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Games Entertainment

Study Debunks Gamer Stereotypes 117

Posted by Soulskill
from the five-more-minutes-ok-mom? dept.
Ars Technica reports on a recent study by Ipsos MediaCT which evaluated gamers with respect to a large variety of social parameters. Among their findings: "55 percent of gamers polled were married, 48 percent have kids, and new gamers — those who have started playing videogames in the past two years — are 32 years old on average." Also, "In terms of hard dollars, the average gaming household income ($79,000) is notably higher than that of nongaming households ($54,000), but the value of the gamer as a marketing target can be seen in a variety of ways. 39 percent of gamers said that friends and family rely upon them to stay up-to-date about the latest technology." The press release for the study is available at IGN.
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Study Debunks Gamer Stereotypes

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  • by Elros (735454) on Thursday October 23, 2008 @11:05PM (#25493323) Homepage

    Especially the household income note. While many of us may not see it that way, games are a luxury. They're more likely to be found in a higher income household.

    • by houstonbofh (602064) on Thursday October 23, 2008 @11:45PM (#25493677)
      Not the games as much as the equipment to play them on. PC games need a grand for the computer. Consoles want a HDTV. None of that comes cheap.
      • by MikeBabcock (65886) <mtb-slashdot@mikebabcock.ca> on Friday October 24, 2008 @12:09AM (#25493879) Homepage Journal

        And the games cost over $50 a piece, that's a luxury to most people. I can take my wife out for dinner, or buy a video game, both for $65 or so but its at the expense of other luxuries.

        • by MBGMorden (803437) on Friday October 24, 2008 @12:29AM (#25494039)

          Over $50 brand new, but if you can wait a bit most of the popular ones hit $20 or lower. Heck if you can wait longer the older systems can be had at a deal too. A used Gamecube costs like $30 or so. Plenty of (very good) sub-$20 games out there for it too. At those prices almost everyone can afford to play if they want. I think the problem though is that it takes an extreme interest (but very limited funds) already for one to go out and seek the affordable gaming items. You see it more often with low income families buying for their kids, but adults when playing themselves will see the obvious (and current generation) stuff, and if they can't afford it they'll generally just not generate that interest needed to go searching for bargains.

          • by theNetImp (190602)

            Not to mention most video game stores also have plans where you can sell your games and get credit towards purchase of a new games, so some used games that cost $20 may only really cost you $10

          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by phanboy_iv (1006659)
            I go back even farther. Genesis games can be had for peanuts. And they are far more complex than this Guitar Hero business that my roommates spend large quantities of money on.
            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              Be careful, complexity and fun aren't always positively correlated. For instance, Tetris and Solitaire are fairly simple games, but I don't want to guess how many person-centuries have been spent playing those since they came out on computers or game consoles [and I'm just looking at those two as electronic games; the amount of time spent increases significantly, probably to units of person-millenia if you include all the time people spend and spent playing Solitaire with cards.] On the other hand, the st
              • The inverse is also true, simplicity can get boring very quickly. Game makers are now fully on the casual games bandwagon, for better or for worse. Tic Tac Toe is still fun, sure, but that doesn't mean chess and bridge should be ignored. The thing is, Guitar Hero could uses about what, 10% of the Xbox360's capabilites? People pay over $500 bucks for a game that could have been implemented on a decade old system.
            • by Hatta (162192)

              For that matter, Atari 2600 games are cheap and plentiful. Breakout on the 2600 is still the best of its kind some 30 years later. Pitfall!, Galaxian, Enduro, Missile Command, Warlords, all great games to this day.

            • It makes me wonder about how the study defines gamers. Hopefully gamers are defined as "people who play games" and not "people who play with the most expensive technology." Why the assumption on the part of slashdotters that gamers must fall into the latter group?
          • by theaveng (1243528) on Friday October 24, 2008 @05:54AM (#25495741)

            Correct. I can only think of 3 times where I paid more than $20 to acquire a game. The mega-popular games like Final Fantasy eventually hit the $20 greatest hits mark, and game that are not popular eventually tumble to $10 or $15.

