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What Gamers Want: Silver Gamers
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What Gamers Want: Silver Gamers

July 10, 2008 Article Start Previous Page 3 of 3

8. Environment

Although for our family labs we hadn't needed to think too much about the playing environment, our Silver Gamers found this more important. Our lamp lit test lab (aka sitting room) turned out to be too dim for some, and we needed the main light.

We also found that our sofa was rather too soft for comfortable gaming. In fact once we had swapped in some dining room chairs, the whole process seemed to improve for some.

Now this is obviously out of the control of the game itself, but many games seemed to make assumptions about how close players were to the screen. This impacts our previous points about font size and readability.

But more specifically, in our tests the gaming setup seemed to impact the performance of the Wii-mote, which often struggled when players sat back on the sofa.

"Can you buy a more powerful remote control for it, so I could use it from back here?" enquired Linda. And we had to admit this was an interesting idea - surely Nintendo could sell a more powerful version, to ensure better results at great distances.

9. Play Over Distance

One of the more technical features appreciated by our Silver Gamers was the online play. Although it took a little while to explain what it was, and convince them that they really could play and talk to people in different places, once they got the concept they loved it. "This will great for playing with my son in Denmark - we can play Uno and chat at the same time."

The 360's built-in communicator headset was popular in this respect because it meant the gamers could guarantee that they could talk to their family (in different locales) as they played with them.

Not so popular, though, was its physical design. "Why do they have to make it so uncomfortable? I worked in a call center 10 years ago, and those headsets were better than these," commented one of our gamers.

Although the 360 headset seems a million times better than that on the original Xbox, looking at it through their eyes we can see that they have a point.

10. Game Length

The final comments from this group were about length of each game. They definitely gravitated towards shorter experiences. The most popular games were those that took just a few minutes.

Cow Racing in Wii Play seemed to deliver the ideal combination of fun and duration. "I just want to have a quick go, then see how I've done," said Derrick, one of our participants.

These shorter bursts of play also seemed to fit around the group's desire to talk about and reflect on their performance. They certainly seemed to enjoy strategizing their next go with each other.

"It's just more fun to be able to talk to each other between games," said one. Another added "The games are fun, but at the end of the day when I see my family I want to talk to them first and foremost, if we play a game it needs to fit around that - like board games do."


So there we have it. This is what our Silver Gamers wanted from games. As we found with the Family Gamers last time, it's not until you sit down and spend time with a group like this that their requirements become apparent. We were surprised how keen they were all to have a go, and at times disappointed at how badly their needs had been missed by game makers.

But the message here is that we are not a million miles away. With a great focus on player assistance with repeatable tutorials, printed manuals, better readability and smaller jargon barriers to them removed, getting these gamers involved and playing can be surprisingly easy.

Couple this with a wider range of games, and experiences that can be played by a variety of abilities and these Silver Gamers will be quick to get involved. Round these changes out with greater consideration for the playing environment, player posture and game time and we start to have a product that is a lot closer to what our Silver Gamers want.

Article Start Previous Page 3 of 3

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