Monday, April 10, 2006

Headlines Misleading, Claim Headlines


I'm not altogether certain
what to make of the survey cited over on Gamasutra. The bold claim is that teenagers are losing interest in gaming. Shock. Gasp.

But actually reading the body of the article, I smell a rat. And that rat's name is poor reading comprehension.

Look closely at this statement: "Interestingly, almost 80 percent of teens indicated that they intend to spend less time playing video games in 2006 and nearly 70 percent indicated that their interest in playing video games is decreasing."

Now, to put this in perspective, suppose I were given a survey about my goals for the year. I might say, "I'm gonna cut back on playing videogames, exercise more and eat healthier meals." And suppose a majority of the surveyed picked those same goals as their responses.

Would this make an accurate headline: 26-year-olds are spending less time on videogames, eating proper diets and increasing their physical activity.

If I were to take a follow-up survey a year later, the odds that I actually did any of my goals seems very slim. Sure, I wanted to do all those things. But then I sat in front of the computer . . . and the soda was right there . . . and so were the corn dogs . . . well, you understand.

So.

Teenagers say they're losing interest in videogames. Of course that kind of statement, especially concerning such a medium where fickleness is legend, depends largely on timing.

We're at the tail end of the cycle for the last generation of consoles, so actual releases have slowed. A lot of companies have switched development onto the new systems. The Xbox 360 doesn't yet have an established library. Publishers are largely waiting for E3 before unveiling their wares for the upcoming year(s).

At best, these surveys provide a slice of the prevalent mood toward videogames more than anything concrete.

At worst, they can cause little ripples of panic through the industry, which usually lead to shlocky, overhyped garbage to try and draw the kiddies back -- No, teenagers, don't stop gaming! How about an Xtreme Chuck Norris Text Messaging Sex Bracelets game? Isn't that what you kids are into?

But I know it's so much more forceful to use a headline that makes some dire assertion or other. Anyway, I'm really hoping to blog a lot more this year.

Blogger Posting More Often, Says Blogger.

2 comments:

Troy Goodfellow said...

Yeah, I noticed the same thing in the article. I know that whenever I talk to my students about gaming (which is a lot...), they often say that they know that should spend less time on Kingdom Hearts or Runescape or whatever it is that they are playing. But, being teenagers, follow-through isn't always there.

profexorGeek said...

In other news everybody is getting more rich, beautiful and intellegent......