Remember that time you practically had to beg your parents to buy you that collector’s edition of DC comics for your birthday? Or in high school, when you and your friends had to stand in line at the mall to see the latest beauty product promoted by Tyra Banks? And this time, your kids have been on their best behavior just so they can get the latest Xbox edition that other kids their age already have. What is common with these scenarios?
The target market and the end results are the same.
There have been changes and variety in the products that the capitalists are creating. But the target market is the same. There is no doubt that these capitalists, through various forms of media and advertising, are closing in on the easiest and most vulnerable target in today’s marketplace: youth.
The end result of how the capitalist market has exposed youth with these products is only one: to strengthen the power of the consuming public. Youth is the largest sector of society ranging from school age to early or middle adulthood. And, according to studies, they are definitely the public that consumes the most, either on their own or with the help of parents.
Video games are no different from previous media the young man was exposed to. It used to be books and magazines, music and movies, and now we have gadgets and video games. They have steadily gained enormous popularity. Much thanks to marketing and advertising geniuses, video games are definitely in fashion among the consuming public. They have devised ways and means to cross the stage where young people are exploring everything and anything they can lay their hands and eyes on.
The endorsement of youth by celebrities or sports idols is a way of appealing to the consumer power of youth. Add to that countless billboards, print ads, YouTube videos, and TV commercials. All this attracts young consumers. Or to the people who financially support this consuming public: the parents.
The capitalists are instilling beliefs, values and concepts into the youth market. They know how to attract young people by investing in products that can define the attitudes and behavior of young people, according to how capitalist society wants them to be perceived. Own identity, the feeling of belonging and consumerism are the objective values in media such as video games today.
Video games appeal to the search for identity of our youth. In the virtual world, they start a journey where they are strong and unbeatable. They equip themselves with gadgets and tools that enhance their superhero capabilities. They can play dress up with fancy clothes and accessories. They have their own character that they think best suits them or what they want to be.
The virtual world allows them to create allies within the game. They belong to a clique where they speak the same language and act the same way. They find their own niche in this world. They find a place where they are accepted and where they belong.
These young people are also exposed to all the aspects of being the audience with the highest consumption with the video game they are hooked on. With every new trend or updated version released on the market, youngsters are pressured to keep up with these new things. So they would either spend more to keep up or pressure their parents to spend on these. Young people are slaves to the concept of consumerism, to fulfill that desire to get what they want, even if it may seem beyond their means.
Consumerism and video games is such a deadly combination for youth. As more and more young consumers get hooked and addicted to video games, capitalists are constantly preserving their own power and control over them. By endorsing and devising ways to forever hook youth into video games, youth are also almost willingly entangled in the world of consumerism. The immediate concern is no longer how youth will be protected against this propaganda. But rather how the youth can be shaped, in attitude, beliefs and orientation, by the kind of materials and thinking that the capitalists are exposing them to.