For veteran gamers who cut their teeth during the Atari days, much of what you’re about to read may seem like old news. But gaming is beginning to pop up on the radar for a whole new sector of the population, many of whom have never so much as picked up a controller. As a result, game consoles appear poised to completely take over a whole new sector of entertainment: home theater.
Today, we tend to think of console gaming as a mainstream convention, but in its early years it was pigeon-holed, stigmatized, and even relegated to the fringes of geek-dom. As a result, it became a sub-culture of sorts. Sure, it was ubiquitous among the 21 & under set, but adults who played games on a regular basis back then were far less common.
The gaming industry outgrew that awkward phase and expanded its audience throughout the 90’s , but analyst Michael Pachter of Wedbush Morgan estimates that, in 2003, gaming’s audience still comprised about 90 percent young men. Eventually, however, demographics began to shift in earnest, and when they did, it was largely due to a prescient business move from gaming’s most recognizable household name.
When Nintendo launched its Wii console in November of 2006, it also launched a new marketing strategy. The company billed the new system and its games as tools for fitness, learning, and family fun, adopting an “everyone’s a gamer” ethos and staking its new hardware on its success. Of course, the rest is history, as units flew off shelves and Nintendo enjoyed record sales, while stores scrambled to satisfy demand.