One of the most recognized and celebrated video games, played by millions of fans worldwide, Call of Duty, released its highly anticipated sequel this week, Call of Duty: Black Opps II. The game’s lead character is a Latino political activist from Nicaragua named Raul Menendez. The game is one of the world’s most successful entertainment franchises with loyal fans that lined up to purchase the first batch at its midnight launch this week.
For years, Hispanics have heavily over indexed in the use of digital and gaming devices. According to Simmons, Hispanics are 32% more likely than non-Hispanics to consider video games their main source of entertainment. In addition, Hispanics are 54% more likely to buy a video game the day it’s released than non-Hispanic gamers. These are important factors to consider when developing marketing strategies for video gaming releases, consoles, and digital platforms. The Hispanic Millennial generation loves their video games! According to Microsoft XBOX sales, Hispanic gamers contributed to 23% growth while non-Hispanics gamers grew a sheer 10% percent.
In the last 12 months, nearly eight million Hispanics purchased video games. According to data from Scarborough, 1.6 million Hispanics plan to buy a gaming console in the next year. As the holidays approach, rest assured many Latino households will be giving video games as regalos to friends and family members. With regards to Hispanic gaming preferences, the action/adventure genre ranks on top among Hispanics, followed by sports-themed games. Latinos play sports-themed video games more than non-Hispanic gamers, 27% versus non-Hispanic’s 7%.
With such a large and loyal fan base, gaming brands and manufacturers may want to consider creating more Latino characters in their franchises and readdress cultural stereotypes. The opportunity for even more growth is possible if the writers and marketers take into account their enthusiastic and supportive Hispanic consumers. Even in an interactive medium completely free from reality, cultural stereotypes are still played out. Game makers have a golden opportunity to paint positive Latino characters rather than a clichéd role of villain.
It should not be difficult for Latino gamers to find their virtual counterparts in the gaming world as this demographic over indexes their non-Hispanic gamers. However, that is not the case today. Game makers have the chance to create Latino characters that hold positive and empowering traits so that future Latino gamers can see themselves better reflected in the medium they spend so much time engaged with.
Sources: Activsion.com, CallOfDuty.com, GameSpot.com, LiveScience.com, Scarborough, Simmons Research, Wall Street Journal.com