Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Tween Girls Growing Target for Game Makers

By Gerard Campbell; Source: Stuff.co.nz

The recent E3 gaming convention wasn't just about hardcore games. It was also about appealing to casual gamers and tweens, a valuable market for video-game makers.

Teens and casual gamers - those players who don't play games regularly - are proving big money for video-game publishers, and it's something that's not lost on the major players in the industry.

Publishing giant EA showcased a line-up of games aimed at tweens at its press conference, front and foremost being Charm Girls Club, a collection of games in complete contrast to the other testosterone- fuelled titles offered by the company such as Army of Two: 40th Day, Dante's Inferno and Star Wars: The Old Republic.

Charm Girls Club will come in versions that feature American proms, pyjama parties and malls, and one of the mini-games featured is speed hair teasing, sure to appeal to the tween in your house who has a love affair with hairspray, hair straighteners and a hair brush.

Sony, too, is trying to appeal to the young girl demographic, by announcing a lilac-coloured PlayStation Portable to go with Disney Interactive's game Hannah Montana: Rock Out The Show (this announcement seemed to get a huge amount of applause, but I'm sure it was just gamers taking the micky), and Nintendo, too, is targeting the tween, with its Nintendo DS game, Style Savvy, where girls can create their own fashion boutique and garments.

It also announced WiiFit Plus, the follow-up to WiiFit, where fitness buffs can personalise their routine and customise exercises. "It's Brain Age (another Nintendo game) for your backside," said Cammie Dunnaway, Nintendo USA's executive of sales and marketing.

Music games were also big at this year's E3, with the latest versions of Rockband featuring The Beatles and Lego characters, and Activision showing off a game called DJ Hero, where you get to be the DJ spinning the discs at the party.

At Microsoft's press conference, Beatles Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr appeared on stage pimping Rockband: The Beatles, which features their virtual likenesses and 45 of their songs. You'll also be able to buy game controllers modelled on their instruments and be able to download more songs in future.

Starr seemed to say he loved the game and it looked great, while McCartney commented "who would have thought we would have ended up as androids".


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