            >>>the average gaming household income ($79,000) is notably higher than that of nongaming households ($54,000),

            This is surprising to me, since games are supposed to have the most "bang for the buck". $20 nets you 40-50 hours of game. No other form of entertainment provides the same dollar-to-hour ratio. For example a $20 DVD only gives 2-3 hours of enjoyment. I would think games would be more popular with lower-income homes.

            • by adlucem (1158083)
              >>No other form of entertainment provides the same dollar-to-hour ratio.

              Save music.
            • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

              by mmalove (919245)

              I bought this chess board one time...

              Actually in theory the game was free, but I had to buy the hardware.

        • by Hatta (162192)

          And a nice dinner will last 1, maybe 2 hours. A good game will entertain you for 40-100 hours. Video gaming is the most economical entertainment around.

        • by illumin8 (148082)

          And the games cost over $50 a piece, that's a luxury to most people. I can take my wife out for dinner, or buy a video game, both for $65 or so but its at the expense of other luxuries.

          Of course games have a large initial investment, but when you break down the entertainment cost per hour, it is very economical. For a $50 game, I might get 100 hours of enjoyment out of it. That equals 50 cents an hour. Taking my wife out to eat 100 times at $65 each would definitely cost a lot more.

          • You don't know any people who struggle to pay the rent and feed their children too, do you?

            The cost per hour of entertainment isn't relevant ... the straight cost is.

            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by ArsonSmith (13997)

              That breaks down to: "Why do the struggle to pay the rent and feed their children?"

              I know I can live, pay rent, have a nice car, and a social life on around $10 an hour. I could cut some of that easily to pay for food for a kid. You can make more money that $10 an hour delivering pizza. Perhaps they should evaluate their lifestyle and adjust it to their income.

              Sorry not everyone gets whisked off to be the fresh prince of Bel-Air. The sooner you accept your position in life the sooner you can work on imp

        • by 7Prime (871679)

          $65 for dinner for two is kinda on the high end. I can take my girlfriend out to a pretty nice italian place, or a fine Thai restaurant with good food and a good atmosphere... get an appetizer, dinner and wine or tea for not much more than $30 (I do this often). I find that smaller familly-owned ethnic restaraunts offer the best food and atmosphere anyway, are more interesting, and charge much less than big traditionally posh places.

          • $10 a plate for decent dinner food = $20. $5 each for drinks = $30. Taxes + tip and you're already over the estimate you gave me.

            No offense if you've actually got a local place that serves quality food and drink for less than $50 a couple, including tax and tip, out the door, but I haven't found any I'd want to eat at a second time.

            • by ArsonSmith (13997)

              A local place we go quite often we can have a dinner at about $8-9 a plate (includes chips and 4 kinds of dip, as well as soppapias for dessert) and drinks around $2-3. If we don't drink much at the restaurant we can get out sometimes after tip around $26. And the food is really good New Mexico style Mexican food.

            • by 7Prime (871679)

              Well, partially it depends upon whether or not you order a drink. Usually, at nice places, I don't have anything to drink but water or tea (which is free at most asian paces). Wine at Italian places, maybe Sake at Japanese places, but the rest I just drink water. My girlfriend doesn't drink, so that covers that, and like hell if I'm going to get a Coke at a nice restaurant (pet peeve). We don't have sales tax in our city/state (Fairbanks, Alaska). Cost of living is high, but not quite as high as LA or New Y

      • Consoles want a HDTV

        I have my PS3 hooked up to a cheap-arse Samsung LCD monitor. Previously I had it hooked up to a shitty PAL CRT TV. Either way it is playable and looks a whole lot better than the last generation ever did. I have no idea what person started the whole "you need an HDTV" thing, I mean, if you can see PC games on a monitor, you can certainly play console games with their simpler GUI and more streamlined graphics.

        • by pthor1231 (885423)
          Some things really do need an HDTV if the game was programmed and designed with only an HDTV in mind. For example, Kingdom Under Fire: Circle of Doom is aboslutely HORRIBLE to play on a regular TV, the text was almost impossible to read.
    • by Aladrin (926209)

      This just in: Hobbies aren't cheap!

