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Solving the Gaming Mystery

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- One of the biggest mysteries in technology today is what happened to all the gamers.

Nintendo's (NTDOY) Wii U console did so badly the company won't be holding a press conference at the E3 game convention this year. Publisher 2K won't even have a booth.

Sony's (SNE) own launch of the PlayStation 4 may do poorly , and Microsoft's (MSFT) Xbox 720 may not be a hit either.

Meanwhile, social gaming pioneer Zynga (ZNGA) is trying to get a gambling license, the chatter on Facebook's (FB) earnings sounds anemic, and Apple's (AAPL) iOS games have been marked down, in some cases, by 90%, notes Cult of Mac.

What's going on?

It might help at this point to look at this fall's college freshman class. Assuming they're 18, they will have been born in 1995. The Web was spun before they were. They take WiFi and broadband for granted. Facebook was created when they were in fourth grade.

My son, who's all of 21, finds this generation mysterious, but I don't. My class had the same relationship with the 1960s.

By the time I hit college in 1973, the 1960s were done. Rock was something you saw in arenas, rebellion was all symbolic and the totems of the previous decade were so mainstream as to look old-fashioned. Even Dick Cheney had long hair and sideburns.


Technology trends turn out to be a lot like musical tastes in that they change quickly and constantly. Each incoming class wants to see the world anew and make its own trends. What their older brothers and sisters think is as obsolete as what their parents think. Mark Zuckerberg is almost old enough to be their dad.

Today's kids have grown up after technology. The iPhone appeared when they were in middle school, the iPad when they were just entering high school. At the same time, as I noted last week, the nature of how we connect with computers is changing. We've gone from sitting at desks to tapping at screens, but even that looks old-fashioned, even quaint. We don't know what comes next.

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