266: We Are Not Mainstream

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We Are Not Mainstream

Many people have claimed that videogaming has become as mainstream as movies. Ronald Meeus provides a reality check; we are not as mainstream as we like to think.

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An interesting breakdown of the figures, but I just want to point out one thing: given how many people say they went to see Avatar multiple times, the idea that 343 million people saw it in theatres is kind of skewed. I know, maybe not by much, and obviously it still reached more people than Modern Warfare 2, but look at it this way:

I bought one copy of Modern Warfare 2. So far, five individuals have played that particular copy of the game. I have finished it twice myself and so has my wife. This isn't even factoring in the hundreds of hours we've spent in the multiplayer.

So that one game is equivalent to seven ticket sales. I'm sure I don't represent an average at all, but it's just something I feel is worth being pointed out. Sure, a game costs nearly ten times a movie ticket (actually based on movie tickets being around $17 in Australia compared to $110 for a new release game, it's more like 6.5:1) but you forget that once you take that game home you don't need to pay to play it a second time. And your buddies get to play for free, as long as you can stand having their freeloading asses on your couch.

I'd also argue that at any party I'm going to, EVERYONE is going to be able to hold a conversation about GTA4, and no one talks about Avatar. :P

Looking at the watering down effect thats plaguing mainstream gaming....ya its mainstream just because its been dumbed down to such a level, that matters more than if its really selling to or making a impact to the mainstream media going public or not.

ZippyDSMlee:
Looking at the watering down effect thats plaguing mainstream gaming....ya its mainstream just because its been dumbed down to such a level, that matters more than if its really selling to or making a impact to the mainstream media going public or not.

I'm not totally sure what you are saying, you may want to reword that. If you mean that modern video games are being dumbed down, I totally disagree. You hear that all the time but I can't see what it's based on. MW2 has a better plot than DOOM, which would be the equivalent for its time, and if you go any further back you get Tetris and Pacman. I don't get it, what is the basis for that argument? CoD's a dumb game, yeah, but in general we are getting a hell of a lot more complexity than we ever have before.
OT: That was a good article man, I always thought the MW2 vs Avatar stats seemed dodgy. Thanks.

Well, I suppose it depends on what you define mainstream as. Even if 343 million people saw Avatar there are almost 7 billion people living on the planet. That's about 5% of the worldwide population seeing that film.

So what we're really talking about is first world mainstream. Which is rather exclusive since the vast majority of people don't live in first world countries.

I'm not really trying to be a stickler here, I know full well my gaming does not represent the population as a whole, but I would say that there aren't really any hobbies that are mainstream based on what I am reading your definition of what mainstream is. Even if you take something like the Superbowl, purportedly the most watched thing on television, just over 100 million Americans watched it. That's less than a third of our own population, yet that's considered mainstream.

I think games are still mainstream if you define mainstream more broadly as things that members of a culture are aware of and understand even if they don't personally engage in the activity.

My test of what mainstream is:

If I walk up to a random group of people on the street, and say, "I'm going to do X this weekend." If a majority of those people responded with, "X? What the hell is that?" Then I would say that X is something from the subculture.

So if I said I was going Swamp Racing this weekend, now that, that wouldn't be mainstream.

ZippyDSMlee:
Looking at the watering down effect thats plaguing mainstream gaming....ya its mainstream just because its been dumbed down to such a level, that matters more than if its really selling to or making a impact to the mainstream media going public or not.

The only sense in which modern games are "dumbed down" is that they are much easier to complete in a reasonable amount of time. This has no real relation to quality - is Hemingway a "dumbed down" version of Faulkner just because his writing is easier to read? Of course not.

meganmeave:
Well, I suppose it depends on what you define mainstream as. Even if 343 million people saw Avatar there are almost 7 billion people living on the planet. That's about 5% of the worldwide population seeing that film.
[..]

This post. "Mainstream" to me isn't just numbers, it's who's heard of it/know about it. GTA would be a "mainstream" game to me, as mentioning it to my non-gaming friends doesn't result in "..?". Then there's mainstream WoW jokes... and the good WoW jokes.
There is definitely a localised "mainstream" - as in the post I agree with - there's the Superbowl which is pretty much unheard of in the UK, but might be massively known in the US.
I don't consider gaming as a hobby as mainstream, but there are games that have "mainstream" awareness.

if there were tracks, this article would be completely off the tracks. There is shitload of data completely ignored. How do you compare sales of movies which last usually no less than 2 hrs to games who are almost guaranteed to be minimum 6? Next oftenly misinterpreted thing is non-console gaming in europe(yes it is the default way for AAA gaming here), where running gta IV is complicated so not one guy in my class(30 people) had the machine to run it. try talking about GTA SA to gamers, EVERYBODY played it. At elast you got to the point of games not being closely as mainstream as movies. Also this fact is largely misinterpreted by game developers.

