Reflection On The Process

My initial reaction to being assigned a blogging project over the course of the semester was not great. I always viewed blogging as a waste of time because it is just one person putting their opinion into the void of the internet. If i were a more respected member of the marketing scene and had some serious background in the area then it would not be waste of time. Having a reputation in the marketing community would make blogging carry more weight.

It was fun to put words to a topic that i really enjoy though. It really helped the flow of my writing to write about something i really enjoy (obviously) and would wish that there would be more writing out there about my topic.

What worked was the data collection on the demographics of the gaming community. The pastime of gaming is already plugged into the internet inherently so the amount of data on the gaming community was rather large and daunting at times.chromebox-keyboard

In the beginning i started to write these blogs as an essay format which didn’t work at all. I felt that my writing process was way too structured and it did not feel like i was writing from the heart. After i started free writing the topic started to flow much better than the original essay format.

The largest and only challenge of this topic was finding supporting data about the future of the gaming community. A lot of my writings were about the future of the gaming demographic and so finding data to support future events was rather difficult. Not many people were writing about elderly gamers because our older demographic of the present is not interested in gaming whatsoever. In turn most of my writing was trying to predict the future of the industry for people like me who will get old eventually and still have the same pastime.

downloadThe rewards of this writing project was me finding out that the demographic of gamers was not what i was expecting. I was expecting that most of the demographic were to be younger Americans under the age of eighteen. I was pleasantly surprised when i saw that the majority of gamers were my age or older. That made me feel pretty good because i always questioned my pastime as being childish and not for adults but in reality people like me are the largest consumer base.

The best way to improve my blog is to find more credible information on the internet. because of the lack of information regarding my topic, it was rather difficult to find the information to back my product line and my opinion of where the market was headed. I would find better sources and take more time to find the best pairing of legitimate hard data sources of information. Better sources equals better results.

If my future employer requested that i build and maintain a blog for the company i would be completely OK with that. At the end of the project all the words flowed rather easily and i was already confident in my writing abilities. It was just the small details about blogging online which i lacked the experience. Writing essays well does not mean that you can blog well, that is the lesson i learned. You have to write to entertain and in the same breath back it up with credible sources which is a balance that is rather difficult to maintain but not impossible.office-desk-furniture

Writing has always been fun for me and this project has reinforced that narrative and I hope that i could have the opportunity to write as part of my career.

Picture sources:

Keyboard: http://www.omgchrome.com/chromebox-keyboards-quietly-go-on-sale/

Office desk: http://www.3steps.com.au/create-a-cozy-spot-to-get-work-done-with-the-right-office-desk/

Blog cubes: http://www.asktheblogger.com/

Blogging: https://www.cbcelements.com/blogs-blogging-help-for-business-digital-marketing-often/

 

The Play

download

Outlining the strategy

The first step in the building of this company is putting in the time and the energy to figure out which games, or combinations of games do well with each other. you have to have the right combination of titles to best balance the brain game sector and the play sector of the platform. It seems like any company which tries to nail down this demographic and/or brand fails because of lack of research and development. To get around this I would make sure that my selections for IT partners are not just another company and actually are prepared to go the extra mile with me in order to secure a reliable brand. Choosing the staff which will be along side of you and your company is crucial to the progression of the brand.

render of a crowdfunding concept

After distinguishing who would be the right candidate to work with my brand i would then press them to find the best combination of games to define our platform. I would press this company to put the correct amount of effort to find which games would best benefit the consumer and which were the cheapest to get off the ground. This would improve our bottom line immensely if achieved.

The second strategy is to further build on our server and network strength. This might involve looking for a ton of investment from outside sources because taking out loans to achieve this would be very risky. If our company does not get the capitol to invest in the 21_raising-capitalbuilding of this brand then we are dead in the water. This, like all games and game platform would take a lot of convincing because most games don’t produce revenue for five to ten years out. Although the video game industry is one of extreme profit, the investment before hand can be rather large. I would not only turn to investment firms but also personal contacts in the business world to further my funding and thus further our progress.