      That's what gaming is... A hobby. Try buying the equipment for any sport and see if it's cheap. Well, you might get away with a few hundred for some of the really cheap ones... But then, you can do that for gaming, too. Buy a used Nintendo DS and used copies of the oldest games and you can get a lot for $200.

      But move into 'core' gaming and you suddenly need an HDTV and a $400 console, plus a bunch of $50 games.

      People can say 'it makes sense that only higher-income ho

      • by Abreu (173023)

        Try buying the equipment for any sport and see if it's cheap. Well, you might get away with a few hundred for some of the really cheap ones...

        That's why the rest of the world plays Football!
        (real football, not american football)

        Take any small round object (a ball is preferable, but not indispensable), put some stones a couple of meters apart on an alley and get some buddies...

        • by ArsonSmith (13997)

          "Take any small round object (a ball is preferable, but not indispensable), put some stones a couple of meters apart on an alley and get some buddies..."

          Those are freaking expensive!!!

  • Now... (Score:3, Funny)

    by TehZorroness (1104427) on Thursday October 23, 2008 @11:05PM (#25493327)

    If only I could get laid...

  • Average household income... does that include the basement as well or just the main floors?

    • by corsec67 (627446)

      Don't you mean, "does that include floors other than the basement?"

      • by MrMista_B (891430)

        Not sure if English is your first language or not, but I'm pretty sure that what was written, "does that include the basement as well or just the main floors?" is what was meant.

        • by corsec67 (627446)

          I was making a (rather poor, apparently) attempt at a joke based on the stereotype that gamers live in the basements of their parents house.

          I know that the OP meant exactly what he wrote.

          Yeah, English is my first language.

        • Actually, there is a significant difference between the two questions as worded. The original question "Does that include the basement as well or just the main floors?" indicates the main floors are used in the calculation by default AND the basement may be excluded from the calculation by default. The second question "Does that include floors other than the basement?" indicates the basement is used in the calculation by default AND that other floors may be exluded from the calculation by default. So, cl

      • by ArsonSmith (13997)

        There are floors other than the basement?

        What else have you NOT TOLD ME!!

  • What defines a gamer? (maybe it's supposed to be computer gamer?)

    The majority of console/computer/card/board gamers are people under 30. This is not even worth refuting as you can simply ask any retail worker in any store. Anywhere.

    Where's the data from?
    How would you poll gamers who are the extreme antisocial type?
    Why is this posted as news when it's obviously wrong? (based on the article claims)

    // How many people are PC gamers? board gamers? console gamers? ccg gamers? what is this study even about?

    • by Free the Cowards (1280296) on Thursday October 23, 2008 @11:46PM (#25493701)

      Right, because retail workers know everything.

      Hint: older console gamers may be ordering their stuff online. Or simply making quick in-and-out runs to the store instead of hanging out all the time because they have nothing better to do.

      • by Jack9 (11421)

        For the products there are numbers, the percentage of online sales is under 80% in all cases (that they aren't only available online). The vast majority of games are not available online only. The number of games bought FOR children is nearly impossible to determine except by firsthand knowledge. Retailers see higher numbers and have consistent experience. As per my comment.

        • by Moraelin (679338) on Friday October 24, 2008 @03:04AM (#25494943) Journal

          Actually, unless any of those retailers actually did a proper study, you're probably just seeing selective confirmation at work. Selective confirmation works like this: if you really want to believe something, you'll notice all the confirmation, and conveniently forget all the counter-examples.

          One prime example of this is, well, all the "women can't drive" machos. Everyone of them can tell you a dozen anecdotes where some woman was driving only 60 in a 50 zone and "holding up the traffic". Everyone of the them is swift to hand-wave an excuse as to why it doesn't count or is just normal, if you point out a guy doing something even more stupid. But the funny thing is, last I saw a statistic from an insurance company (you know, the guys who tally up the accidents because they pay for them and have to adjust their premiums based on it), the average woman caused only _half_ as many accidents per mile driven as the average guy. Actually the absolute worst category isn't the women, it's the very young guys who drive like it proves their penis size. So that skewed perception doesn't actually match reality.

          Which is why we do studies and polls, and don't rely on what Jack who works at GameStop remembers offhand.

