Archive for the ‘Video Games’ category

Nintendo Wants to ‘Touch Generations’ with its New Line

June 25, 2006

Nintendo recently introduced Touch Generations, a sub-brand intended to reach an emerging market of older gamers.  Along with its DS Lite, Nintendo and Touch Generations want to snag an oft-ignored segment of consumers; non-gamers 40 and older.  Heavy advertising for one of its more recognized games, Brain Age, has already begun.  The ads feature more mature people, and they're exercising their brain, as opposed to merely playing a video game. 

BusinessWeek Online reports that by launching new titles and rebranding existing, older titles under the Touch Generations umbrella, Nintendo aims to reach former gamers who popularized classic arcade games of the early 80s. 

The idea behind the aggregation of games under the new brand is to lure in older nongamers by offering skill-building–or at least less violent, less fantasy-based–titles, like True Swing Golf, that might appeal to them more than, say, Grand Theft Auto or World of Warcraft. And Nintendo is also rebranding under the Touch Generations label golden oldies such as Tetris and the arcade game Puzzle Loop, now renamed Magnetica in its portable version. The company hopes the classic games will ring a bell with those who were around in the 1980s.

These consumers may have already been introduced to handheld games because they've probably purchased a Sony PSP or Nintendo DS for their kids.  Nintendo doesn't want them taking Jr.'s DS, however.  The launch of the slimmer, scaled down DS Lite should help Nintendo sell the new hardware to its target demographics.  The unit's all-white color and clean design echo that of Apple's ubiquitous iPod; something many of these would-be consumers already own.

Titles under Touch Generations include Brain Age, Big Brain Academy, and Sudoku GridmasterSudoku, one of the latest crazes sweeping the nation, is a numbers placement game played on a 9 x 9 grid.  It's addictive, and its popularity could help Touch Generations penetrate the hardcore Sudoku fan base that isn't opposed to portable gaming devices.  There are also classic titles available from Touch Generations, such as Tetris DS and Nintendogs.

Touch Generations' strategy for capturing the attention and buying power of this consumer-base includes pricing games at $20.  The DS Lite can be purchased for around $140 USD.  Games that are priced lower than Nintendo's more popular games, around $50, should be more attractive to older game players.  What will set this market apart from gamers will also be how they play the games:

"There's a dormant group of gamers out there, and it behooves us to keep enticing and exciting gamers as they age. We asked, 'How do we bring in people who have careers and families that take up their time?' " says Kaplan. The answer, she says, is games priced at $19.99 (most popular games cost around $50) that are designed to be played in small increments rather than long stretches of time—unlike hardcore or massively multiplayer online role-playing games. "They're more like a small part of life, not a major investment," Kaplan says. She adds that these games could appeal to younger gamers, too, and that the new brand isn't meant to be clubby, despite its demographic focus.

Nintendo, by spinning off Touch Generations, has demonstrated it is serious about developing a new generation of gamers–an older generation.  These gamers may not spend all night blasting virtual enemies and chatting with guild members halfway around the world, but they may find themselves gaming while they commute, take their car in for an oil change or wait for their kids to finish their martial arts lessons.