Not everyone who plays video games is a gamer, study says

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A new study from the Pew Research Center suggests the connection between playing video games and identifying as a “gamer” are not as strongly related as you might think.

According to the report on “Gaming and Gamers,” which explores how video games are perceived in and outside of the community, 49 percent of American adults play video games of some sort — console, PC, mobile, and “TV” games — but only 10 percent would describe themselves as “gamers.” In other words, just one in five players identify with the term.

That minority 10 percent appears to be influential in the public’s perception regarding video games and the people who play them. In terms of gender, the study shows that 60 percent of adults, including the majority of women who play games, believe that most video game players are men. In reality, the gender spread is almost equal, with half of men and 48 percent of women playing games — but guys are almost three times as likely to describe themselves as “Gamers.” Similarly, while teens and 20-somethings are more likely to identify as a gamer, more than half of middle-aged adults, (30-49), and 40 percent of 50-64 year-olds play video games.

While opinions about the pros and cons of gaming are mixed, the study also suggests that people who play video games are much more likely to believe in the positive benefits of the practice, and actively disagree with negative effects. This is most clear when discussing the psychological effects of violent video games: 40 percent of all adults believe there is some correlation between playing violent video games and physical violence. The majority of game players, 64 percent, do not believe there is a link.

In a more general sense, 26 percent of Americans believe video games are “a waste of time” and 24 percent believe they are not.

While the public is largely split on issues related to gaming, including the portrayal of women and non-white ethnic groups, one thing is clear: there is a large divide between our perception and the realities of the gaming community at large.

You can check out the full study, which includes lots of graphs and plenty more statistics, at the Pew Research Center website.

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