While some say this is due to Nintendo's marketing strategy, in my opinion, I think it is because Nintendo developed a system that is non-geek and family-friendly. When I first heard of the Wii, they were in short supply. I spent quite a bit of time stalking out the local GameStop stores to buy one. I wasn't the only female doing the same thing.
Think about it. The Wii was introduced just at the time when prices of large flat-panel TVs were coming down, making them more affordable to families. Although Dad might have hankered for a large-screen TV to watch sports, any Mom in her right mind would want to multi-purpose such an expense. If you have to have a huge TV messing up your family room decor, it makes sense to use it for multiple purposes, like playing the Wii.
Not long after the Wii made it home, it eventually sprouted legs and was adopted by my young adult daughters. Now the only way I get to play the Wii is if I make the trip uptown, a 30 minute drive. And if everyone is playing Rock Band, I have to wait my turn to play the drums.
I need to buy another Wii! I think it will carry me through old age:
It will help me keep my girlish figure (this is NOT a picture of me, by the way)
Seriously, the Wii is turning out to be handy for folks, young and old, with health problems:
Pulse Sensing: Wii Vitality Sensor
Here is a video showing how the Wii is used at Madonna Rehabilitation Hospital's brain injury program:
Since more therapists and nurses are female, it stands to reason that a game console such as the Wii, which is very user-friendly, would be top on the list for use in health and rehabilitation settings.
The Wii is the focus of research with the elderly:
An exploratory study on senior citizen's perceptions of the Nintendo Wii: the case of Singapore International Convention on Rehabilitation Engineering and Assistive Technology, 2009
Here is a video of what seems to be an HCI student testing out the Wii with her grandparents:
Nintendo might have some competition once Microsoft's Project Natal comes to market. Natal doesn't require any sort of device to interact with the games. For more information about the latest in games for health and "exergames", take a look at the following blogs:
- Exergame Lab
- Exergame Fitness
- Exergaming Australia
- Exergaming Evangelist
- Health Gamers
- TEN = ExerGame Network
- Humana's Games for Health Website
Conference: Games for Health 2010
Nintendo Boasts 9 Million Player Advantage Among Female Console Gamers
Video Games in Play
"And despite the stereotypes about teenage males, gamers are not monolithic. In fact, 45% of active gamers are female and women account for half (49%) of all Wii owners and 52% of Sony Playstation Portable (PSP) owners."
Seniors Bowled Over by Wii
Wii-habilitation could prevent elderly from falls
(Thanks to Josh B. for pointing out the how the stats could be a problem. I still can't find the original research!"