Message received, ignored?


Former Dreamcast executive Peter Moore gave a great talk at Ziff-Davis Electronic Gaming Summit, advising the game industry on what they must do to expand their audience. As documented by Gamerscore, Moore’s speech, “The Elite 8: Eight Ways to Confront Elitism and Open Doors for Our Industry” contains numerous bullet points of irrefutable wisdom: The industry should create and market games that have appeal “Beyond the boys in their bedrooms”, he argued, and stop acting like “We’re too cool for school” by creating hardcore games that appeal to themselves. (Most developers in the game industry are young men and hardcore gamers.) Instead, Moore said, games should appeal to a wider audience, including families.

It’s all great advice, but there’s an even greater irony here: Peter Moore is now the Microsoft VP in charge of the Xbox division, Gamerscore is a blog published by Microsoft Games and Xbox employees– and right now, Microsoft seems to be devoting the lion’s share of their promotion and marketing budget on an upcoming Xbox 360 game called… “Gears of War“, a third-person tactical action/horror game in which you play Marcus Fennix, fighting “the immense Locust Horde, which not only out-powers but outnumbers you, your squad, and the entire force of the Coalition of Ordered Governments.”

So you know, non-hardcore fun for the whole family. But even if Microsoft is ignoring their own advice, it’s worth reading, because the publishers which do follow it are bound to profit. (Via Kotaku.)


John Porcaro

Interesting post, and comments. True, we expect big things from Gears of War. But we’re putting some muscle behind Viva Pinata too. Great thing about Peter is that he speaks pretty sincerely–the advice is to our industry, and it includes ourselves.

We have to start somewhere, but it’d be crazy to throw out successful franchises like Halo or the upcoming Gears of War, and put all our efforts into new markets. However, nobody’s ignoring those new markets either.

John Porcaro


Viva Pinata is a very interesting game. It’s definitely a “kids” game, although that translates to “family” – just as most family films these days are really children’s films.

I think that, as the realism of hardcore games like “Gears of War” gets pushed further and further, we’ll see the genres of gaming distinguish themselves better. Children’s and family games will appear “animated” and in some cases “cartoony.” On the other end of the spectrum, we’ll see Gears of War, Halo 3, Crysis – basically all military shooters, as pushing the envelope of gritty realism.

Kinda makes you wonder what the middle ground is going to look like.

Eric B

My wife loves Xbox Live Arcade on the 360 but hates pretty much any other game out there. The problem with Xbox Live is that the cost of entry, $400 for a new 360, is too high.

I think what Moore was looking at for the more casual gamer is point #8:
“Treat Windows Like A Gaming Platform. Windows as a platform reaches more people than any console ever will.”

Console gamers are traditionally more hardcore gamers than anywhere else. The 360 attempts to address this, but in reality the only system that will really do so is the Nintendo Wii. My wife wants one more than I do, I think. Playing Super Mario Brothers and all the other classic NES/SNES games sold her on it.

You’re right about Gears of War though. It’s going to be a huge game, but it’s definitely aimed at the hardcore gamer. Most people are looking for it to bridge the gap between this fall and whenever Halo 3 is released.


I don’t know. I think that XBox Live Arcade represents a real attempt to reach outside the “boys in their bedroom” demographic. It’s not really fair to compare Nintendo to Microsoft here. A few months ago, I mentioned to my wife that I wanted a Nintendo DS. She went out and picked one up for me. A DS can be had for $120.00. An XBox 360 will set you back 400 bones. Not exactly within impulse purchase range.

I think that it’s wise to promote Gears of War, because Microsoft will have nothing to say to non-hardcore gamers until the console is actually sitting in the home. Once it’s there, XBox Live Arcade makes it relatively cheap and easy to get “mainstream audience friendly” games into their hands.

My wife never looked twice at any of my games on my old XBox until I downloaded Bookworm from XBox Live Arcade. All of a sudden my wife is sitting next to me yelling out words and asking me how many buttons the game requires her to use. :-)

Larry Myers

Nintendo has understood that message for a long time. Xbox and PS2 may make cool games and all, but have you ever seen people of all ages having a blast playing Halo or Final Fantasy together? Not really. But Mario Kart, or Mario Party, or Donkey Konga? Yeah, not a graphical revolution there, but rediculously fun in large groups.

Heck, even Brain Age on the DS is addicting and fun.

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