I just found an interesting article on the market around game consoles here in Germany. According to a study done by BitKom the number of sold consoles increased over the years extremely. Starting with 2.3 Mio in 2004 (2.5 Mio in 2005 and 2.9 Mio in 2006) it is estimated (based on the first half of the year) that in 2007 about 3.7 Mio consoles will be sold. Despite good growth in the past (9 and 16%) this is an increase of 28%. The revenue is also estimated to nearly double within one year (now 705 Mio Euros). See grafix
So for sure game consoles are big business. Despite certain parts of the society not part of the game (for example elderly people) and an ongoing discussion here in Germany on violence in games. Most people disregard the fact that those violent games are not the largest chunk within the different genres. But as usual public discussions are often more driven by perception than by facts.
I don't get why elderly people are not focussed. Regarding the typical attributes of this audience:
- Plenty of time they want to fill with senseful actions
- Often disabilities regarding wlaking, seeing, hearing
- Need for social networks and communications but fear of overwhelming technology stack
- Need for software that adopts their experience and point of view. I think this audience is extremely biased on localized experience.
- They are a wealthy audience
If you take all this and try to relate this to consoles you see that there are a lot of matching points. As a wealthy audience with plenty of time it seems reasonable to win them as customers as soon as somebody is able to show them benefit. How should this benefit look like? Well, read that list again...
On the other hand I was asked just today about the demos we did years ago around managed DirectX. Yes, there is a successor technology called XNA which by the way makes use of some new capabilities. What is really remarkable is that XNA opens the way towards the XBox 360 console.
XNA as a first step to bring PC and console experience together should not be underestimated. Still the PC is - as least as I learned at a Game related conference of the Münchner Kreis here in Munich - the gaming platform number one. XNA is bridging this gap. And it is certainly a good starting point to get into touch of this area.