We all know the gamer stereotype: a pale youth, almost always male, shuttered alone in a room with their consoles and PC. Shades drawn, week-old half-eaten pizza in open boxes on the floor, hair in eyes, can’t seem to form a complete sentence…and that distinctive, un-laundered smell.
Not so fast, says market research company Ipsos Media CT. In a study conducted for IGN (a division of Fox Interactive Media), Ipsos found that gamers are actually more likely than non-gamers to get out of the house for concerts, to play sports, and even go on dates. Furthermore, the average age of gamers is now over 30—and more than half of gamers are married with kids.
“This study is a first-of-its kind look at how videogames and videogamers are breaking away from stereotypes that have been in place since Pong,” said IGN general manager Roy Bahat, in a statement.
The study was conducted in two phases, with a quantitative online survey of U.S. gaming households, and follow-up qualitative “deep” survey among key parts of the gaming market. About 3,000 people completed the online survey. followed by three focus groups in Los Angeles followed up three in-home ethnographies.
The results? According to the survey, some 75 percent of gamers play with other people, either online or in person, and some 47 percent of people living in gaming households say video games are a fun way to interact with other family members. Furthermore, gamers are almost twice as likely to go out on dates as non-gamers during a given month, and gamers were 13 percent more likely to go to a move than non-gamers; they were also 11 perecent more likely to play sports and 9 percent more likely just to go out with friends.
Gamers are often also the media and tech authorities in households, with 37 percent of gamers saying friends and family members rely on them for information about movies and entertainment, and 30 percent of gamers saying friends and family rely on them to keep up with technology. Gamers are also early adopters, being twice as likely to adopt a new product or technology even if it has known bugs or problems. And, surprise surprise, gamers spend more time with media and online: compared to non-gamers, gamers watch two more hours of television, listening to two hours more music, and spending five more hours online every week.
Gamers also tend to earn more money than non-gamers: gaming households had an average income of $79,000, compared to $54,000 for non-gaming households. Some 55 percent of gamers surveyed were married, and 48 percent of gamers surveyed have children. And here’s an interesting note: gamers who have started playing video games in the last two years are 32 years old, on average.
Of course, stats like this can be misleading, and citing averages can be a particularly poor way to represent a diverse range of data. But Ipsos study does highlight growing trend in the gaming industry to incorporate multiplayer and social aspects in games and engage new audiences with non-traditional and casual games.