FutureWire - futurism and emerging technology

Friday, October 29, 2004

Baby Likes Video Games

Video games are no longer the purview of pre-teens and teens, according to an article in the New York Times. Children as young as three are embracing computer games... either playing versions designed especially for them or mastering the games of their older siblings.

The article cites research from the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation stating that half of all children between the ages of 4 to 6 have played video games, and of those, one in four plays regularly. The survey also found that 14 percent of children below age 3 have played video games.

Among the things this trend reveals are:

  • Children have an innate comfort level with technology, as evidenced by young children's mastery of games designed for teens and adults. The game players of today will become the workers of tomorrow... and for them, high-tech will be an expectation.
  • At the very least, young game players will demand increasingly complex and challenging games as they grow up.
  • Marketers are responding with computer games designed for young players.
  • Video games sales are beginning to cut into sales of other toys (a trend to watch this upcoming holiday season).
  • Games designed for youngster with unrefined motor skills are including innovative controls and interactivity. Some of these can be adapted for users with physical disabilities, and may lead to more intuitive computer interfaces for adults.