National physical education experts say integrating active gaming into schools has merit.
Broadcasting the dance program at the start of a school day “sounds like a wonderful idea because it gets every kid moving,” says James Sallis, director of the Active Living Research Program at San Diego State University.
There are several advantages to these games, he says. “Students can do the moves in a limited amount of space. You don’t have to train teachers. You can push the button, and the kids get more activity.”
US mass market retail giant Target is set to expand the layout of its electronics and video game departments across stores nationwide.
The new layouts, which began rolling out across the chain in April and are anticipated to be completed by June, are designed to provide additional product diversity and better access to games and information. As part of the reinvention, the video game section is being expanded by 30% and will be organized by platform and game genre. A majority of Target stores will house video game learning centers and trial stations.
The video game learning centers feature a 40-inch high-definition touch screen where guests can read reviews, learn about game features, sort by ESRB ratings, view in-store price and inventory and receive recommendations on best sellers. The trial stations, meanwhile, allow consumers to try out the latest titles before they buy.
Target’s new tack speaks to the growing sales of video game hardware, software and accessories, which generated revenues of close to US$19.66 billion in 2009, according to the NPD Group.
To further complement its product offerings, Target recently announced it is the first brick-and-mortar retailer to bring Amazon’s Kindle to stores. The Kindle is currently available at 104 Target outlets and will be rolling out chain-wide on June 6.
An overview of each consoles demographic appeal:
It doesn’t take a genius to work out that each of the three current-gen home consoles appeals to different sets of people. The Wii, PS3, and Xbox 360 are all very different propositions, and the age and gender mix that play them varies greatly. And now, those user patterns have been mapped to give a clear picture of the different consoles’ diverse user bases.
There are many things that can influence our choice of video games console, from the games that are available on it, to brand loyalty, peer pressure, and even clever marketing. As I’ve opined before, I consider the current-gen to offer the most diverse range of consoles for the widest demographic ever seen on home consoles.
Nielsen Media Research tried to prove the point by tracking usage data by age and gender for all three of the home consoles. Over the course of October to December, 2008, console activity in all National TV Panel homes was measured, and the results are interesting if not very predictable.
The Wii, which is by far the bestselling home console of this generation, appeals mainly to males aged between six and 11, and females aged between 25 and 34. Women over the age of 35 use the Wii much more than either the PS3 or Xbox 360. Which would kind of explain how Wii Fit continues to top the all-format charts month after month.
Microsoft Xbox 360
The Xbox 360, currently sitting in a very comfortable second place in terms of sales, appeals mainly to males aged between 12 and 17, and females aged between 25 and 34. This seems like a bizarre mix but the younger age range for boys could explain the level of petty whining and douchebaggery on display over Xbox Live.
The PS3 generally seems to appeal to the older generation, with no young kids anywhere in the mix. This could just be because the Sony machine is so damn expensive that kids are still saving up their pocket money for one. Both males and females saw the largest usage amongst the 18 to 24 age range. This is considered the hardcore range where gamers play more games and for longer than any other age range.
The most telling statistic to emerge from this survey is that the Wii is by far the least used console, despite being installed in the most homes. This confirms a thought I’ve had for a long time now: the Wii is a short-lived novelty only brought out for parties.
Nukotoys first bit of press came today. While we’re keeping under the radar in terms of mainstream media, we’re beginning to promote MP429.
Teaching reading … with video games and TV?
So, I was intrigued when I got an email from Nukotoys, the company developing the game Mission to Planet 429 (MP429). The press release / website tagline screams: VIDEO GAME SUPPORTS READING IN SCHOOLS. Wow. Could it be? I watched the videos, checked out the screenshots, explored the company principals and its founders, read about how they are funded by a grant from the Department of Education, and considered the impact of their partnership with WTTW in Chicago. This, I thought to myself, could be big. Really big. So, I knew I had to share about it here. Could what they are crafting here – an immersive, 3D, browser-based learning environment, incorporating a companion public television show and printed books – represent the “Sesame Street” of the 21st century?
Bing Gordon writes a long post for Tech Crunch called The End of Moore’s Law: A Love Story in which he posits that the early goals of EA, to create video games that rivaled the emotional impact of movies, by focusing on graphics and effects and mechanics missed the boat. Instead, he says, popular games have little to do with these things, but instead have everything to do with the social bonds they enable and strengthen. It’s not about the SFX—it’s about human connection (moderated by these new social gaming platforms).
In the post, he shows EA’s first ad, which asks, “Can a computer make you cry?”
He talks about a defining moment he had in 1999 when his young daughter started crying because her friend killed her Sims mom.
He believes social games now have achieved this:
But while we were looking for movies powered by millions of transistors, we ignored the emotions we were creating in games as a new kind of playground. Instead of creating emotion-laden, but passive stories, we elicited emotional moments off the screen, between friends, in the retelling, in the trash-talking. The emotional moments turned out NOT to have correlation with processing power, visual effects, and 3d graphics. The emotion came from who we played with, not what machine we played on. Games help us create richer photo albums of our lives.
So rather than trying to create stories and characters that “wash over” our audience, rather than trying to prove that a computer can make you cry, let’s create play spaces that help us make more and better friends. We are the characters, the heroes, the actors. And we are making stories together. More friends, not Moore’s Law.
1. Games can make you smarter
2. Games can excite people for high-paying careers
3. Games inspire tangential learning
4. Games can enhance creativity
5. Games can foster advanced social skills
6. Games could help end war
Social games aren’t new–they’re just games you play with other people. Social games began about 5000 years ago. With some help from the team at Disruptor Beam, we’ve put together a little chart that traces the history of social games from its origins in Ancient Egypt all the way to the present. I’m using the term social network gamesto distinguish the type of social games (Farmtown, etc.) that are primarily played and distributed via social networks.