The Right Game

It's Christmas Eve and as I reflect back on all the cool games that came out from Christmas this year how important one single thing is:

Making the right game for the market.

I love Ratchet and Clank 3: Up Your Arsenal. I think it's a perfect game. The levels are great, the weapons are awesome, the pacing is great, the character control is great, the cut scenes are funny, and it's only $40.00 besides.

I'm enjoying playing Halo 2 as well - it's a lot fun but the execution is no where near as good as Ratchet and Clank - the graphics pop, the cut scenes slow down (a lot) and this in spite of being on twice as powerful a machine.

Nonetheless, Halo 2 is going to sell in the high millions while Ratchet and Clank will sell well but not as well as Halo 2.

Which just goes to show - more importantly than execution is making the right game for the market - and Halo 2 fits the Xbox demographic perfectly.

And it also goes to show that even a perfectly executed game aimed at kids instead of older teens just can't compete.

As the realism of the next generation becomes apparent, kid-oriented or family games will have an even tougher time in the market.

One reason is that you can find kid and/or family games for free on the Internet. Who needs a $150.00 console to play those?

Another reason is that kids don't have discretionary money - older teens and young adults do. And they aren't going to buy Ratchet and Clank 3 in the same numbers as Halo 2.

Parents who buy games for their kids only do so once or twice a year - at Christmas or a birthday, whereas older teens and young adults buy games all year around.

So, it's tough times for kid games and family game in the console market.

To be sure, a couple of games a year break through, for instance a Sponge Bob game.

But in general, even licensed family games are a tough sell today and it's only going to get harder.

© 2004 Stephen Clarke-Willson - All Rights Reserved.