Gamasutra's been publishing an interesting series on what the non-target audience gamers want out of their gaming experience; this week's is on the 'missing gamers,' the ones who played when they were younger and have 'grown out of' the habit (or have they really?). After sitting down with a few play sessions with these gamers (age 25 to 35), the Gamasutra team came to a couple of conclusions about what these gamers really want and what would drive them to get back into gaming in a meaningful, non-Facebook attached way; they also established why this is a segment that developers and marketers should be taking note of this demographic:
This group of 25 to 35 Missing Gamers is perhaps one of the most socially motivated cohorts we have come across. From a desire for integrated social experiences to a love of playing games next to each other they certainly have plenty of time, money and motivation to play. Although easily discouraged from the pursuit of gaming experiences because of the hard-to-get "assumed gaming grammar", get them playing something without thinking about it too much and they soon rise to the occasion. Get them playing something that presents a sizeable and complex challenge and you discover a whole different side of their personalities. Wrap all this up with some packaging and marketing stories that look and sound like the lives they are already leading, rather than a cartoon or juvenile version of themselves, and they soon "get" why games are still applicable.
The other two pieces in the series (on 'family gamers' and 'silver gamers') are likewise worth a read; there are some interesting tidbits scattered about the articles in regards to play styles, game design, and marketing efforts. What Gamers Want: Missing Gamers [Gamasutra]