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Silver Threads Among the Millions of Colors

Ramblings by Michael Dortch
Copyright March 1997 by Michael Dortch. All Rights Reserved Everywhere Forever.

What kinds of computing games and online fun will you and your friends and family be playing in your 50s, 60s or 70s?

No, this is not a purely rhetorical question, nor am I just being cute here. But look at the numbers. The population's aging, older people are being active and alert longer, and a lot of older people are spending increasing amounts of time online. And some percentage of them are even responsible, indirectly anyway, for generating gaming revenues (as they have grandchildren, nieces, nephews and other young and eager recipients or familial loot).

And a lot of you -- us! -- are gonna get to be senior citizens, too, some sooner rather than later. But do you really expect you and all of your peers to simply give up gaming and online entertainment because you're older? Really?? You gonna give up e-mail and videoconferencing with your kids and grandkids too? Portfolio management?

I don't think so. What I think instead is that the nature of games and online entertainment will expand to include more "senior-friendly" features, just as they have and are to attract more women and girls, and people of more diverse backgrounds generally.

For the past six years, cellular phones have come to be purchased by more consumers than business users, as sales to the latter reduced costs and complexity sufficiently to attract the former. Who's to say a parallel evolution can't or won't happen with electronic entertainment? Aren't computers, the Internet and the Web already linking kids and old people, within and across families, in ways not seen before?

What does all this mean? Heck if I know. But it sure seems interesting, and I haven't read or heard anything else about this any place else -- yet. Maybe this will turn out to be useful strategic advice to Ambrosia and its partners, who will turn out to be leaders in the senior electronic gaming and entertainment markets. In which case, you heard it here first!

Ed Note -- Michael Dortch, Director of Special Projects for CMP Media's NetGuide Magazine (http://www.netguidemag.com), believes that this column in no way is influenced by his imminently forthcoming 41st birthday. You may debate this with him via e-mail to medortch@aol.com.

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