How The Video Game Industry Deals with the Digital Divide

University Of Toronto Game Design And Development Club
President – Francesco P.C

How The Video Game Industry Deals with the Digital Divide

For my Computers and Society course (CSC300H1) we were instructed to create a blog about the digital divide. The entire class was put into service learning groups and went out to help the community and learn about the digital divide.

All this was not supposed to be about the video game Industry, but due to some horrible schedule conflicts and some weird situations. I was unable to go to the orientation for my service learning partner, which led to me being removed from the group. By the time I was able to get a new group, it was the last few weeks of school and it was extremely difficult for me to organize a meeting time. Luckily the UTGDDC has been looking to start a blog and this is just the kick we need.

The video game industry is always trying to adapt and bring in a bigger audience. In order to do this they had to create new technology and different games. The video game industry has been adapting and trying to expand to its audience since its creation, but I will be focusing on things that are going on in today’s industry.

First off, let’s talk about one of the big game changers, Nintendo. Their console, the Wii, brought motion control to homes across the world. Now, with simple movement of the stick-like controller, anyone can play. This also brought in games like Wii Sports and the creation of “casual” gaming. While “hardcore” gamers were still able to use their beloved controllers, games were now being advertised to families and people of all ages. Many people who were not considered “gamers” where now buying games, whether it was for families or more mature people who wanted to get some exercise.

Of course, the other two consoles had to play some catch up once they realized there was a market for this. Sony released the Move. The Move was Sony’s way of competing with the Wii, it uses a similar movement techniques and remote as the Wii.  Microsoft released the Kinect. The Kinect got rid of the controller altogether. Its motto is “you are the controller”. If you can move, you can play. When I came downstairs to my basement to play some Dragon Age, I caught my parents playing Kinect Sports. It suddenly hit me: video games are not ours anymore. My parents who have been quoted saying they would never play video games are now arguing over who is the best table tennis player on the Kinect. It is truly a strange sight for me. My grandparents could not play the Wii because of their arthritis but with the Kinect they no longer had to hold a controller, allowing them to beat me in Kinect bowling.

Hardware is not the only thing that is changing in order to increase the the video game market. Different types of video games are being released, like Wii Fit. Games are no longer being made for specific groups, but are extending their reach to other markets. Wii Fit is a fitness game made for the Wii that allows the player to use a balance bored in order to judge how well they are performing fitness moves.

This hardware also has many other applications, that are being explored outside of video games  and how it can help people with the use of computers and other devices. These devices are fairly new and how much they effect the digital divide is still unknown. but it is in my opinion that they will help out with more then just video games but the digital divide as a whole.