Tuesday, 10 May 2011 14:56

A family that plays together is a normal family: Microsoft

By
A survey commissioned by Microsoft reveals how families seem to be altering their leisure plans to spend more time gaming together.

Since its launch in November last year, the Kinect motion controller for the Microsoft Xbox 360 has been a great sales success.

Bundled with Kinect Adventures, and featuring some good family orientated software such as the similar Dance Central and Michael Jackson: The Experience, Kinect is certainly skews game play towards a wider demographic than the traditional Xbox 360 software line-up.

But, apart from a game such as Child of Eden, there is not a large number of titles on the Kinect horizon.  Microsoft however, wishes to show (possibly aiming to influence software developers more than anything) that systems such as Kinect are bringing a change to household leisure time.

A survey commissioned by Microsoft has revealed Australian families are changing the way they spend time together by swapping the age old board game for interactive gaming devices.

The commissioned survey targeted 1250 parents of 5-19 year olds to see if there are changing leisure time trends

The research revealed that of those surveyed, an overwhelming 92 per cent of Australian households own gaming consoles and have an average of two per household. The research also showed Australians engage in entertainment activities together an average of two times per week and play video games together around once a week, with 66 per cent expressing their desire to do more activities together with their family. 

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Marketing Director, Xbox, Australia and New Zealand, Kimberley Francis, is not surprised by the results.

'The survey found that parents and children find time to play video games together about once a weekly, so we can see that Australian families have adapted the activities they undertake as a family unit to reflect the ever-changing technological landscape,' explains Ms Francis.

The research also found that three out of four Mothers surveyed felt active, full body gaming, such as Kinect, was an appealing activity to share quality family time together.

"The fact that Kinect has something for everyone is testament to its appeal among families and its success as the world's fastest selling consumer electronics device, as it was officially named in March by the Guinness Book of World Records," continues Ms Francis.

'Gaming, generally, is growing more popular among families and the research we have shows that Mums, in particular, have greater influence over their family's participation in these modern day activities.

'With Kinect, for instance, Mums can enjoy the benefits of full body fitness at home with games like Your Shape: Fitness Evolved and there are no controllers to learn, so this kind of technology really has broken down barriers and included parents in a world once reserved for their children,' says Ms Francis. 

Obviously Fathers are perhaps still inclined to have a more traditional view of the video-game industry, or valued their time solo with the gaming consoles.

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The research found that:
* 56 per cent of mothers surveyed felt that the benefit of playing video games together as a family was because it is something good to do together;
* 48 per cent felt it was good for brain and eye coordination;
* 23 per cent felt it kept their children off the streets and out of trouble;
* 21 per cent felt it would take their children away from watching television;
* Australian families play video games together about once a week;
* Three out of four mothers surveyed found full body gaming like Kinect an appealing activity to share with their family.

Echoing the sentiments of parents surveyed, Ms Francis said the results are testament to the need for interactive entertainment devices to address the modern Australian family's needs.  

'The survey results show that Australian mothers are supporting and driving the new wave in family entertainment, with almost half of all family time spent together participating in entertainment activities incorporated playing video games with their children.

'It is clearly a sign of the times that new technology which is easy to use can bridge generation gaps and enable parents to participate in more activities with their children,' concludes Ms Francis.


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Mike Bantick

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Having failed to grow up Bantick continues to pursue his childish passions for creative writing, interactive entertainment and showing-off through adulthood. In 1994 Bantick began doing radio at Melbourne’s 102.7 3RRRFM, in 1997 transferring to become a core member of the technology show Byte Into It. In 2003 he wrote briefly for the The Age newspaper’s Green Guide, providing video game reviews. In 2004 Bantick wrote the news section of PC GameZone magazine. Since 2006 Bantick has provided gaming and tech lifestyle stories for iTWire.com, including interviews and opinion in the RadioactivIT section.

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