True, games are not as mainstream as movies. That is due to the fact that it is very difficult for older generations to get "into" games. And yes, most gamers tend to be male and either still in highschool or studying, and single to boot, which gives them more free time than people with full time jobs and families. So games might never be fully mainstream.

But it is heading that way, and heading that way fast. You say the movie industry, combined with DVD sales, makes 10 Billion dollars more than the video game industry. Considering how much the movie industry makes, and how long it has been around and how entrenched in modern culture it is, I'd say that the videogames industry can feel pretty damn proud of itself, especially since most of it's growth has been relatively recent.

And again, you have to take into account which nations you are talking about. In japan and korea, gaming is definitely mainstream. In Korea, they broadcast Starcraft matches on TV, hold huge tournaments worth a lot of money, and even the South Korean Airforce has a star-craft playing team. In Japan, they have a weekly pokemon show! A Show about a SPECIFIC videogame, not just about video games in general! Do you know how insane that is!? And movies have a much larger global audience than games. Citizens in poorer nations often can't afford consoles, but can watch bootlegged movies. So to compare the two industries side-by-side is not giving an accurate picture.

My supervisor for my lab project played videogames. Let me say that again - a holder of a Doctorate in Molecular Biology walked into the student office one day and elaborated at length on playing his PS3. Yes, that happened. He was the best damn lab project supervisor ever. The Ph.D students in his lab played videogames. Pretty much almost every male under 30 that I have met plays videogames (and no, I do not run with video-game playing crowds. I run with no crowds at all, since I am socially crippled).

I think you are having a bit of a negative reaction to the increasing mainstream appeal of videogames. You almost want it to be a niche club. Sorry, but that's how your article comes across. Sure old people don't understand videogames. They never will. But you know what? Old people DIE! OF OLD AGE! IT HAPPENS! And once that generation dies, the only generations left will be the video-game players.

The idea that gaming could get even more mainstream (read: worse) just makes me want to cry. I can't even imagine what the video game equivalent of the other guys would look like. I don't even want to.

And besides, what "is" mainstream? Does it mean that a majority of people take part in it? If that's the case, almost nothing is mainstream, including almost every sport out there. If you mean "accepted by society" then games are pretty much at that point already. Of course, you're going to get your Glenn Beck's and your West-boro Baptist nuts complaining about the "evils" of videogames and their "satanic influence" leading "america's youth astray", but those guys complain about everything.

I play video-games. I lead a normal life. I have never encountered any trouble with playing my video-games, I have never encountered even a hint of social stigma about it. Virtually every student in my school played videogames - even the girls (although the school I went to gave laptops to all the students).

Compare video-games to a lot of things - like toboggan racing or dog competitions or wine tasting - and you'll realize that games are probably more mainstream than all those other activities. You say video-games aren't mainstream because they haven't conquered the movie-industry. But that's not the gold standard. There IS no gold standard. I go by my observations of society and I see video-games everywhere. Almost every single major shopping area in my home city (which is in Brisbane, Australia - nice city to live in, but damn boring to visit) sells videogames. I see ads for videogames on Buses, on TV, on the Radio and during the previews for films in the cinema. I hear people, mostly school kids, talk about videogames on the bus constantly. I see people go out with DSs and PSPs. Everytime I go to an EB store here, it is PACKED full of people (GAME, which opened recently, eh, not doing so hot by the way).

Games are socially acceptable now. I mean, as long as you play them reasonable and aren't some obsessed fan playing WoW till 3am every single day. But excess has NEVER been socially acceptable - gun-nuts are considered fringe in most places above the mason-dixon line or outside the US. Movie-obsessives are just as ridiculed as video-game obsessives. Obsessing over anything isn't healthy and will be detrimental.

