A nation of children break up for school holidays next week. And they are breaking away from games, too.
Disney and THQ warn that retailers and publishers won’t attract the next generation of gamers. Kids are switching off from consoles in favour of mobile, online and social games.
“For younger demographics, both the pricing and poor economy has had a major impact in delaying the adoption of next-gen platforms to a more mass market audience,” Matt Carroll, UK country director at Disney Interactive, told MCV as part of an investigation into the kids’ games market.
“Kinect and Move are welcome innovations, but they do not replace lower prices to drive penetration. The danger for the ‘traditional games industry’ is that younger consumers turn to new formats, above all mobile, as they feel these next-gen consoles remain out of reach.”
THQ says it now sees social and mobile games – not consoles – as key to reaching younger gamers.
“Facebook and iPhone is going to play a key part of our strategy moving forward. We want to use these new gameplay patterns to reach a broader market,” said Martin Good, EVP of the publisher’s Kids, Family and Casual Games division. “Kids are gravitating towards these platforms.”
Good said the once-trusted movie tie-in can no longer be trusted, either: “The days of ‘go see the movie, now go buy the game’ is limited. We are seeing people falling away from that category.”
The man behind the UK’s biggest online kids games property, Moshi Monsters, said that publishers need to switch their mindset to engage with this new generation of gamers.
“Games companies have decades of very valuable skills in creating characters and stories, they just need to switch their mindsets from a product-based mentality to one that is more service based,” said Mind Candy CEO Michael Acton Smith. “Almost all kids have access to a PC at home or school but buying consoles and games is a much harder thing for them to do.”