Friday, May 20, 2011

Console gamer sociology 101

Indeed, I did purchase a Playstation 3 because I decided that I still wanted 'that' toy after all these years / decades, and that I am in a position in life that I could actually afford to do so, but why did I go for the the PS3 rather than its competing game systems? Afterall, there isn't that much difference between them as pieces of furniture or pieces of technology. At least, not to this dinosaur's eye.

It is of course, the games. Or, in this case, a particular game. But before I get into all that I'll digress onto that subject of market segmentation. If there was once a single amphorous class of 'gamer', which later bled into the subcategories of 'video gamer' and 'others', then these categories have themselves hived off into subcategories ever since.

A layperson's view of it distinguishes 'chess men' from 'checkers men', 'cards' from 'dice' from 'dominoes' from 'boardgames'. To the educated, the last bifurcates into 'parlour games' and 'heavy games', and then one breaks it down into subject matter and mechanism of game. Usually. But I am digressing in my digression...

In the case of video games, 'Pong' has morphed into a vast multiverse of sumptuous graphic adventures in gaming. And because they're all branded, and there's a limited number of brands (the economics of the industry presently dictates this), they've differentiated between themselves. Thus, one gaming platform seems aimed at the non-gamer, ironically, and probably uses the word 'family' a lot in the fine print. Another has gone for the 'cute' kind of non violent simulation. And then there's playstation, with a whole universe of gore, adrenalin and simulating challenges to explore. Sony has gone for the 'serious gamer' in consolespeak.

But I gotta say, most of Sony's games are of the same sort that I don't play on my PC, so the fate of my loungeroom didn't entirely depend on the category of 'gamer' I best fell into, but upon the spec's of a particular game.

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