to enjoy the magic all over again.
Instead they're faced with a defamation of what they once enjoyed so much. Why is this? The film is aimed at children. It lacks the mature gritty sci-fi and goes for a more politically correct 'fantasy' universe for kids where death is downplayed and fart jokes made into a more acceptable form of humor.
In other words, the demographic didn't age with its audience.
No matter how some may try, once something has earned its demographic, it sticks. Trying to capture an entirely new audience is like trying to get an adult to enjoy the wonder of processed baby-food all over again."
'Said Sega of America president and COO Simon Jeffery, "BioWare is one of the hottest names in RPG development in the world. Everyone at Sega has huge confidence that Sonic is in the safest of hands, and that BioWare can create the ultimate handheld RPG experience for gamers of all ages."'"