          Additionally, retailers... which retailers? Did you poll all of them? Or what?

          Because for example the biggest games retailer in the USA is WallMart, not the mom-and-pop franchises that all the kiddies hang around. For every kid that hangs around EB Games all day and maybe buys a new game every two months, there'll be several moms and pops who get their stuff from WallMart and move on. And a bunch of other people get their games from electronics supermarkets like (at least here) Saturn, MediaMarkt, and the like. You won't see hordes of kids hanging around the aisles there. And I doubt that any given employee at such a big store has the time to hang around and see who takes what off the aisles.

          So if you're using some games-only shop as your source, you're looking at a prime representation of the Biased Sample [wikipedia.org] fallacy. What you see is actually just saying what kind of people hang around their shop, not a random sample of gamers as a whole.

          It's like having a poll on Slashdot and concluding that 90% of the population are computer-savy nerds, and 50% run linux on the desktop. Or like having a poll on Sony's site and concluding that 4 times more people have a PS3 than a Wii, and 5 times more have a PSP than a DS.

          The number of games bought FOR children is nearly impossible to determine except by firsthand knowledge.

          Actually that "firsthand knowledge" is skewed again. Especially during the peak of the "games are for children only, and women never play games" mentality, a lot of people and especially women pretended to buy their games for a non-existent kid. Just because that seemed like the more socially acceptable kind of thing.

          So unless said employee actually followed that guy/gal home and saw who's playing the game, it is _not_ first hand knowledge of it. It's at best an pretentious ass trying to defend a stereotype.

          • by Jack9 (11421)

            Actually that "firsthand knowledge" is skewed again.

            I don't think you understand what firsthand knowledge means. There is no skew in firsthand knowledge since the buyer knows who it's for. Since every method of polling is inaccurate via the Bias Sample fallacy (which it is) why is it any more or less wrong? Where is the study?

            • So basically... (Score:5, Insightful)

              by Moraelin (679338) on Friday October 24, 2008 @04:26AM (#25495357) Journal

              So, basically, you just told me that only the buyers know who they buy it for. Yet you insist that studies which actually asked the buyers are wrong, but the perception of some retail employee who didn't is better? Because you just used the latter as some kind of proof or at least hint that the former are BS. I'm not sure I follow that logic, then.

              • by Jack9 (11421)

                Yet you insist that studies which actually asked the buyers are wrong

                Did not say, much less insist that. You are inferring that is what has happened by the same article that is referencing data without sourcing.

                but the perception of some retail employee who didn't is better?

                I did say that they are a verifiable source (especially since you can probably find one who does ask). This "study" isn't to be found making it not verifiable. How do you know that the study doesnt consist of asking 1 or 2 retail clerks

                • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

                  Yet you insist that studies which actually asked the buyers are wrong

                  Did not say, much less insist that.

                  You didn't? What's this then...

                  The majority of console/computer/card/board gamers are people under 30. This is not even worth refuting as you can simply ask any retail worker in any store. Anywhere.

                  • by Jack9 (11421)

                    Where's the study that actually asked buyers? Nowhere. I did not insist nor say they were wrong, they don't exist (unless sourced). I did say that you can ask any retail worker to conduct a survey that you can verify. You claimed that they would be wrong (which doesn't mean anything).

                    SO many people willing to accept data that only accepts their view as opposed to being skeptically critical to data that challenges traditional assumptions (and other surveys). Extraordinary claims require basic evidence.

            • There is no skew in firsthand knowledge since the buyer knows who it's for.

              No skew, but a very small sample size.

      • by markimusk (669429)

        Bingo, I'm 37 and haven't been into a brick and mortar game store in ten years, I buy all my games online.

    • The majority of console/computer/card/board gamers are people under 30. This is not even worth refuting as you can simply ask any retail worker in any store. Anywhere.

      You have numbers to back that up? These studies show again and again that those presuppositions are NOT in fact true, that gaming is not any longer a pre-college thing so much as an adult pass-time.

      • by Jack9 (11421)

        My numbers are as real as theirs except ANYONE can get corraboration through any convenient outlet. As per my comment. Where's the actual study? Seeing the study should reveal the inherent bias/misinterpretation that leads to these _ridiculous_ claims.

