The Next Step in Gaming Laura Waldman Wii, the fifth game console released by Nintendo gaming system, is aimed at a broader demographic because of its easy to use wireless controller and interactive play. Wii has been a huge success since its launch in 2006. The monthly sales numbers have been higher than its competitors across the globe. According to NPD (a leading global market research company,) Wii sold more units in North America than Xbox360 and PlayStation3 combined in the first half of 2007 (Yoskowitz, 2007). With this great success there is hope that the gaming industry will throw out it?s old ways and develop systems that allow for more interactive and educational play for teens. The Nintendo gaming system ?Wii? has revolutionized the video gaming industry by making gaming an active means of entertainment, promoting family play and offering educational games. Instead of our youth spending numerous hours with their eyes glued to a television screen, why not introduce an interactive video game that involves getting on their two feet and moving around with friends and family-Nintendo corporation has accomplished this task. Arguably the most revolutionary part of the Wii gaming console is the realistic sports that make you feel like your actually at the bowling alley or the driving range. Wii Sports includes bowling, tennis, boxing, golf and baseball. All of these games involve movement and interaction. According to a study done by Gareth Stratton, (2007) Professor of Pediatric Exercise Science at John Moores University, kids who play Wii Sports burn 60 more calories per hour than while playing Xbox 360, a sedentary computer game. Given the fact that the average 8 to 12 year-old is playing 13 hours of video games per week, while the average 13 to 18 year old is playing 14 hours per week, (Metric, 2007) it is comforting to know that all this time otherwise spent playing sedentary games can now be an interactive experience through Wii. In addition, 67% of teens report playing computer or console games, such as Xbox360 or PlayStation, (Madden, 2007), which demonstrates the popularity of gaming among our youth today. The two most active and biggest calorie burners are Wii tennis and Wii boxing. In a study conducted by the British Medical Journal, a dozen girls and boys ages 13 to 15 were charted on burned calories per hour playing Wii Tennis and Wii Boxing. The results showed that while playing Wii tennis they burned 179 calories, and 174 while playing Wii boxing (Keiser, 2007). Also, one thing to keep in mind is that you can really make what you will of the effort put into the game; for some, a simple flick of the wrist is their style, for others a full on life like tennis match is what they prefer. Another great feature of Wii is that it is for everyone. On the Wii homepage under ?What is Wii?, the explanation is as follows: ?To truly understand how Wii revolutionizes gaming, you have to try it for yourself. Quite simply, Wii is for everyone. The ease of use and interactivity of the Wii Remote and Nunchuk allows for a unique social gaming experience for the whole family. You don't just play Wii, you experience it.? (Wii Website, 2007) According to Robert Putnam, (2000) author of ?Bowling Alone,? when the TV first came out it was supposed to ?foster family togetherness,? but with the increase in television sets in children?s rooms, this family bonding time diminished. Fortunately, the Wii has brought back the concept of fun for the whole family in front of the TV. For many years consumers young and old have been afraid to enter the world of home counsel gaming because of difficult controls and many buttons that are now on most all video game counsel controllers. Nintendo went with a new approach; they made gaming more interactive, easy, and fun-for all ages. According to Time Magazine writer Lev Grossman, ?There's a sharp divide between gamers and non-gamers, and the result is a market that, while large and devoted--last year video-game software and hardware brought in $27 billion--is also deeply stagnant. Its borders are sharply defined, and they're not expanding.? (Grossman, 2006) With Nintendo?s fresh idea of the Wii console, the consumer demographics widen considerably. To consolidate this ?family gaming? Wii has developed personalized characters so you can make your very own Mii character for your Wii. A Mii is a digital avatar that is customizable and allows the user to capture a likeness or HYPERLINK "http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caricature" caricature , or capture the personality of themselves and others. Up to 100 Mii?s may be created on a Wii console, and the Wii remote can hold up to 10 Mii?s on its internal memory. This is a very unique