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Among Gamers, Adult Women Vastly Outnumber Teenage Boys 276

Posted by timothy
from the ok-but-in-a-fight-who-would-win dept.
MojoKid writes: The Entertainment Software Association has just released its 2014 report on the state of the video game industry (PDF), and as the title of this post suggests, there have been some significant shifts since the last report. Let's tackle the most interesting one first: Females have become the dominant gamer, claiming 52% of the pie. That's impressive, but perhaps more so is the fact that women over the age of 18 represent 36% of the game-playing population, whereas boys aged 18 and under claim a mere 17%. Statistics like these challenge the definition of "gamer." Some might say that it's a stretch to call someone who only plays mobile games a "gamer" (Candy Crush anyone?). Mental hurdle aside, the reality is that anyone who plays games, regardless of the platform, is a gamer.
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Among Gamers, Adult Women Vastly Outnumber Teenage Boys

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  • Normalization (Score:5, Insightful)

    by namgge (777284) on Sunday August 24, 2014 @06:07AM (#47741109)
    There are, of course, roughly ten times as many women over 18 as there are males in the range15-18.
  • Or... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Aboroth (1841308) on Sunday August 24, 2014 @06:12AM (#47741127)
    Mental hurdle aside, the reality is that anyone who plays games, regardless of the platform, is a gamer.

    Or, people who play video games are called "video game players", and the subgroup of people who make it a huge part of their lives are "gamers". Or some other definition. I don't know, I don't really care. If you want to generate page hits by making boys feel uncomfortable by playing mind games with a definition of an adjective they use to describe themselves, whatever. If "gamer" is going to be hijacked to mean something else now, then the community will use a different word.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 24, 2014 @06:19AM (#47741145)

    The Entertainment Software Association should be reprehended for their poor methodology.
    Casual Gamers and Hardcore Gamers are two very different market segments, and grouping them together as Gamers is useless and disingenous.

    They spent vastly different amounts of money. They want different things from their games. If you design a game for the average of the two, you will miss both.

  • by loufoque (1400831) on Sunday August 24, 2014 @06:39AM (#47741179)

    It depends what you're trying to qualify.
    If it's for marketing purposes, then I suppose that the only thing that matters is how many titles are bought by unit of time, and how much money per title.

  • Sigh (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ledow (319597) on Sunday August 24, 2014 @06:40AM (#47741183) Homepage

    Just clarify your fucking terms.

    A "gamer" is someone who plays games.

    However, if you are only referring to "serious" gamers who invest hours of training to play a particular game, then specify that. Of course, most of the Candy Crush generation aren't doing that (they have a life for a start).

    If you want gamer to distinguish between those who buy hardware for their PC to game properly, even that definition won't help you - I've had two people ask me about desktop PC's capable of playing The Sims 3 for their teenage daughters, and you need a decent graphics card for that.

    What you want is to use "gamer" as some undefined term that meets your particular clique of game geek. It doesn't. It never has. To me a gamer is someone who was around in the 80's and will happily fight through 10-minute loading screens, unsuitable hardware, pump money into an arcade machine, for proper 8-bit graphics (not the fake-8-bit-retro OpenGL shite you get now) on a game that's almost, if not actually, fucking impossible to complete.

    Sorry, guys, but most of you just aren't "gamers". I enjoy a TF2 jaunt as much as any of the other 800 games on my Steam account, that I've had before some of the gamer kids around now were even born. I've run CS servers from 1.6 to the current day. But I still sit and play Altitude like a demon.

    Gamer is not a definition beyond "one who games". If you mean FPS player, say it If you mean professional-level twitch shooter, say it. If you mean someone who plays new titles on new hardware, say it. If you mean someone who plays lots of games, or for a long time, or spends lots of money, say it. If you mean someone the industry can sell games to, say it.

    But "gamer" means nothing. My mother has completed every Mario game in existence (up to and including Wii U), used to play Horace Goes Skiing back in the 80's, broke four Palm Pilots playing Bookworm Deluxe so much, played Gin Rummy on our first DOS machine, and has caused more money to be spent on the gaming industry than the rest of her family combined. So the industry will target her. And get money from her. And she will buy stuff. To "ignore" her because she's not the stereotypical gamer playing whatever game is considered "real" at that moment would be insanity for the industry.

