Tuesday, February 5, 2008

men vs. women video game addiction

Reference this article at ars technica.

My first reaction to this article was that they haven't seen my family of girls on webkinz. However, upon further reflection, I don't think that my family is actually addicted to the games themselves. More specifically, the reward that is discussed in the article is pretty much a type of instant gratification for the males. I can definitely relate to the "joy" received when solving a problem or accomplishing a task in a game.

The reason webkinz succeeds isn't because of the games themselves but the rewards experienced later on. The games get you virtual rewards which you can then spend to "decorate" and feed/care for your virtual animal. There is also the whole "social aspect" of sending these virtual rewards as gifts to each other. The reward to the female consumer is not related directly to the game, but touches their core nurturing psyche.

A local entrepreneur is having a slow start to launching his fad. We just got ours yesterday. My wife looks at it and says "What's the point?" In chatting with one of the developers on the team yesterday, I told him he needed casual games on the site. However, I'm not sure that's correct anymore. My daughter wanted one of these bottles because I was sorta/kinda/remotely involved in the project way back when it was starting and she heard me talking about it. "Must be cool because it's new and shiny!" Well, the bottle itself is cool looking but not as cuddly as a webkin. The founder is aiming toward an older demographic than what you would think of as the webkin demo. However, the shiny bauble seems to appeal to the female side. I'm sure there is some way of touching the female reward center through the web site that they haven't quite figured out yet. Decorating the "bottle" with media is ok. However, as my wife said...."What's the point?" The founder hinted in his blog that there is more to come. Will it be enough to sell it? Will it appeal to the female psyche? Is it going to be more targeted at males? I don't know.

No comments: