Monthly Archives: June 2009

Percentage of female gamers increases in 2009

According a NPD survey of 20,000 individuals, the percentage of females who play videogames increased from 23% in 2008 to 28% in 2009.

Not just for XY anymore

Not just for XY anymore

Other findings:

– Female gamers in the “extreme” category (more than 39 hours per week) increased by 4%

– 39% of total gaming time is spent with online games

 Original article

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Strangest Videogame Accessories of all Time

PC World has published a list of the oddest / most awkward / most useless videogame accessories of all time.

Included in the list:

The Mindlink:

"Granted, it was supposed to read muscle movement on the head, not brain-wave patterns, but it was a start."

"Granted, it was supposed to read muscle movement on the head, not brain-wave patterns, but it was a start."

The Nintendo Power Glove:

"symbol for all that is unholy, wrong, and dorky with game controllers"

"symbol for all that is unholy, wrong, and dorky with game controllers"

The Laser Scope:

"it's pretty hard to top Konami's LaserScope for sheer date-nullifying nerdity."

"it's pretty hard to top Konami's LaserScope for sheer date-nullifying nerdity."

The Mindwire:

 

"A controller that gives you a mild shock as you get your butt kicked."

"A controller that gives you a mild shock as you get your butt kicked."

 

Original article

President of the Entertainment Software Association has Doubts about Game Addiction Study

Following up on the previous post regarding videogame addiction in children, Michael Gallagher, the president of Entertainment Software Association (ESA) has challenged the conclusions of the researchers and suggests that the study used “flawed methodology.”

Mike Gallagher - President of the ESA

Mike Gallagher - President of the ESA

 “Gallagher goes on to point out that Gentile conceded in an interview that he was unaware that the sample group for the study was not randomly chosen, but instead comprised of a ‘convenience’ sample of individuals who agreed to participate in the survey.”

This is often a problem you run into when conducting research – true random selection is quite elusive and samples of convenience are certainly not as desirable.

The question is, on a survey asking about videogame habits, who is most likely to respond – those who are light or moderate players, or those who play excessively?

Obviously, your sample selection influences your results – and I suspect that such a study may over-sample somewhat on the hard-core gamer side.

Original article

 

Three Million US Children are “Pathological Gamers”

A national study at Iowa State University has concluded that 8.5% of American youths (8 – 18 years old) who play videogames “show multiple signs of behavioral addiction.”

kid gamers 

“It’s not that the games are bad.It’s that some kids use them in a way that is out of balance and harms various other areas of their lives.”

As is common in this field, the researchers adapted the diagnostic criteria for gambling addiction to define who is and who isn’t addicted. Gamers were considered “pathological” if they reported 6 of the 11 symptoms.

Findings:

  • Compared to girls, four times as many boys were considered addicted
  • Children considered pathological gamers did worse in school
  • Those considered addicted were twice as likely to have attention deficit disorder
  • 88% of kids play videogames

Original article

68 Percent Of US Households Play Games

The Entertainment Software Association (ESA) recently released the annual “Essential Facts About the Computer and Video Game Industry” report.

A few findings:

  • 68 % of American households play videogames
  • 42% of homes have a gaming console
  • The average age of players is 35
  • Females make up 43% of online gamers 
Come on...does anyone *really* play the Wii like this?

Come on...does anyone *really* play the Wii like this?

 “This is the new golden age of entertainment software. Our  products are now being enjoyed by over two-thirds of Americans”

Also,  according to the study, parents are present 92% of the time when games are rented or purchased. If accurate, this is encouraging. Of course, being “present” does not necessarily mean that parents are informed about the content of the purchase…

Original article

Peter Molyneux interviewed on Milo And Kate

Microsoft’s “Milo” demo at E3 seems to be generating a lot of interest / debate. Using the “Project Natal” technology, an actor talks to a virtual boy (Milo) who interacts with her, appears to understand her, and holds a conversation.

If you havn’t already viewed it, here it is:

“The key thing there is that it seems real. I’m not pretending we’ve cracked the hardest problem of AI; I’m not saying this is the start of Cyberdyne Systems from Terminator.”

“The interesting thing is this uncanny valley and how we’re breaking through it. People who experience Milo really go away believing they can talk to him.”

 

Fascinating...but still a little creepy

Fascinating...but still a little creepy

Interesting for sure. Apparently this is more than just a tech demo and the development of an actual “game” is well underway. Just how much of this short interaction was tightly scripted remains to be seen though.

Interview on the “tricks” behind the demo here

Big three show off new tech at E3 2009

In addition to previewing dozens of upcoming games slated for 2009 and 2010, at E3 2009 Nintendo, Microsoft, and Sony each unveiled new tech peripherals for the Wii, Xbox 360, and PS3.
 
First up was console market-leader Nintendo with the Wii Vitality Sensor –  a finger sensor which attaches to the Wiimote to read your pulse.
Has potential, but rather underwhelming overall
Has potential, but rather underwhelming overall

The device – a pulse sensor that clips on to the player’s finger and connects to the Nintendo Wii controller – measures heart rate to determine levels of excitement, nervousness and even concentration.

Somewhat interesting I guess, but I can’t see this being used in many games or being supported very well even by Nintendo (beyond the first game it releases with).

Next up was Microsoft’s “Project Natal”. This is a real-time motion-capture accessory for the 360 which claims to completely eliminate the need for traditional physical controllers.

OK – this is pretty impressive – if it works. Since this was a promotional video only, just how well it works in practice is quite uncertain. Will this even appeal to a large portion of the 360 audience? It could backfire if  Xbox owners see it as a gimmick.

Last up was Sony with their yet unnamed motion controller for the PS3 that works in combination with the EyeToy.

Well, it is clear that Sony doesn’t want to be left behind by the move toward motion-sensing input devices. Sure, it is pretty obvious where the inspiration for this device came from, but at least the demo was live and Sony does seem to be the first to offer true 1:1 input (we’ll wait to see how the Wii MotionPlus by Nintendo pans out).

For being the only company to give a live demonstration of their upcoming tech, I have to give Sony the win here.

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