Survey: Adults Favor Casual Games for Kids

A new survey conducted by Information Solutions Group for casual game developer PopCap Games finds that 72 percent of parents and grandparents who play so-called casual video games do not permit children in their care to play so-called “hardcore” video games. However, these same respondents do allow children to play casual games—and 80 percent say they play the casual games right along with them.

The study is the latest in a series of survey findings commissioned by PopCap (see earlier survey results focussing on women and casual games and casual games as a family activity) to shed light on who plays casual video games and why—and, of course, toot PopCap’s own horn a little bit and spread awareness of its brand. The recent success of companies like NIntendo (with games like Brain Age and the non-traditional buyers of the Wii console system) indicate a growing market for lightweight, entertaining games which are easy for players to pick up for a few minutes and quickly set aside, as opposed to immersive “hardcore” games that usually have steep learning curves and often feature violent and/or explicit content.

However, the survey did turn up gender differences in adults’ attitudes towards kids playing so-called “hardcore” games: 37 percent of parents and grandparents say they forbid their male children aged 14 or older to play hardcore games, a whopping 60 percent of those adults forbid their female children to play such games.

For children aged 9 and under, the survey found 28 percent of adults cited improved hand-eye coordination and dexterity as a benefit of casual games, while another 24 percent cited learning skills like pattern recognition, spelling, and resource management as key benefits. Amongst older kids, 26 percent of adults said stress relief and relaxation were key benefits from playing casual games.

The survey also found that the older kids get, they more likely they were to play video games three times a week or more; however, the figures topped out at almost one third (32 percent) of teens aged 14 to 17 saying they play three times a week or more…meaning, of course, almost two thirds of kids in that age range play twice a week or less. The survey also found that 58 percent of kids aged 14 or older kept their gaming sessions under one hour.

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