New generation of gaming - Metro US

New generation of gaming

It was 9 p.m. last Sunday night; my girlfriend just returned home from an exhaustive hour of lacrosse.

With a quick glance and forced smile, I acknowledge her arrival and then fix my eyes back on Sonic And The Secret Rings, a game on my new Wii — a game system I stood in line 30 minutes to buy on a recent rainy Saturday morning at a Toys R Us in Calgary with my eight-year-old son … two years after the first Wii system was launched in Canada.

“Let’s play (Mario and Sonic At The) Olympics,” she said. “I want to get better at it.”

A nirvana sought since I was a pre-pubescent boy had now arrived — I had found a mate to share in my joy of video games.

The next question was: Why Wii and not the two Xboxes we have in the house?

Simple, according to Matt Ryan, spokesperson for Nintendo Canada — they’ve catered to “mom.”

“(Nintendo) knows that mom makes a lot of decisions on what the family does for fun, what the family does to keep themselves together, and to play together,” said Ryan.

“Nintendo needs to market its products to women in order to tap into that Chief Household Officer.”

Funny thing is, my partner only rubber-stamped the Wii purchase once I proved the entire family could actively participate.

It’s also why 34-year-old Calgary mom of two, Natalie Young, picked up a Wii last Christmas, and why she’s bounced between sold-out stores to find Nintendo’s recently released and elusive Wii Fit.

“I wanted the Wii Fit for myself because in my busy schedule with two kids it’s hard to get out and exercise. With the Wii-Fit I could do it at home and even get the kids involved, too.”

Physical activity is one of the catalysts for Wii’s recent domination of the gaming market. In Canada last year, the Nintendo Wii and portable DS system have outsold all other gaming platforms combined.

“Women seemed to really embrace the idea of having a video-game experience that was not only fun, but was also involved in physical activity,” Ryan said, noting that the violent, sedentary and anti-social have been the stigma attached to video gaming that Nintendo wanted to dispel.

The goal was to make gaming inviting to everyone from five to 95 and create a larger video-gaming market with women a large part of that new market — and they’ve done it.

The fact my partner and I have played our new Wii every night since its purchase (and a plan to get a Wii Fit when budget allows), is evidence enough for me.

Like I said … nirvana.

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