Play time for grown ups

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Companies creating Console games and computer games are releasing games targeted for mature and adult audiences. The most common theme being a first-person- shooting game in a military backdrop.

Coming to a video game console near you, an onslaught of new military-theme shooting games – and they’re not all for children as game publishers target a more mature audience. The popularity of shooting games has been proven by Activision Blizzard’s “Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2,” which has raked in more than $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 multi-player 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.
With Sony seeing strong hardware sales in 2009, “MAG” is one of the game maker’s key exclusive offerings for 2010 with its sights 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 the recent years with popular titles such as “Call of Duty” and “Halo” Older men and even women gamers have latched on to the genre. A big part of the growing popularity of shooting games can be attributed to online multi-player functionalities.
That plays right into the core gameplay of “MAG,” which uses Sony’s PlayStation Network to offer free online gaming for this teen-rated game.
What’s amazing about “MAG” is that everything that’s happening, all the explosions around you and the air strikes that come in, are the result of real people playing in this game world.
Electronic Arts has a pair of modern military shooter sequels with “Army of Two: The 40th Day” and “Battlefield: Bad Company 2.” The company is also re-launching its World War II “Medal of Honour” franchise in the current-day Afghanistan and aiming it at a mature audience.
Parents and those buying games for kids should realize that video games are no longer toys for children. The average age of a person playing video games is 35 and many games released target adults, just as films such as Inglorious Bastards and The Hurt Locker are meant for adults.
It’s only a matter of time before the mainstream media accepts that video games are no longer made just for kids. People are used to the concept of an A-rated movie with violence, language and sexuality because the film industry has been around a lot longer than videogames. The video game medium has evolved and matured to where games like “Modern Warfare 2” and “Halo” are made primarily for mature audiences.
While sales of video games have quadrupled from 1995 to 2008, the arrest rate for juvenile murders fell 71.9 percent and the arrest rate for all juvenile violent crimes declined 49.3 percent in that period.
It seems fair for parents to argue that their kids shouldn’t play those games, but it also seems fair to argue that those games have not caused our society to become more violent.

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