feature that further promotes playing video games with family members, not just alone locked away in a bedroom. I know from personal experience, the day my cousins got the new Wii console for Christmas my grandma couldn?t wait to play as his ?digital self.? My little cousins created a ?Gramps? character that I must say looked strikingly similar. These digital avatars promote family play, which means more time for families to spend together and bond over something as unusual as video games that we would have never thought possible previous to the Wii console. Not only does the Wii offer sports that leave your serving arm sore the next day, it also offers numerous educational games that are both fun and interesting. For example, one of Wii?s newest games ?Endless Ocean,? provides exploration through the seven seas as an educational game with simple controls. With ?Endless Ocean? you are able to be a deep-sea diver and interact with marine life, explore coral reefs, collect sunken treasure from old ships that now rest on the ocean's floor, and explore sunken battleships from important wars. This is only one of many ways to access educational information through the Wii. One example of how educational games have impacted our youth comes from parent Robert Dawson, PhD of Rehabilitation Studies at Winston-Salem State University. His son found newfound interest in online educational games through use of the Wii Opera browser. The Wii Opera browser is a new updated Opera-powered Wii Internet channel that brings Internet to your TV screen with a simple point of your Wii remote. There is a one-time payment of five dollars, but after that it accesses your same WIFI that your home computer uses. Dawson wrote to Nintendo telling them how the Wii has helped his son in math and reading. He goes on to say ?on my laptop computer he plays the game but quickly becomes bored and wishes to quit. On the Wii with the wireless remote all he has to do is point the controller to the right answer before the time runs out.? (Goldman, 2007) This is revoluntionary because now teens aren?t just turning to video games for violence simulation or perfecting their Mario Kart skills behind the wheel, they are actually excited about using the Wii for learning. Additionally, Wii can zoom and now has the ability to use any USB- ready keyboard to access all sites so anyone in the family can browse the web in the comfort of their living room. This feature is unique in that teens can take a break from their knockout punches and homeruns to relax and play some interactive educational games. It is quite easy to see how the Nintendo system Wii has revolutionized the gaming industry. With its ability to get teens and even adults off the couch and on their feet, offer educational games that are fun and easy while at the same time promoting family play, the Wii is a clear winner for all ages. References (2007). Wii Home Page. Retrieved February 20, 2008, from What is Wii? Web site: HYPERLINK "http://www.nintendo.com/wii" http://www.nintendo.com/wii Keiser, J (2007, December 24). Study says wii can't replace workout. Retrieved February 5, 2008, from Next Generation Web site: HYPERLINK "http://www.nextgen.biz/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=8473&Itemid=2" http://www.nextgen.biz/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=8473&Itemid=2 Lenhart, A, Madden, M, Rankin Macgill, A, & Smith, A (2007). Teens and Social Media. Pew Internet and American Life Project,. Yoskowitz, Andre (2007, June 16). Afterdawn. Retrieved February 5, 2008, from Wii outselling PS3 and Xbox360 combined in North America Web site: HYPERLINK "http://www.afterdawn.com/news/archive/10108.cfm" http://www.afterdawn.com/news/archive/10108.cfm (2007, April 4). Metrics 2.0 buisness and market intelligence. Retrieved February 5, 2008, from Video game addiction: 81% of american youth play; 8.5% are addicted Web site: HYPERLINK "http://www.metrics2.com/blog/2007/04/04/video_game_addiction_81_of_a" http://www.metrics2.com/blog/2007/04/04/video_game_addiction_81_of_a merican_youth_play_85.html Putnam, R (2000).Bowling Alone. 223-224. Goldman, D (2007, January 18). Opera Watch. Retrieved February 5, 2008, from Using the Wii Opera Browser for Educational Purposes Web site: HYPERLINK "http://operawatch.com/news/2007/01/using-the-wii-opera-browser-for-" http://operawatch.com/news/2007/01/using-the-wii-opera-browser-for- educational-purposes.html Grossman, L (2006, May, 8). A game for all ages. Time Magazine, Retrieved February 6, 2007, from HYPERLINK "http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1191861,00.html" http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1191861,00.html
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