I just finished playing my niece, Samantha in Links 2004 on the Xbox. We had a couple of games and I have to say that if there is anything that makes my Xbox Live subscription valuable to me – it’s the fact that I can come home after a hard day at the office and log on to Xbox Live and have a game with my niece or brother (or both).
This is a feature that I don’t think most non-gamers think of when they hear Xbox. But the real-time communication (excellent quality too) while having some good old fashioned fun is truly priceless. It’s not so much about the game and competition (unless it’s my bro) as it is about the experience. It’s hearing her say the funniest things after she misses a shot. Or hearing her little brother calling out “WAH-BOX” in the background because he wants to play too. (A fan since the ripe ol’ age of 18 months)
Which leads me to my next question? How come there aren’t more games and controllers created for really young kids. The learning type games that you see all the time for PCs – the ones that teach them numbers, letters, colours and play music. It can’t be because noone would buy them. Just look at all the movies / videos that parents buy their toddlers. Besides the perceived value of a console would have to be higher if it was considered a tool / toy for everyone in the family (not just the teenager). I don’t know – I might be missing something here.
I realize that the game development industry is a tough and expensive one. Every day I am reading stories about games getting cancelled several stages into development. But there should be some incentive to widen the demographic a little. Besides when it comes to these learning type games – we aren’t really looking for super slick graphics and crazy effects.