But as long as you play video-games in your spare time, eat right, get some sunlight (although not too much), and manage to be able to talk to a woman without staring at her chest, you'll have no problems, and you'll encounter a bus-load of people who share your hobby. If games were really so "niche" why is it so easy to find people to play against on line?

You want non-mainstream? Candle-making is non-mainstream. Bee-keeping is non-mainstream. Kazoo enthusiasts are non-mainstream. Bob-sledding is non-mainstream. Go players (the Japanese board game) are non-mainstream.

But video-games? More mainstream than most activities. And that's a fact. Not as big as movies? Who cares? Big is big.

The problem with number-crunching here is that there will always be some sort of data that was missed or some amount of data that could skew the results in there favor.

Just a few possible questions;

Where handhelds accounted to this?
Was the fact that movies must be paid again to view it a second time compared to paying a one-time fee for a video came?
Was the fact that movies are generally ~2 hours compared to games 6-15 hour (being generous here) time frame in play?
Are sales of entire franchises (CoD, BC, Harvest Moon to get in some "casual" games on the list) accounted for?
What about entire hardware franchises (Nintendo Handhelds, Playstation brand, Xbox brand, etc...)

These are some questions that can easily skew results.

I remember seeing a video just recently (I think it was the Extra Credits thing, but I doubt it) that said that over 60% of households in developing nations have video games or play video games or the like. Whether that percentage takes account of whether the games played are "casual" games or "hardcore" games I don't know, though I personally don't think it matters.

Overall, however, I do agree that video games are not quite as mainstream as other mediums, but I don't think it's nearly as cutthroat as you had put it.

And to answer your last question "why should we care?", apox on thee! If we don't care then video games are just going to stagnat with the cycle of the niche games. Game is developed by nerd. Nerd likes the game. Nerd them goes to make games. Nerd makes games like the original nerd did. And the cycle continues. We can't be secluded in just one part of culture, we have to spread or we'll forever be labeled as the "social shut ins"

But overall I'm really just rambling without any direction here, the poster above me said it much more clearly than I.

On a side not here, but has anyone else noticed that "core" metal genres are derided by many other metal fans, but the opposite occurs in gaming. Especially weird with how many gamers like metal...

Anyway, on a less crazy note, a very interesting article. I love reading about something's budget compared to revenue, and there was a fair amount of that. It also brought up some interesting points, but I think it's look only at the financial was slightly limited.

Korolev:
Snip

I like you. You make sense. Bravo, good sir, bravo.

Robyrt:

ZippyDSMlee:
Looking at the watering down effect thats plaguing mainstream gaming....ya its mainstream just because its been dumbed down to such a level, that matters more than if its really selling to or making a impact to the mainstream media going public or not.

The only sense in which modern games are "dumbed down" is that they are much easier to complete in a reasonable amount of time. This has no real relation to quality - is Hemingway a "dumbed down" version of Faulkner just because his writing is easier to read? Of course not.

You know you are comparing Faulkner to mass marketed watered down media?

Since when is "Mainstream" another word for financially successful? I always thought it was a description of the cultural reception of a thing. This article just says that games don't make as much money as movies and uses that as evidence against games being almost completely woven into our everyday lives. It ignores the fact that nearly every household which has a TV on which to watch a movie, also has a PC or console in it on which to play games. Games are made out of films and books, in fact they are increasingly certain of being found as part of a blockbuster movie's marketing strategy.

The fact of the matter is that money has nothing to do with 'mainstream' and everything to do with how many of the public enjoy/have interaction with a particular phenomenon. Gaming has been mainstream for years (probably since the PS1) irrespective of the amount of money spent on it. This article is effectively a pretty long way of saying there's a lot of money in movies. Big deal.

starrman:
Since when is "Mainstream" another word for financially successful? I always thought it was a description of the cultural reception of a thing. This article just says that games don't make as much money as movies and uses that as evidence against games being almost completely woven into our everyday lives. It ignores the fact that nearly every household which has a TV on which to watch a movie, also has a PC or console in it on which to play games. Games are made out of films and books, in fact they are increasingly certain of being found as part of a blockbuster movie's marketing strategy.

The fact of the matter is that money has nothing to do with 'mainstream' and everything to do with how many of the public enjoy/have interaction with a particular phenomenon. Gaming has been mainstream for years (probably since the PS1) irrespective of the amount of money spent on it. This article is effectively a pretty long way of saying there's a lot of money in movies. Big deal.

