Gamer Identity Positively Renewed

A Family Playing WiiTwo recent studies dismiss some of the stereotypes regarding video gamers. The Canadian and American studies notably find that members of the demographic enjoy better family lives, are more social and overall have a higher income than non-gamers.

According to the Canadian study, conducted for the Entertainment Software Association of Canada (ESAC), one in two Canadians identify themselves as gamers, having actively played video games within the past month.

The Canadian data, expected to be released in coming weeks on the ESAC website, puts the average age of gamers at 40. More than 82 per cent of survey participants said they played video games on average 7.1 hours every week. The study also finds that half of the Canadian gaming population is made up of women. Read More...

On the other hand, the American study prepared for IGN Entertainment and released earlier this month, found that a majority of gamers were far more socially involved than previously believed. In fact, 55 per cent of all gamers were married, 48 per cent have children and 57 per cent of parent gamers play video games regularly with their kids.

"Families are getting very involved and parents are becoming more supportive about gaming," said Judit Nagy, vice-president of consumer insights with Fox Interactive, IGN's parent company, in a news report. "It's fun and interactive and a nice way to play with mom and dad."

Video games have become a family unifier, Nagy says, especially considering that many young parents find it easy to make time to sit down with their children for a quick game.

"Those who grew up playing games have taken that into their adult lives and are now embracing that as a way to spend time with their kids," said Nicole Helsburg, spokeswoman for the ESAC, in the same news report.

Young and single gamers were found to be more socially involved than non-gamers of the same social status. Single gamers are twice as likely to go out on dates and 9 per cent more likely to go out with friends.

According to IGN, American gamers are 11 per cent more likely to play sports than non-gamers, though both groups spend the same amount of time reading books every week.

The study also found that the average income of American gaming households was $79,000 US, significantly higher than the $55,000 for non-gaming households.

"All this underscores the fact that gaming has become a mainstream medium in this country that appeals to people from all walks of life," said Adam Wright, director of research for Ipsos MediaCT, in a news release.

The ESAC survey interviewed 652 Canadian adults and 100 children between the ages of six and 13. It is considered accurate within plus or minus 3.8 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

The IGN study was conducted in two phases, focusing first on online consumers and then on gamers in their homes. It interviewed more than 3,000 Americans and the results are accurate within plus or minus 1.8 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.