Once we have acquired the funding then the rest will fall into order quite quickly. Hopefully after a couple years of research an development we can produce a quality platform which can be accessible to everyone young and old.

Source images:

money pic: http://www.forbes.com/forbes/welcome/?toURL=http://www.forbes.com/sites/ilyapozin/2012/06/21/building-a-business-without-outside-capital/&refURL=https://www.google.com/&referrer=https://www.google.com/

coin pic:

https://www.dougsguides.com/ingredients

R and D pic:

https://www.illinoisworknet.com/ilpathways/OtherResources/Pages/Branding.aspx

Conveying The Brand Story

A brand story is basically the mission statement that all companies have to have in order to base their movements on. Mission statements are becoming ever more crucial to the information era because it not only depicts the goal of your company but it shows that a company has a purpose larger than just monetary gains.jitterbug

I have yet to formulate a name for the gaming system that will have a large following but i want the brand story to emulate the brand story that the popular phone company Jitterbug. This company took a long hard look at their consumer base and realized two crucial things. One, that their marketing segment wanted a device that not only keeps them connected to the world of mobile phones and is simplistic enough for easy access even to the most inexperienced person. And two, that they couple with cheap and simple cell phone plans that are geared to a very financially fragile consumer group.

I want to accomplish the same goals but in the spectrum of video and brain games. This product needs to be easily accessible to every older person in the market segment and is simplistic enough concerning its operating system to keep people engaged without overload. This balance will be easier to accomplish as more and more elderly Americans elderlypopgrowthget integrated in the technological world that surrounds them. Older Americans, in my opinion, will continue to be some of the most undeserved community out there because it is very hard to peg their fluency with technology. And this population is only going to get larger as the medical industry continues to get better at extending lifetimes. This graph projects the growth of the elderly population in the United States alone.

 

This is where our mission statement will take hold. If we make it clear to the older segments of the economy at product launch that our mission is to be out there to benefit them exclusively, then the product can not fail. But to do that we need to make it clear that the simplicity of the product is our product focus. Also coupled with the previously mentioned we need a reliable customer service centered to cater to the older segments of our population which means training them to see things through the elderly’s eyes.customer-support

The largest hurtle that a product centered company will encounter is the technical infrastructure which the gaming platform will need in order for it to function. This means building a network of servers to maintain a system’s integrity. This will be the most costly aspect of this product but the good news is that the cost of supplying these machines is consistently becoming cheaper every year. Also the types of games which this system will support will be very simple which will greatly increase the effective of these servers. The customer support system will be relatively easy to setup but seeing as though more call centers are moving overseas I would want to employ American representatives. This would be more costly but i see the benefit of talking to someone from our home country would be very beneficial to the older segments of Americans. It would feel like talking to someone they know instead of trying to decipher some foreigners broken English.

service

Sources:

Featured image source: http://hub.n2growth.com/vision-vs-mission/

customer service photo: http://www.snagajob.com/resources/5-must-have-customer-service-skills/

representative picture: http://blog.capterra.com/do-i-need-help-desk-software-or-customer-service-software/

Jitterbug photo: http://www.ubergizmo.com/2006/09/jitterbug-cellphone-has-just-3-buttons/

Challenges

The Generation  Gap

There are always challenges inherent in every business out there and just like any other enterprise we need to keep these in mind when investing. The largest challenge this market faces is the growing acceptance of technology ingrained in everyday life. Seniors and other older Americans are slowly being caught up in the technology sector but as of right now many still struggle with even the basic email process. This, with time, will pass over and more older Americans will be get more fluent in the basic functions of electronic interfaces.

Another part of this generation gap that is worth talking about is the fact that usually the elderly like to take part in simpler games. My grandmother for example only plays card games with her neighbors and friends and is her primary way in which she gets her social images-1time in. I think much of the older population could benefit from, not only the brain games, but they could really use a set of classic games to play like spades and gin rummy. All sorts of board style games are a great basis for face to face interaction. If all retirement homes had setups which could connect to each other that would make getting social time in much easier to accomplish especially for the immobile. An elderly focused game system would be easy to create and easy to maintain which the elderly population of the future might take into consideration. Just as the Jitterbug mobilized the elderly under a simple cell phone there would be room for a product that is has the same effect but for socializing over games.