Becoming so casual or mainstream tends to make something more marketable, it also changes the meaning of word definitions over time as things become more known for the new meaning than the old.

I see all these numbers comparing video games to movies as if movies were the "official" yardstick of "mainstream". If we wanted to continue to use movies in this capacity, let's remember that movies have been around for probably more then a century, whereas video games have only been around for, what? 30 years? In that time they've managed to get damn near close to this standard of mainstream, so I'd say that's not to shabby.

However, I'd rather that the measurement of mainstream be between video games now as opposed to video games then...pick a time period in the past. tharglet was on target with the assertion that more people know about video games, specific memes or examples, or do or have played video games (probably recently) in their lives NOW then they did 25, 20, 15 or even 10 years ago. Plot that trajectory and I think there'll be a different story.

ZippyDSMlee:
Becoming so casual or mainstream tends to make something more marketable, it also changes the meaning of word definitions over time as things become more known for the new meaning than the old.

I think you're putting the cart before the horse. Being mainstream may make something more marketable, but how financially viable that marketing then is does not define how mainstream the thing was to begin with.

The question should have been "what is mainstream?" Although I'd argue that some games have been mainstream from the start (e.g. Donkey Kong, Space Invaders, Pong, the Mario series and more recently your Halos, Call of Duties and GTAs), but I doubt gaming as a whole will ever reach mainstream status. Too many small indie games for the PC.

In a sense though, I'm happy to hear these statistics. That means that gaming companies (most obviously this year) who are targeting the casual crowd are initially going to reap large profits, but in the long term are choosing a poor business marketing plan. They need to appeal to their loyal demographic, not the casual market. I'm tired of so many games appealing to the casual demographic, dumbing down game content to remove the learning curve (Total War games for me personally have been the most irksome for this) so that people who never played a game before can grasp it without using the tutorial. Ideally then in a few years maybe we'll see them backpedaling, but that's ideally.

starrman:

ZippyDSMlee:
Becoming so casual or mainstream tends to make something more marketable, it also changes the meaning of word definitions over time as things become more known for the new meaning than the old.

I think you're putting the cart before the horse. Being mainstream may make something more marketable, but how financially viable that marketing then is does not define how mainstream the thing was to begin with.

What is more marketable tends to run on fads and trends thus why you can see more shallower FPS and action games than deep RPGs and strategy games.

Were movies/TV shows always dumbed down for the average viewer? I do not believe so I think over time they found its was more profitable to make crap and gamble on its success, then again I am a right jaded bastard. LOL

Delusibeta:
The question should have been "what is mainstream?" Although I'd argue that some games have been mainstream from the start (e.g. Donkey Kong, Space Invaders, Pong, the Mario series and more recently your Halos, Call of Duties and GTAs), but I doubt gaming as a whole will ever reach mainstream status. Too many small indie games for the PC.

I think gaming will become film in time when they use AI to play the game so more people will buy it and frankly thats almost a better choice than having to slug through watered down titles.

Delusibeta:
The question should have been "what is mainstream?" Although I'd argue that some games have been mainstream from the start (e.g. Donkey Kong, Space Invaders, Pong, the Mario series and more recently your Halos, Call of Duties and GTAs), but I doubt gaming as a whole will ever reach mainstream status. Too many small indie games for the PC.

My thoughts as well (maybe not in regards to CoD or GTA, but the rest stands). Video Games as a whole may not be mainstream, but characters like Mario and titles like Tetris and Pac-Man you'd think should be pretty recognizable even beyond the standard VG community.

Korolev:

Snip

Basically what Korolev said in his two posts.
I found most of this article kinda pointless and misleading. I think a lot of gamers try really hard to be counter cultural or not main stream. The thing is, we're not nerds in a basement who need to know how to rewire a circuit board in order to play a new version of Pong anymore. Big new releases get big media coverage. Sure, there are fewer people who play games than go see movies, but why are we comparing ourselves to movies? If you brought up any book on the New York Times Bestseller list at a part, how many people will be able to talk about them?

The thing is a single player game like GTA is not like a movie. It's not something you can do on a date. It's not something a group of friends will get together and do. That's why Halo and MW got so popular. Having LAN parties with Halo is a social activity. Like watching a DVD. You wouldn't ask somebody out to read a book. You ask them out to a movie. Similarly, you don't ask somebody to watch you play GTA. You ask them to play the few good split screen multiplayer games. It's about how social things are. Comparing a single player game, where you play in your free time when you're alone, to films, where you go to a new one every few weeks because you're hanging out with a group of friends and bored, just doesn't make sense.

