Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Wii Like to Party!!!



Cute story by Beth Snyder Bulik in today's Advertising Age about the surge in "video-game parties" since the introduction of the Nintendo Wii, and group-friendly games like Guitar Hero. The practice of inviting people over to play some Wii has become so common that Evite began making Wii Party e-vites in March, and is now partnering up with Nintendo to feature actual Wii Miis (avatars), characters and brand imagery (as seen above). As Bulik writes:
The Wii party popularity is part of a growing phenomenon that's overhauling the video-gaming industry. That is, video gaming is beginning to transcend the solitary boy-in-the-basement stereotype with a new generation of gamers including women, older people and younger children who want to play in a more social atmosphere.

Nintendo is getting really creative about how it integrates itself into social and community events. For example, as Bulik describes:
Nintendo already is striking up partnerships such as the Evite one. Beth Llewelyn, senior director-corporate communications at Nintendo, said the company has partnered with Norwegian Cruise Lines to put Wii and Wii parties onboard cruises, as well as the Erickson Retirement Communities to place Wiis in those group homes. They're also in discussions with local libraries about how to use Wiis for community-building.

[...]

Nintendo is trying to cast the net even wider by giving consumers in certain influencer groups -- mother/daughter, couples and active 50-plus leaders -- Wiis for them to hold parties for family and friends.

It's all contributing to a booming video-game industry. NPD Group reported overall hardware sales are up 34% with consoles alone up 69% during the first half of 2007 vs. the same time period during 2006. NPD also said the industry is on track to ring up $16 billion to $18 billion in sales this year. The rise of this social gaming is definitely visible in the numbers. Of the top-10-selling video-game items in June, seven were Wii software or accessories. "Guitar Hero 2" for PS2 and Wii ranked Nos. 6 and 7 respectively, selling almost 400,000 guitars (and software) at average prices of $80 to $90, according to NPD.

The author predicts that the phenomenon will probably continue to spread as more people manage to get their hands on a Wii, and as new fun games like Boogie, and SingStar for the PS3 (and Rock Band???) are released. That said, I have yet to receive one of these Wii-vites and encourage my own friends and family to jump on this bandwagon post haste.

No comments: