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Video-Game Industry Tries To Broaden Its Appeal

A tough little blob must splash color over a town wallowing in gray. Bug-eyed rabbits do a dance routine. And then there's the "perfect equine farm" of wild horses for little girls to tame and train.

These video games don't sound like anything that would grab a teenage boy's attention, and that's the point. They are part of an important expansion of the video game industry as it works to pull in women, girls and other demographics and cement its place as mainstream entertainment.

A year ago at the E3 Media and Business Summit here in Los Angeles, Nintendo Co. declared that anyone can be a gamer, and that the company would break down the divide between hardcore players and those just beginning to dabble in interactive entertainment. While the divide still exists, games for people who don't fit into the stalwart category of 18-to-34-year-old men are a fast-growing segment of the $18 billion U.S. video game market.

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