Friday, April 02, 2004

a gaming, laptops, and demographics rant

Here’s an article in the NYT about gaming laptops, via Gizmodo. Mine used to be a gaming laptop in 2002, now it’s a gigantic PDA without a touch screen.

Note the degrading first paragraph of the story (as if the writer isn't one of the majority of Americans who play video games). If it had been you would you be described as “just like the other pale young gamers,” and is a “black T-shirt and blue jeans” really the “all-but-required uniform" for game playing? I also take issue with the writer’s contention that laptops were not, until recently, able to play the most up to date games. I will testify to the fact that even two years ago Dell sold a laptop with a serious graphic card in it – I know ‘cause I’m working on it right now. This puppy still crunches numbers harder than any cheap laptops out today – but it cost a pretty penny at the time I aquired it (thanks dad).

Laptops are perfectly fine for gaming, have no doubt (unless you're competing or something). They may not be the best of the best, or as upgradeable as huge towers, but they work well. The real problem is – don't even fool yourself into thinking you're getting a truly portable machine. My beast weighs in at around 10 pounds, and I’m sure all the new gaming laptops are the same. Forget about lugging it to class to take notes on.

One surprising stat from the article - only 9% of computers sold last year were laptops, I'd have guessed much higher.

Check out these demographic stats from the ESA:
"Player Demographics: Sixty-two percent of computer game players are male, while 34 percent are under 18 years old, 26 percent are 18 to 35, and 40 percent are over 36. Seventy-two percent of console game players are male, while 45 percent are under 18, 36 percent are 18 to 35, and 19 percent are over 36." From this article, , (thank the ESA, the gaming industry lobby/legal team, for protecting your rights to play, btw). Some other surveys here, and here. Also, from CNN: "last year, the video game industry took in more money than movies, $10.3 billion to $9.5 billion." Here's a story from "Beliefnet" concerning how videogame playing twists children's souls, those damn satanic games are ruining our moral values. According to them 79% of children play games on a regular basis...sounds high but ok. On the other hand, according to Gamespy, "an overwhelming number of parents - 96 percent - say they are paying attention to the content of the computer and video games their children play, and two-thirds of parents say that games are a positive addition to their children's lives." Cool. They also state that 39% of Americans own a gaming console.


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