That’s right publishers, it’s time to stop neglecting games with female leads because you’re afraid they won’t sell (hint: they do, and not just to women). And gamers, it’s time to stop seeing the archetypal online player as a foul-mouthed adolescent boy. A new study from the ESA reveals that the gaming community is a lot more diverse (and a bit older) than many people think. As gamers everywhere come together for the annual newsfest that is E3, it seems appropriate to find out how common preconceptions about our community stack up with the facts. Let’s bust some myths!
Myth: Girl gamers are as rare as a polar bear in the rainforest.
Another interesting tidbit? In addition to being 45% of the gaming population, females are the most frequent purchasers of games 46% of the time.
Myth: Gamers are a relatively small minority.
Fact: 58% of Americans play video games, which makes us a majority. Quick, let’s run someone for president on a campaign of cheap games and no DRM for all! A majority (51%) of American households own a dedicated gaming console, and there’s an average of two gamers in each game-playing household. Of households who own at least one gaming console, the average number of consoles owned is two.
Myth: Most gamers are teenaged boys.
Myth: Gamers are solitary creatures.
Doritos and Mountain Dew. Luckily, it’s just not true; 62% of gamers play with others, either in-person or online. And everyone knows that playing with others is a lot more fun than playing with yourself; 77% of gamers who play with others do it for at least an hour per week. Who do we like to play with? A plurality (42%) of us play with friends, but significant others (16%), parents (16%) and other relatives (32%) are all good choices. After all, the more people we convert, the sooner we can take over the world. Speaking of which…
Myth: Smartphones are taking over!
Fact: With the massive success of mobile titles like Angry Birds and the fact that even console games are wanting us to use smartphones and tablets while playing, it’s easy to feel like smartdevices are taking over. If you think about it, there’s got to be way more people gaming on Androids and iPhones than Xbox’s and PlayStations right? Apparently not. More gamers play on a console (68%) or a PC (62%) than a smartphone (43%). They do have an advantage over handheld devices like the DS and Vita though; when on the go, gamers are more likely to use a smartphone for their fix (36%) than a handheld console (25%).
Myth: Digital distribution is taking over!
Myth: Games are corrupting the minds of children.
That might not sound like a ton of fun, but parents aren’t all about regulation; they’re also about participation. 35% of parents game with their kids on at least a weekly basis, and 52% see gaming as a positive influence. The most commonly cited positives are mental stimulation (71%), social interaction (62%) and family bonding (59%). Now isn’t that sweet?
Myth: Games are full of sex, violence, and criminality.
Myth: Madden Warfare ’13 would be the best selling game of all time (Gamers only care about Madden and Call of Duty)
So there you go, folks. We gamers are an interesting bunch, and probably a lot more varied in age, gender, and gaming preferences than most people think. Were any of these stats particularly surprising to you? Share your thoughts in the comments.