In today's Gamasutra feature, we quiz top analysts
from Wedbush Morgan, Screen Digest, and IDC whether or not Sony and Microsoft should concern themselves with following Nintendo's lead and likewise pursuing a wider demographic, or if it is still enough to appeal solely to the hardcore.
The questions posed for the analysts was:
Is it now becoming crucial for Microsoft to appeal to a wider demographic, in order to ensure the long-term survival of the Xbox 360?
Does Sony need to take a similar approach with the PS3?
Can either the 360 or PS3 stick to selling to the hardcore gamer first, and then pull in a wider audience once it has reached a critical mass in sales? This happened for the PS2, but can this strategy still work today?
IDC's Billy Pidgeon, for one, says a move toward a broader audience is a good one, and necessary to continue to grow the interactive entertainment medium as whole:
"The core audience is still important and always will be. But I'd be very surprised if the next consoles from Microsoft and Sony are as targeted at the core gamer as the Xbox 360 and PS3 were. Some worry that focusing on the mass market will result in fewer hardcore games. I don't believe that will be the case, but fewer mediocre games, hardcore or not, would be a good thing. Interactive entertainment should be accessible by the mainstream, not just by those with higher gaming skill.
For the industry to maintain a healthy growth rate with sufficient installed bases of consoles and handhelds, marketers can no longer ignore demographics outside the core. I think that's good news for the industry. Girls, boys, men and women of all ages play games. It's time for the industry to show them how to play video games together."
You can now read the full Gamasutra feature
on the topic, including the analysts' take on Microsoft and Sony's respective positions on the growing gamer market (no registration required, please feel free to link to this feature from external websites).