Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Best CES moment

I haven't had time to write up notes about CES yet (next day or two) but thought I'd share this gem with you all. Definitely best moment of the show for me.

I spent 4 days there demo'ing Windows Vista. Mostly, I was supposed to be showing the new graphics user interface and it's various bells and whistles, and a bunch of the stuff we've done for improving gaming on the PC (Games Explorer, game-related metadata files, parental controls, Xbox360 controller for Windows, and the new inbox games - updated versions of Solitaire, Minesweeper, etc, plus a few new ones).

About 90% of the time though, people just came up and said "show me Vista" and I'd walk them through a ton of other stuff (desktop gui navigation, desktop search, new features in IE, navigation of folders, etc, etc).

10% of the time, they'd have game- or graphics-specific questions. Now and again, they'd say "oh, that version of Solitaire looks fancy" or something.

Then on day 3, I had these two little old ladies come up to my station. They looked really out of place at CES. I swear I kid you not when I say that one had a shawl of some sort and the both had the 'neck chain' hanging off their glasses and around their necks.

"Can I answer any questions for you?"

"We want to see the new Freecell!" was the reply in stereo.

So I walk them through a demo, and they ask a bunch of feature questions (can I change the background color?, can I save my game?, etc)

I tell them when it's coming out, and ask whether they want to see anything else.

"Nope, I'm gonna buy it to upgrade my computer. That looks really nice."

Pay attention, casual game devs. That's a target customer right there.

To think that people are debating whether the casual games market is elastic enough to support $29 ASPs. According to my sampling (albeit not exactly scientific, I pitched maybe 400 people at CES) shows that 0.25% of the population is willing to pay several hundred dollars for a casual game.



Billy Zelsnack said...

maybe there is a freecell equivalent to word wars.

Ruchit Garg said...

Indeed a motivating incident...

JimC said...

I wonder if anyone from ATI or NVidia will try to sell those ladies one of their SLI video cards for the *ultimate* freecell experience...

John Stark said...

Sorry Kim, but my elasticity for games, period, is about $29.95, and a downloadable, causual, game would never convert me... an online casual game (say backgammon or chess) with a subscription to play after a trial with the online service, maybe... if I knew people that I could play with. I guess I am not much of a gamer.

Why don't you define your market for us (me), and tell us to what end is the market to be used (by Microsoft, presumably).