Wild Ass Rumor Of The Day: Video Games Are Killing Car Sales

Edward Niedermeyer
by Edward Niedermeyer

Home game machines are no good. Playing something that realistic makes the need for cars disappear

So goes the Gawker hive-mind translation of a quote, attributed to an unnamed Toyota executive by Masahiro Kawaguchi, in an editorial published by the Mainichi Newspaper of Osaka (got that?). Best of all, Kawaguchi’s piece apparently goes on to attempt a further causal link to Japan’s falling population. “Guys used to work hard at their job so they could get a stylish, cool car for girl’s to ride in,” he argues. But isn’t the connection between falling car sales and a falling population easy enough to establish without blaming videogames? And what about the geographical arguments for an inevitable leveling-off of car sales in Japan? Or perhaps Mr Kawaguchi was subtly blaming some other, non-car-related “realistic video game” for a declining birth rate. Either way, the comment reflects a gnawing paranoia that is no longer unique to the auto executives of Japan: how do we sell cars to young people in mature markets? I always thought they used video games.

Edward Niedermeyer
Edward Niedermeyer

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  • 86er 86er on Oct 23, 2009
    wizerud Ridiculous. Cars in video games can make people aspire to actually own one later on, especially if you’re a young kid. I remember having a Mazda Miata in the original Gran Turismo. I swore one day I’d own one of those cars. And I did, 6 years later. It’s good, free advertising. Agreed; I would add that perhaps video games that allow you to run a car company from top to bottom, including design, might (might) spur some interest in young people to do it for real some day. If the article is true, then I don't just wonder about the future viability of certain companies but the industry as a whole.
  • T2 T2 on Oct 23, 2009

    cavendale, I am just observing that though the bottom 10% call for more tax dollars than most of the other segments, that money doesn't stay with with that segment, most of it ends up with their support system providers. The poor are just a means to an end that benefits a certain class, in the same way as a good war provides financial benefits those of the military class. NulloModo, OTOH, suggests there could be merit in eliminating them altogether, presumably because they don't seem to assist the economy. As I tried to indicate, indirectly they probably do. Declining car ownership among the younger population is interesting. Driving to a pub by car is one thing, getting the transit service to do it is an entirely different animal, particularly when off peak schedules run every half hour and every hour on national holidays. No wonder entering a transit system to the uninitiated is a daunting task. The transit system is a culture unto itself. Of course you will need intimate knowledge of the routes and timetables to get anywhere but if your arrival at a destination is to be at all deterministic, a knowledge of which intersecting routes are designed for passenger transfers is also essential. And Good luck with that ! My belief is that the use of phones with the internet allows an easy access to this culture not previously available and alleviates the number one anxiety for newbie transit riders "will there be a bus to get me back later this evening". And if there isn't, don't worry, a cab is only a cellphone call away. At least the cellphone can get you a cab Meanwhile the car driver is faced with increased anxiety from being stopped by the police due to the ever increasingly higher levels of sobriety demanded by the authorities at those "Ride" checks. In Canada people have gotten the message and the pickings have become so slim that police now want laws to enable them to stop drivers randomly without cause, rather than as some part of an advertised sting operation. Finally, the car owner ends up being the taxi-driver for their friends. Some of us have first hand on what one thankless task that will turn out to be.

  • Alex Nigro Alex Nigro on Oct 24, 2009

    So, on that note, who's buying Forza Motorsport 3 next week? I am!

  • Rpn453 Rpn453 on Oct 27, 2009

    I agree with those who say the games actually help to create demand for cars. The driving games were pretty crude back when I was a kid, and the last system I owned was a Sega Genesis, but they still made me want to drive the real thing. The better they got, the more it worked. Road and Track's Need for Speed on the Panasonic 3DO I once rented was great for that. Despite it being a relatively slow car, I wanted an NSX because of how well it handled! no_slushbox : If only a painless suicide pill was legalized so that pathetic shut-ins living in their parents’ house, having their mom drive them around and playing video games could just take themselves out for good instead of just numbing themselves. Yeah, because if they're not living your life, their life is worthless, right? I'm sure they all aspire to be as arrogant as you. Is it really hard to get access to a gun where you are? I highly doubt there would be any pain involved in creating a cranial skylight.