What does Atari have to do with theatergoing?

I’m 38 years old.

I was a kid when the arcade was introduced. And I was a pre-teen when home video game consoles like Atari, ColecoVision, Intellivision, and more were rolled out to the world.

And the video game generation was born.

I grew up on them.  I don’t really remember life without them.  To say they had an effect on people my age and younger would be like saying social networking has had an effect on hooking up old hook-ups . . . a serious understatement.

I’m 38 years old.

That puts me about 7-10 years away from entering the prime theatergoing age, according to recent demographics.

The video game generation is about to become the theatergoing generation.

And if we still think we can create the same material, and market our material in the same way, we’re going to be seeing the ‘game over’ sign faster than the cars cross the road in level 5 of Frogger.

Oh, and in case you think that video games are just for kiddies . . . and boy kiddies at that . . . read the Entertainment Software Associations report that details the demographics for video game users.  Want some Super Contra-like bullet points?

  • Average game player is 37 years old
  • 29% of playahs are over the age of 50
  • 42% of gamers are female
  • “Women age 18 or older represent a significantly greater protion of the game-playing population (37%) than boys age 17 or younger (13%)

What does this mean?

It means that to reach this audience, and get them to put down their joysticks, we’ll need to provide them with live entertainment that provides thrills similar to gaming.  In another decade, our audiences will want more interactivity in their theater.  They’ll want challenges and contests in their marketing.  They’ll interact with entertainment in an entirely different way than the generation before.

Video games are a form of entertainment.  And that form of entertainment is a game-changer.

 

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