Yes, it’s that time. It’s FRIDAY and we can all look forward to 2 days of not worrying about work… except for those reading that have to work on the weekends, this weekend, or whatever weekend. It’s also one weekend closer to NEXT weekend which is Memorial Day weekend which is the unofficial start of ‘summer season’. However, this will be one of those strange Memorial Day weekends that comes a ‘week’ earlier than normal due to June 1sts falling on a Monday. So rather than it being 2 weeks until the end of the school season, it’s 3 weeks.
There was something boingboing pointed me to, and I am going to quote the same part they did. It’s from the keynote speech that Charles Stross (a science fiction author and more) at the LOGIN 2009 conference in Seattle this past week. (Click here for the speech as posted by the author himself):
So, let’s look ahead to 2030.
We can confidently predict that by then, computer games will have been around for nearly sixty years; anyone under eighty will have grown up with them. The median age of players may well be the same as the median age of the general population. And this will bring its own challenges to game designers. Sixty year olds have different needs and interests from twitchy-fingered adolescents. For one thing, their eyesight and hand-eye coordination isn’t what it used to be. For another, their socialization is better, and they’re a lot more experienced.
Oh, and they have lots more money.
If I was speccing out a business plan for a new MMO in 2025, I’d want to make it appeal to these folks — call them codgergamers. They may be initially attracted by cute intro movies, but jerky camera angles are going to hurt their aging eyes. Their hand/eye coordination isn’t what it used to be. And like sixty-somethings in the current and other cohorts they have a low tolerance for being expected to jump through arbitrary hoops for no reward. When you can feel grandfather time breathing down your neck, you tend to focus on the important stuff.
But the sixty-something gamers of 2030 are not the same as the sixty-somethings you know today. They’re you, only twenty years older. By then, you’ll have a forty year history of gaming; you won’t take kindly to being patronised, or given in-game tasks calibrated for today’s sixty-somethings. The codgergamers of 2030 will be comfortable with the narrative flow of games. They’re much more likely to be bored by trite plotting and cliched dialog than todays gamers. They’re going to need less twitchy user interfaces — ones compatible with aging reflexes and presbyopic eyes — but better plot, character, and narrative development. And they’re going to be playing on these exotic gizmos descended from the iPhone and its clones: gadgets that don’t so much provide access to the internet as smear the internet all over the meatspace world around their owners.
If this sounds like a tall order, and if you’re wondering why you might want to go for the sixty-something hardcore gamer demographic, just remember: you’re aiming to grab the share of the empty-nester recreational budget that currently goes in the direction of Winnebago and friends. Once gas regularly starts to hit ten bucks a gallon (which it did last year where I come from) they’ll be looking to do different things with their retirement — the games industry is perfectly positioned to clean up.
And then there are the younger generation. Let’s take a look at generation Z:
The folks who are turning 28 in 2030 were born in 2002. 9/11 happened before they were born. The first President of the United States they remember is Barack Obama. The space shuttle stopped flying when they were eight. Mobile phones, wifi, broadband internet, and computers with gigabytes of memory have been around forever. They have probably never seen a VHS video recorder or an LP record player (unless they hang out in museums). Oh, and they’re looking forward to seeing the first man on the moon. (It’s deja vu, all over again.)
There’s a whole lot more to what he said there. Read it at the link I gave. It’s worth the read. But the part I am focusing on at the moment is I am going to BE one of those ‘codgergamers’ he talks about. I will be 68 in 2030. And I expect I will still be gaming then as I game now, if one illness or another doesn’t cut my life short. There’s TWENTY YEARS more gaming in my future between now and then. And in the LAST twenty years a HECK of a lot of amazing things have happened. Twenty years ago we didn’t have WoW (launched in 2004 – 5 years young this coming Nov 23rd), Everquest (launchd in 1999 – turned 10 years young this past March 16th), or even Ultima Online (launched in 1997, it will be 12 years old on September 25th of this year).
In 1989 SimCity is released, the first of the ‘Sim’ games… The original Gameboy was released by Nintendo and the ill-fated Lynx was released by Atari. Console Game machines that were popular were the Nintendo NES (the Super Nintendo is 2 years away) and the Sega, with the Sega Genesis being launched in this year. In computers, the Amiga 500 was the gamers machine of choice with the IBM PC starting to gain ascendancy with the wide spread use of this thing called an ‘adlib’ sound card, but it’s 2 years before a dedicated ‘accelerated video chip’ will come out of S3.
A lot of things happen in twenty years. And while I am really, really, really looking forward to the recently announced City of Heroes Expansion: Going Rogue, I am sure it is going to be a really amazing time for us future ‘codgergamers’. And I am really looking forward to that ‘Lots more money’ Mr Stross was talking about. *chuckle*
Mhari and I are doing well, we’re looking forward to our weekend. In gamespace we started a new group of heroes Monday on Pinnacle server in City of heroes which I have called ‘Rat’s Brigade’ when I formed the supergroup upon hitting level 10 on Tuesday. We did this because two of our regular Monday players for Flying Fox’s team on Guardian could not make it. They are all in a Task Force, so playing without one of the Tanks and our plant controller/healer didn’t appeal. We’ll be playing Flying Fox’s group tonight to make up for it and playing Thrilling Adventures back in it’s normal slot next week.
Wednesday the Wolf Pack on Protector server red side had a good night, and ended a little early due to a number of us being a little over tired. Not unusual with the Wed group. We were down 2 players there, too, with Tigrise out for conflicting commitments issues, and Pack Handler out because it was his birthday and his wife took him to see Wicked and to dinner.
Last night I sort of fooled around a bit on Second Life and did mostly nothing. It felt good, but time went by awfully fast and it was bedtime before I turned around and looked.
Well, I better get to work. I want to get out the other side of it and get to the weekend! Thanks for reading! And go read Mr. Stross’ full keynote.