What Unexpected Device Tops Kids' Gaming Wish List?

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Steve Anderson
The Video Store Guy
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What Unexpected Device Tops Kids' Gaming Wish List?

A recent Nielsen study had a little something unexpected for those looking to shop for gaming hardware this Christmas, as an unusual device currently ranks tops on the list. Just what is this device that kids are clamoring for for Christmas and post-Christmas gaming?

As it turns out, the number one device on the Nielsen survey wasn't a Wii U, or an Xbox, or even a pack of Skylanders figures. It was an iPad. Yes, for the third year in a row--which makes this not quite so unexpected as could be thought--the nod went to the iPad as the tops in gaming devices, beating out the rest of the console lineup by a pretty fair margin.

The Wii U, oddly, managed to place second with a healthy 39 percent of the vote, but not healthy enough to distract from the 48 percent hoping for an iPad.

The interesting part about this survey is that it can be successfully used as fodder to support one of two arguments:

1. The console gaming market is doomed. Doomed, doomed, doomed. Microsoft and Sony and Nintendo just got their lunch ate by Apple and they should all sell out now before it's too late. Doomed.

or

2. The console market is so spectacularly stagnant that kids want an office supply toy more than they want a game system that was in many cases on shelves before they could even walk, and in some cases, before they were even born.

Naturally, the first point has other supports as well. We've all seen the rise of the gaming app, the casual gamer, the independent leaderboard and social gaming hubs designed to appeal to Apple users. Why wouldn't the kids want an iPad? There are new games coming out most every day with a variety of themes, and it can go anywhere.

Yet the second argument also has weight. Why would little Timmy and little Susie ask Santa for a thing they not only already have, but have had for some time? The PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 are spectacularly old devices as gaming goes, and from the look of it it will be at least another six months before we start hearing about the next generation. It explains why plenty of kids want a Wii U, but not necessarily why they want an iPad more.

The exact motivation behind the kids' interest in tablets is somewhat unclear--the introduction of the next Xbox should clear things up, however--and may well help decide if a change is in the making in gaming or if we're merely seeing a reaction to aging systems.
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