        • by Etrias (1121031)

          My numbers are as real as theirs except ANYONE can get corraboration through any convenient outlet.

          What numbers are you talking about? You have no numbers. As far as I see, you have an opinion, backed up by no data or even your precious "firsthand knowledge". You're like the guy who keeps saying a falsehood over and over again in hopes that it will convince someone that it is, in fact, the truth.

          The IGN article is not the actual study, but a press release about the study. Here's their methodology:

          Research was conducted in two phases, a quantitative overview of gaming households among the U.S. online population, and a follow-up qualitative deep dive among the key segments in the gaming market.

          The quantitative research was conducted in June 2008 by Ipsos MediaCT, the technology, media and entertainment division of Ipsos. Approximately 3,000 respondents completed the 25-minute online survey among an online representative population of 12- to 54-year-olds. Respondents qualified based on whether they owned a modern gaming console, handheld system, or a PC/Mac that is used to play games.

          Follow-up qualitative research was conducted by Ipsos Understanding UnLtd. in August 2008. Three focus groups were carried out in Los Angeles, immediately followed by three in-home ethnographies to further assess how videogames are incorporated within the household.

          If you want the actual study, why don't you contact Ipsos and get it. You clamor for firsthand kn

          • by Jack9 (11421)

            Research was conducted in two phases, a quantitative overview of gaming households among the U.S. online population, and a follow-up qualitative deep dive among the key segments in the gaming market.

            That doesn't describe methodology. That describes anything from sending out mailers to people who sent back registrations to EA then polled people at E3 to god-knows-what. I have posted additional "studies" that show different data and that took 3 seconds to find on google.

            • by Etrias (1121031)
              Good God, could you be any thicker than what shit you're happening to post. You know where I quoted that from the press release...from the section marked "Study Methodology".

              I think you are offended at the whole average age conclusion of the study, rather than the other ideas it postulates. Why else would you be arguing about why some pimpled clerk at EB thinks the average age of the buyers in his store?

              You know what, I checked out your "studies" (don't think I didn't notice you put quotes around th
    • by Dunbal (464142) on Friday October 24, 2008 @12:51AM (#25494197)

      Where's the data from?

            Since my wife is the market research manager for Latin America for a 'Fortune 500' company, I am quite familiar with Ipsos [ipsos-na.com]. They do all sorts of market research, and are among the best in their field. Of course without seeing the actual design of the study neither she nor I can comment on how accurate the information is, but knowing how this company works I assume they are not pulling numbers out of their backsides. They usually don't, unlike other market research firms I could mention.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Drasil (580067)
      I'm 35 and an avid (Linux) gamer. I don't go into game shops because: they don't sell Linux games, they don't sell the kinds of games I like, they try and sell me stuff I don't want, they are full of annoying kids (often that includes the staff). Come to think of it I don't think many of my game playing friends go into those shops either.
    • by Jack9 (11421)

      Here's some other "studies" that also have no data on how they came about their age demographic numbers:

      http://www.e-strategyblog.com/2005/10/demographics_of.html [e-strategyblog.com] (35% under 18)
      http://www.igame2.com/community/demographics/ [igame2.com] (40% under 18)

    • This creates more questions (bad study)

      Generating questions is not itself a sign of a bad study.

      Generating questions about the study is (often) a bad thing; it means the article is unclear or lacks information.

      Generating questions about reality is (often) a good thing; it means there's more science to be done because there's rich system of causality and "moving parts" beneath the surface. IOW, there is a "there" there.

      [and if I had actually read more than the summary, I might have chimed in with my opinion on whether it is indeed a bad study].

      -- Jonas K

      • by Jack9 (11421)

        Title was too short to include "(study is false on it's lack of face)". I'm still looking for the ACTUAL findings, instead of this glorified summary that may be completely made up for (insert alternate purpose).

        • Ahhhh right, I get it now. You don't understand why we don't give your assumptions more credit than their summary. Well, why don't we indeed...

          This is not even worth refuting as you can simply ask any retail worker in any store. Anywhere.

