Skyclad, I think you’re missing my Brain Age comparsion ( For more info, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brain_Age:_Train_Your_Brain_in_Minutes_a_Day )
Brain Age wasn’t aimed at the traditional gaming market, it was targeted at people of all ages, but primarily people who wanted to keep their minds active and alert, be they gamers or not. The result was something that a lot of retailers initially met with concern and skeptisizm, but something that when people tried it out, became quickly popular, expanded the DS Lite’s demographic beyond the standard gaming market, and sold over 1.7 million copies.
Now, whether or not we could copy that exact success is unsure, but the pattern is there. Take something that a lot of people would like to improve upon, research ways their skill at this could be improved via a game or multiple games, implement this in a product at relatively low development cost, sell it, and with a bit of marketing have people of all ages see something that’s new, innovative and hugely useful, and hence expand the market of the gaming device, not to mention its sales.
Your missing the key question here: If there was a fun and easy way anyone could get better at a key life skill, like remembering faces, just by playing a device for a few minuites or more every so often, would they buy it? For me, the answer is a definite yes, and I’m sure that there are others. Business people alone, who have great importance attached to networking and can spend hundreds of euros on smartphones, are a huge market.
There is clearly a great potential for this title. It dosn’t have to be complex, I was thinking along the lines of games that utilise a large catalogue of photographs of faces (may be tricky to obtain, but there are always ways) for the player to concentrate on; and it dosn’t have to deal with the whole coverall of social insecurities and environments or any of that stuff, just laser focus in on the most important aspect of helping someone develop the part of their brain that notices, memorises and recognises face, through whatever games and interaction that you can make.
I have an aunt who usn’t be the best at remembering faces, however at one stage she had this job of giving full, verbal descriptions of people who were arriving at an airport. After a year of this constantly focusing on people’s faces and mentally isolating details, she now rarely every forgets a face. If this real life example shows how constant practice and concentration can improve your skill at something like this, there’s bound to be video game equivelents that can do the same thing, possibly even better and using new and advanced methodologies.
It’s simple, it’s there, it’s clear, there’s no reason why it wouldn’t work. So let’s just at least consider it.