At the video game industry's largest event of the year, many of the A-list heroes were no-shows: Halo's Master Chief. Legend of Zelda's Zelda. Grand Theft Auto IV's Niko Bellic. Instead of relying on franchises sure to draw cheers from the crowd of predominantly young male gamers who attended the E3 Media & Business Summit in Los Angeles last week, publishers focused on games their grandmothers could play.
The industry has built its $40-billion empire on customers who think nothing of camping out overnight to buy a next-generation console or the latest installment of Halo. But that audience is getting tapped out -- the percentage of households that own a current-generation console has not changed much from the previous generation. To inject the sales growth that investors now expect, companies are turning to a broader audience: people who have either never played or whose last game was Pong.