The fact is there's a steady supply of news on the big networks about games, whether it's all positive or well informed or not. There's ads for games during the Super Bowl. Nobody gets shunned for playing games any more. Owning older consoles is cool now, go to a college dorm and notice how people flock around MarioKart 64. Girls play games now and don't run away when they find out a guy does.

Finally, I ask, is Transformer 2 considered mainstream? It did well at the box office, but nobody liked it. Is that main stream?

Does it really matter that the movie industry makes 10 billion dollars more yearly than the video game industry? The movie industry is practically a hundred years old, while the video game industry is roughly 40 years old. That's a 60 year difference. Yet, even though the video game industry is relatively new compared to the movie industry, the growth it has gone through has been fast, to say the least. In another 10-20 years, maybe even 5, that 10 billion dollar gap could become smaller.

There's one thing I'm curious about. Those sales figures that were mentioned in the article, what countries and/or regions were covered by them? Is it just regions like the US, Europe, and Asia? Or do they also factor in other countries, like those in the Middle East and Latin America? I wonder, because where I live games are around 2 times as expensive as their American counterparts. A 60 dollar game there costs 110-120 dollars here. If they weren't factored in, wouldn't that change the revenue numbers if they were?

Thankyou! Finally. Way to deconstruct the "argument to flawed statistics" pattern, also known as "we has numbers, so we must be right! What do you mean, the comparison is unfounded? What do you mean, the results are skewed? We has numbers! Look, numbers!"

Journalist school should force its students to take a statistics course so they can recognise when the numerical wool is being pulled over their eyes.

Jumplion:

Was the fact that movies must be paid again to view it a second time compared to paying a one-time fee for a video came?
Was the fact that movies are generally ~2 hours compared to games 6-15 hour (being generous here) time frame in play?
Are sales of entire franchises (CoD, BC, Harvest Moon to get in some "casual" games on the list) accounted for?
What about entire hardware franchises (Nintendo Handhelds, Playstation brand, Xbox brand, etc...)

What on Earth does any of that have to do with the subject under discussion?

id just like to add: the hobby may be expensive, but it's less expensive then blowing all your money on drinking alcohol and going out every week ^^

I don't remember exactly where I heard it, but I believe the movie industry has been the most profitable entertainment medium for a very long time now. That's not exactly any kind of new news. Games have a long ways to go before they'll be comparable to the movie industry, but I think great things will happen given time.

That being said, while I do like being part of a minority, my desire to see games become mainstream is coupled with my desire to see the industry do well. The more mainstream gaming becomes, the more profitable the industry becomes. Increased profit means heightened interest, which would eventually lead to more (and possibly better) games. We may not be as mainstream as much as people would like to believe, but I don't, in any way, think we should stop trying.

As it has been said, movies have to be paid for every time you go to see them in theaters (you omitted DVDs a couple of times too) so I know people who have seen avatar in 3D at least 5 times. How much does that cost per hour of entertainment? Compare that to someone who has spent multiple hundred hours on a videogame online. They get a much better cost per hour.

mainstream means how many people are using/playing/watching... a product. Based on how many people play free-to-play games, you can't just use monetary values and profits to gauge how many people are using it. STATISTICS WILL BE FLAWED. No matter who makes them, they will not be 100% accurate, EVER!

you brought up the total DVD player sales in it's lifetime. Does that include a single company's or is that all of them lumped together? does it include blu-ray and HD-DVD, which are the next generation of DVDs?

You don't include file-sharing or borrowing DVDs or games in your numbers because it is very hard to track. This means that each copy or either product could have been shared with (a realistic) 5 people. This doesn't count rentals either. (people are likely to borrow a game, because it would cost a lot more to buy it when compared to a DVD.)

My thoughts on data that can be skewed either way.

Korolev:
Sure old people don't understand videogames. They never will. But you know what? Old people DIE! OF OLD AGE! IT HAPPENS! And once that generation dies, the only generations left will be the video-game players.

Yesterday, I found the most amazing thing. On QVC, the home shopping network, they were selling Nintendo Wiis. For a THREE HOUR block in the middle of the day. It's not really that directly relevant to the overall popularity of video games, but it was still fascinating and kept my attention for 20 minutes. It says something about how far we've come.

