New arsenal of shooter videogames target older players

Thu Jan 21, 2010 6:14am EST
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By John Gaudiosi

RALEIGH, North Carolina (Reuters Life!) - Coming to a video game console near you, an onslaught of new military-themed shooter games -- and they're not all for children as game publishers target a more mature audience.

The popularity of shooter games has been proven by Activision Blizzard's "Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2" which has raked in over $1 billion worldwide and counting.

Sony Computer Entertainment America is the latest game publisher to target this genre with "MAG," or Massive Action Game, and throws 256 players - the largest multiplayer experience for a video game - into a global oil crisis.

Gamers can chose to work for one of three competing private military companies and battle alongside and against other player-controlled avatars in real-world locations.

"I think what we have done differently ... is that we've created real cause and effect within the many different objectives and sub-objectives that have to be done to win the war, just like a real battlefield," said Brian Soderberg, president and co-founder of Zipper Interactive, "MAG" developer.

With Sony seeing strong hardware sales in 2009, "MAG" is one of the game maker's key exclusive offerings for 2010 with it's sights are set squarely at the lifeblood of the game industry.

"The core audience of shooter games remains 13 to 34 year old males, who make up more than 60 percent of the total audience, but the genre has broadened its appeal in recent years with popular titles such as "Call of Duty" and "Halo,"" said Michael Cai, vice president of video game research at Interpret.

"Older males and even female gamers have latched on to the genre. A big part of the growing popularity of shooter games can be attributed to online multiplayer functionalities."   Continued...

<p>Visitors play the Sony video game MAG for PlayStation 3 during the Electronic Entertainment Expo or E3 in Los Angeles in this June 2, 2009 file photo. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni</p>