 

More Market Research To Be Done

Another main concern is that the future is still to be had and I can ponder and make projections all i want but knowing how fluent with elderly people will be concerning technology is still unknown. There is no doubt that our generations will be one of the most technologically entwined populations there has been.

figure_1

www.aoa.acl.gov

It will be an eventuality that more older people are going to have some experience with a phone or computer with internet accessibility. The elderly are the most undeserved populations and niches are creating themselves every decade. More services are going to have to be provided to serve the public and the need for easily accessible entertainment will be one of those areas where there will be large demand and in turn a large market.

 

The Current State

Here and now

While we can hypothesis about the future of gaming all we want the future is going to be where most of the benefits will be laid. The brain game industry is in its infancy at this point and is pretty much only geared toward youngsters and middle aged people to enhance their learning or brain training. A smaller segment of brain games are used in prescribed cases concerning brain injuries and progressing Alzheimer.

“The well-established benefits of early life education on reducing later risk for dementia has also given much credence to the theory that building a greater cognitive reserve capacity can help the brain compensate for injury—analagous to the concept that more cell phone towers equals fewer dropped calls” (Scientific American).

Brain games are prescribed to some older Americans to fight the progression of Alzheimer’s disease but wider acceptance is still out of range currently. The reality behind this is that most older Americans have not grown up with hardly any electronic devices so their fluency with such is also limited. As i said before is that the generations need to catch up concerning their use of technology before this market can be targeted with the most efficiency.

Industry Challenges

One of the main challenges that this sort of brand faces is the growing acceptance of technology in everyday life. I consider it an eventuality that more people are going to be integrated in the digital world but no one seems to know how quickly. Another challenge is finding the right kinds of games to properly stimulate the construction of brain connections and streamlining the science behind the games.

Recent studies of “brain training” found it to be useful but didn’t get the results that they hypothesized. The popular brain game franchise named Luminosity recently came under fire because their advertised results could not be backed by scientific literature. Stanford University Center on Longevity and the Berlin Max Planck Institute for Human Development, who did the study, warned that Luminosity, like other brands, projected claims that were exaggerated to put it lightly.

People who have had brain injuries and people suffering from Alzheimer’s disease still retain the benefit from brain games. Keep on the lookout for brain games in a retirement home near you.

http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/brain-training-doesn-t-make-you-smarter/

http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/brain-games-do-they-really/

The Niche

Opportunity awaits

In my last post I brought up the fact that the gaming community average age was thirty one and there were more players over the age of thirty five than under the age of eighteen (Venturebeat.com). As time goes on the gaming community is getting older and older with the average age of a gamer shifting accordingly.

In the near future i hypothesize that the average age of a gamer is going to move more toward the national average age of an american which is around 37, or 36.8 to be exact (Wiki). Seeing as though the gaming population is getting older, that is going to create a larger demand for video games geared to older Americans. This demographic is already under served as of right now in the market place of games and will continue to grow larger until the rest of the culture’s average age catches up.

This is where there is much opportunity to be had, the united states census projects that the population of america will grow from 314 million Americans in 2012 to 400 million by 2050 (Census). With this population growth comes growth within the market place for video games geared toward the elderly population. If a company were to unveil a brand which gears themselves toward brain games and the elderly, we could see a huge profit and also an impact on the elderly’s ability to maintain brain health. Win win right?

The importance of brain health is going to be an ever growing topic of discussion as humans in general keep aging. We are seeing unappreciated rises in memory loss and Alzheimer’s disease affecting our elderly population.  The one line which i was always told when i was a child was, “if you don’t use it, you lose it”. That line applies to both the physical realm of fitness and the mental side of fitness especially for the retired, sixty-five years and older bracket of Americans. “By 2030, more than 20 percent of U.S. residents are expected to be aged 65 and over compared with 13 percent in 2010 and 9.8 percent in 1970” (US Census). Not only will this demographic be larger in size but they will be living longer as well. “In the United States, life expectancy at age 65 was 15.2 years in 1972 and rose to 19.1 years in 2010-a net gain of 3.9 years”(US Census).