Ironic Pirate:
On a side not here, but has anyone else noticed that "core" metal genres are derided by many other metal fans, but the opposite occurs in gaming. Especially weird with how many gamers like metal...

Not really, as the word is used in an entirely different sense - one might be a "hardcore" fan of metal, but the -core sub-genres are not to metal fans what "core" games are to gaming enthusiasts. In point of fact, appending the suffix -core to the name of your sub-genre indicates a divergence away from metal.

Why? Because "metalcore" and all the various permutations (deathcore, matchcore, etc) have that -core tacked onto their names to signify that what you're listening to is a fusion genre between some variety of metal (traditionally extreme/death metal) and hardcore punk - that's where the "-core" part comes from. And considering hardcore punk is notable primarily because it seems to consist almost entirely of screaming, there's a good reason "traditional" metal fans look down on the -core sub-genres, which is that they sound like crap.

Or at least bands from the 90s did, these days the popular metalcore outfits are generally classified as "melodic metalcore", and while they interrupt the screams with some clean vocals from time to time, the over-use of breakdowns and their tendency to adopt the affectations of the 80s glam metal scene provide other reasons to mock them. I personally don't really much care either way about their pedigree, the problem is they do not consistently provide a sound that my ears identify as "good" (and definitely not as metal).

Gildan Bladeborn:

Ironic Pirate:
On a side not here, but has anyone else noticed that "core" metal genres are derided by many other metal fans, but the opposite occurs in gaming. Especially weird with how many gamers like metal...

Not really, as the word is used in an entirely different sense - one might be a "hardcore" fan of metal, but the -core sub-genres are not to metal fans what "core" games are to gaming enthusiasts. In point of fact, appending the suffix -core to the name of your sub-genre indicates a divergence away from metal.

Why? Because "metalcore" and all the various permutations (deathcore, matchcore, etc) have that -core tacked onto their names to signify that what you're listening to is a fusion genre between some variety of metal (traditionally extreme/death metal) and hardcore punk - that's where the "-core" part comes from. And considering hardcore punk is notable primarily because it seems to consist almost entirely of screaming, there's a good reason "traditional" metal fans look down on the -core sub-genres, which is that they sound like crap.

Or at least bands from the 90s did, these days the popular metalcore outfits are generally classified as "melodic metalcore", and while they interrupt the screams with some clean vocals from time to time, the over-use of breakdowns and their tendency to adopt the affectations of the 80s glam metal scene provide other reasons to mock them. I personally don't really much care either way about their pedigree, the problem is they do not consistently provide a sound that my ears identify as "good" (and definitely not as metal).

I don't mind most of them, but I dislike deathcore in particular. The "we're so awesome and brutal" aspect of death metal minus a lot of the awesome riffs.

I don't think I've ever seen an article get this off topic before. Sorry 'bout that.

RevStu:

Jumplion:

Was the fact that movies must be paid again to view it a second time compared to paying a one-time fee for a video came?
Was the fact that movies are generally ~2 hours compared to games 6-15 hour (being generous here) time frame in play?
Are sales of entire franchises (CoD, BC, Harvest Moon to get in some "casual" games on the list) accounted for?
What about entire hardware franchises (Nintendo Handhelds, Playstation brand, Xbox brand, etc...)

What on Earth does any of that have to do with the subject under discussion?

Like I said in the post, articles like these that point out numbers for assurance can easily be skewed in either side's favor.

Many people see movies multiple times, therefore making one person's ticket number bump up to, I dunno, 3. For a video game, you only pay a onetime deal of $60 (usually) and many more people can play with you for no additional cost.

Movies play for 2 hours and you're done, but video games play for 6-15 hours at a time, so the question of you paying for the time of entertainment given to you can also be asked (last I checked about $5 for each hour of entertainment was the average people were willing to spend)

Entire franchises usually grow upon each enstallment. I doubt the original Call of Duty sold as well as CoD:MW2, so pointing out that more people play those games could show an increase in mainstreamy-ness-ess.

And hardware franchises, same deal (though he did point that out, I'll retract that)

Point is, numbers can be skewed either way. I'm not trying to downplay the article, it was a good read, and it is true that video games aren't nearly as "mainstream" as we think, but it's still more "mainstream" than many other activities/hobbies/mediums.

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