BREAKING NEWS: Adults Play Video Games!

By Casey Lynn
Contributing Writer, [GAS]

Two days ago, the Pew Internet and American Life Project released a report that details the (apparently shocking) phenomenon that about half of American adults play videogames (53%, to be exact). Sounds about right to me, though I just skimmed through a good dozen articles from all over the net that are making it sound like this is some big news. I agree with this Forbes blogger in that it isn’t the numbers that are surprising but how surprised everyone seems to be about them (must be that other 47%). It just goes to show how little understood gaming really is outside of itself.

After all, gaming permeates our culture. Look at Nintendo’s latest ad campaign. Gaming isn’t just for geeks anymore–Carrie Underwood plays Nintendogs! However, the problem, I think, is that this survey doesn’t differentiate between “gamers” and “people who play videogames.” At least, most of the reports on it aren’t. I mean, my mom plays Solitaire constantly on her iPhone, and so she fits into that 53%, but I would never in a million years refer to her as a “gamer.” I think the other 47% are seeing the headline “MORE THAN HALF OF AMERICANS ARE GAMERS” and picturing the other half of the country locked in their basements playing Halo and World of Warcraft.

There were a couple of detailed findings from the survey that I found interesting. For example, older adults (65+) who play games are about 10% more likely to play every day than younger people. Also, college graduates are about 20% more likely to play videogames than those without a high school diploma (the research specialist at Pew says that there’s no obvious reason for this one, but it seems to me that income level might be a skewing factor). And a score for recognition of girl gamers–50% of women play versus 55% of men.

Right now, age is the biggest demographic factor. Nearly every teenager plays videogames (97%) versus 81% of those 18-29 (that’s my box!) and 23% of the senior crowd (65+). My prediction is that this difference will just continue to flatten over time, as it’s more an issue of culture than circumstance. By the time digital natives (those born after 1980) are seniors, I suspect that most of us will be spending our retirements playing whatever the future equivalent of World of Warcraft is (I’m hoping for a metaverse myself).

[Image Source: Flickr]

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