Well we have all seen it out there in the consumer space, time and time again, “get your latest toys from {generic store name} like the all new Nintendo DSi/Wii”. It struck me vividly with the new UK retailers Argos advert about being the UK’s largest toy retailer, and their focus of the advert is Nintendo.

But why is it that Nintendo consoles are the only ones relegated to “Toy” status while the PS3 and 360 are electronics devices/media hubs?

To me I think it has more to do with the retailer and their market base, of course I’ve seen the Wii listed as electronics at some retailers, but without research I would believe that the majority would advertise Nintendo products as toys. With little to differentiate the Wii from the competitors in function, with the Wii even having features not on the 360, Internet browsing.

I firmly believe that there is a stigma with parents purchasing devices for their children that are classified as electronic media hubs/gadgetry and saying as Nintendo have that child friendly appeal this would detract from sales. Advertising the Wii and DS iterations as toys creates the mental image to parents that yes this is something that is fit for our children. From experience I haven’t encountered too many kids with their own PS3/PSP or 360, if they did have access to one of these devices it was either a handed down due to upgrade or limited access on a parents console. But we all can see kids walking around with their own DS’s in hand and sometimes a bag full of their games.

When the PS2 was in its prime, I remember advertising for it as a toy, due to the fact that it was then cheap enough for parents to validate the purchase for their kids. But even with the 360’s lower priced arcade version, I doubt anyone is willing to call it a toy yet as its domineering presence in a media set up gives the impression to onlookers as a sophisticated and complicated device.

The marketing presence from the manufacturers of the consoles also help with the association with the type of device that the console is. Sony love to announce the advanced and feature rich nature of the PS3, Microsoft like to advertise the versatility of the console but seemingly have an adult presence, while Nintendo have a wide varied and what can seem unfocused approach to their marketing at times.

There is one thing that shines with Nintendo is their appeal to children, something that they will never give up, is what allows retailers deem their systems as “toys”. Unless Ninty turn around and create a powerhouse device that costs in the realms of $300 or more, the toy moniker will disappear, down to the fact that parents dont want to purchase $300 toys and technophiles don’t want to buy toys.

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