          I'm still looking for the ACTUAL findings, instead of this glorified summary

          Often wrong but never in doubt.

          I personally like the last quote the best ;)

          • by Jack9 (11421)

            I'm still trying to figure out why something on /. is supposed to have more merit than a random user with no agenda.

        • study is false on it's lack of face

          I'd run that through babelfish, but I can't work out what language it's supposed to be.

          • by Jack9 (11421)

            It would be false on it's face, but there is no study, leading to the wordplay mixed with a metaphor. Luckily english is a high context language and you could realize there was a point you were missing.

    • by Catil (1063380) *
      It might be accurate if the study was conducted in Florida.
    • They don't like to hear that grandma at the nursing home who plays gin rummy on Yahoo is a gamer. But the opinions of hardcore gamers are getting to be less and less important as the market expands. Grandma is seeing the ads that pay for gin rummy, and that's what counts.

      "Gamer" no longer refers to an elite group of nerds with too much time on their hands. It means anybody who plays computer and video games (and mobile phone games, and handheld games, and...), because that's where the money comes from.

    • I'm a forty-three year old who buys 2-3 games a month and rarely, if ever, goes to a retail establishment because they are full of snot-nosed kids and moronic employees. Why go to Gamestop when I can get them delivered to my house with Amazon, or through Steam?

    • by mollymoo (202721)

      The majority of console/computer/card/board gamers are people under 30. This is not even worth refuting as you can simply ask any retail worker in any store. Anywhere.

      The only time I've ever actually queued for a game was for GTA4 on release day. Plenty of kids and 20-somethings in the shop, but the people in the queue - you know, the people actually buying something - were more mature. Younger people hang about in game shops and occasionally buy something, more mature people are far more likely to have bet

  • those who only own one or two consoles wouldn't really qualify as a gamer in my book.

    You would need to own at least two consoles and a handheld or just a PC to be a gamer in my book.

    And that average income is way above mine. I've been a gamer for 27 years. I don't make that much money.

  • I don't think they'll ever truly be *gone* until a few more choose to, uh... "de-bunk" from parents' basements.

    Oooh! Burn!

  • by davidfromoz (801492) on Friday October 24, 2008 @02:08AM (#25494625) Homepage Journal
    If you believe that gamers use games to stay up to date on new technology you'll believe anything.

    The only thing a study that says gamers are wealthy and more likely to invest in new technology and movie tickets confirms is that IGN would like to attract advertisers.
    • by Etrias (1121031)

      If you believe that gamers use games to stay up to date on new technology you'll believe anything.

      There was some truth to this at one point. Not so many years ago, I'd know with precision which chipset was better than another because of how it performed the games I was playing at the time. This was also around the time I'd play with the MTU settings to get the most out of my connection.

      But now, there's little real need. I tend to buy games on their promise of fun, not on their blistering requirements or "mind-blowing" visual effects (is it weird that it's always the visual component?). My PC is

  • by William Baric (256345) on Friday October 24, 2008 @03:08AM (#25494975)

    "there's no question that gaming has very much become more a social activity than a solitary one"

    I wonder how old is the guy who made that comment. When I was a kid, video games were mostly a social activity. I don't remember going much to the arcade alone and most console games were fun only when played against someone else or at least trying to beat his high score. With games like Baseball or Sea Battle for the Intellivision there was no single player mode at all!

    • by edcheevy (1160545)

      No, the games of our youth were social activities with other gamers, so that didn't count as real social activity. When they say "becoming social" they're referring to all the non-gamers who are playing these days. And who are now considered gamers...

      *head explodes*

  • I wonder if all of these wonderful statistics (more dates, more sports, more movies) could be confounded with the average age of gamers? If the demographic skews younger the correlation with gaming isn't necessarily causation.
  • Now, I wonder what *leads* to the gamer stereotypes: I'd guess *that* has something to do with the common herd's disdain for intellectuals

  • "but the value of the gamer as a marketing target can be seen in a variety of ways. 39 percent of gamers said that friends and family rely upon them to stay up-to-date about the latest technology." as opposed to an overwhelming result for mature gamers being prominent. all statistics are bullshit. or "variously open".

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