These increases in turn means that there will be a steady rise in the population of elderly Americans who reside in retirement homes. The older a person gets, the importance of being active grows more and more relative to the health of the person. The problem with this is that many older Americans can’t move around functionally to maintain their physical health. But that doesn’t mean that they can’t strengthen their brain health through the medium of video games. Perhaps marketing strictly to these retirement homes would be a viable option for selling brain games to the elderly. The retirement home could provide that service as part of their base offerings as to the entertainment of their residents. They could even go as far as to build a local network of game players for simple games like spades and checkers to improve their sociability even if they are restricted to their bed.

Sources:

Venturebeat: Gaming advocacy group

Gaming advocacy group: The average gamer is 31, and most play on a console

Wikipedia

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demography_of_the_United_States

Census

https://www.census.gov/prod/2014pubs/p25-1140.pdf

 

A little deeper

A little history

Video games as a concept is still a relatively new industry here in the United States of America seeing as though pong was only discovered forty four years ago in November this year (2016). Believe it or not there were prior machines which resembled a primitive video game digital screen and all. It is really classified as an interactive electronic game and was called a cathode-ray tube amusement device which used a cathode ray tube screen to simulate an artillery shell arcing at targets placed on the screen. It was a primitive target shooting device. The golden age of video games kicked off with the previously mentioned game, Pong, back in 1972 (Wiki). The reason this is considered the renaissance of video games is the fact that it was invented in the form of a console, a device that could plug into any television of the time. This primitive console was the start of a new consumer group and culture which would end up becoming  the huge market we know today employing millions of people.

Here and Now

Besides being a large market in the electronic entertainment industry, video games have embedded themselves into our culture for the past four decades. Talk to anyone on the street and ask them who pac man is, virtually everyone could pick him out of a lineup of characters. Just like everything in our lives, video games have their place in our reality, but most consider the gaming world as a subculture. Most of us use video games and console games to pass the time with something a little more engaging, but a growing number of users actually build a network of like minded gamers like a social web. Things have definitely have been evolving with the ever more prevalent use of multiplayer connectivity in the recent decade. The wide availability of internet technology in this country is the reason to which anybody can connect and gain friendships which can last for years. I have many friends online which I have been playing games with for over a decade. Humans have a innate ability and need to connect and socialize with other humans, video games are just the medium in which we do so.images-3

 

Demographics

The demographics for this consumer group varies widely and doesn’t seem to follow a particular patter in anyway. I have gamed with people ranging from fifty five all the way down to eight years old on a single game title. This did not surprise me because the average age of a person who games on a console is thirty one according to a 2014 statistical report. “In fact, more gamers are over the age of 36 than between the ages of 18 to 35 or under the age of 18”,(Venturebeat). Also what started as a mostly male dominated culture has seen a large shift to a gender balance with women coming in at forty eight percent of the gaming community (Venturebeat). This shift has brought all sorts of benefits to the community bringing new ideas to the industry as well as a new marking demographic. The reason for this is new shift of the perception of what a gamer is vs what the public opinion used to be. The old view of gamer was that they were nerds, dorks and geeks now has turned into a completely ambiguous one, no long was there a stereotypical gamer. Anyone and everyone can be part of this culture which makes users a statistician’s dream containing many components bringing more creative ideas to the table.

Potential

There is a lot of potential in this user base and the technology is just going to be getting cheaper to do so. Since Gaming is a buying culture on its own, there can be a slew of accessories, apparel and even film options available for purchase. There are just so many niches that could be created with this balanced market. Although projects that are video game oriented can be typically costly in their nature, its benefits could be huge. As the gamer population continues to get older we may see a greater need for a new market. Ill go into more detail about that as this project progresses. Thanks for reading.images-2

Sources:

Wikipedia

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Early_history_of_video_games

Venturebeat: Gaming advocacy group

Gaming advocacy group: The average gamer is 31, and most play on a console