    Maybe she won't join you in a 32-player CS:GO competitive tournament (though she did used to win at Turok quite a lot). But you can't say she's not a gamer any more than anyone else.

  • by Charliemopps (1157495) on Sunday August 24, 2014 @06:55AM (#47741217)

    What is said at the end of the summary,

    Mental hurdle aside, the reality is that anyone who plays games, regardless of the platform, is a gamer.

    is obviously not true.

    "Gamer" is associated with people who spend most of their time playing games inside their mancave.
    People who play a bit of casual gaming on the go from time to time are not gamers.

    Right... the basis of this article seems to be "We changed the definition of the word, but ignore that and look at our crazy numbers!!"
    Women used to read magazines at the doctors office, but those are always 3yrs out of date so they switched to facebook. That's gotten boring over the years so now there's Candy Crush, which is a slightly more sophisticated version of the old pocket poker or pocket baseball games of the 80s. Not to demean the activity, but comparing that to what Teenagers are doing with a PC or console is a bit of a joke.

    That being said, ask me about this while my wife is around and they are the same damned thing, she spends all day "Gaming" so I should be able to play as much RoboCraft as I want to. (a plug for my current favorite game: http://robocraftgame.com/ [robocraftgame.com] )

  • by houghi (78078) on Sunday August 24, 2014 @07:15AM (#47741279)

    Statistics like these challenge the definition of "gamer."

    No they don't. The chalange the understanding of statistics.
    The information given is useless. First statistics do not change definitions. If you have a definition of a gamer and the outcome is unexpected, you do not change the definition. You change your perspective.
    Secondly 'outnumber' in absolute numbers in a group that in itself outnumbers the other group and then make a conclusion is stoopid.
    Car example : The number of adult female Ford drivers vastly outnumbers the number of 18 year old Bugatti drivers.

    So first you must turn the numbers into percentages. e.g. X% of teenage boys are gamers. Y% of adult females are gamers.
    Next you must clearly state WHAT a gamer is.
    Depending on that definition, you might also need to include frequency.

    And again, even if the outcome is 99.9% of +65 old women are gamers, it does NOT change the definition of gamers. It might change your perspective of gamers, but not the definition.

  • Re:Or... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by naff89 (716141) on Sunday August 24, 2014 @07:57AM (#47741413)

    For me, "gamer" has always carried the same connotation that "film buff" does: just as I wouldn't consider somebody who occasionally goes to the movies a "film buff", I wouldn't necessarily consider a person who occasionally plays games on their phone to be a "gamer".

    At the end of the day, though, my litmus comes down to whether the person considers video games to be an important part of their life and their identity. For me, video games were my entire childhood, and are my primary hobby today. And even though my girlfriend never played the hardcore CRPG's and FPS's of my youth, playing Sonic, Kirby, and Nintendo GameCube with her little sister is an incredibly important part of her childhood and remains important to her in adulthood.

    To me, that makes her a "gamer", regardless of whether she's played Baldur's Gate, Half-Life, and Ocarina of Time, or not.

  • by msobkow (48369) on Sunday August 24, 2014 @08:08AM (#47741453) Homepage Journal

    You're the one who's confused. There is no "mancave" involved in gaming, except for reclusive pimply-faced acne victims in Momma's basement.

    Over the years "gamer" has evolved from meaning someone who played pen and paper rule-based, card, or board games to include video games, and all the sub-genres thereof. The typical portable device nowadays has far more CPU and graphics power than the 386's that ran the Doom series, never mind the original Atari or Nintendo platforms.

    It's only *kids* who think "gamer" has anything to do with a particular style of game or a particular demographic. Gamers are of all ages, genders, and races. But, hey, if you're convinced that "gamer" means pimply faced male playing first person shooter wargame on My Favourite Platform, knock yourself out. You're wrong, of course, but I've learned many years ago you can't convince people who "know they're right" of anything.

  • Re:Normalization (Score:5, Insightful)

    by beelsebob (529313) on Sunday August 24, 2014 @08:34AM (#47741521)

    Depends what you want to get out of these stats. If you want to find out in which group you're more likely to find a gamer, if you have a same sized sample, then sure, you're right, you need to normalise it. If you want to find out who you should target when you're designing a game you want to sell to people, then no, no you don't want to normalise it.

  • by TheNastyInThePasty (2382648) on Sunday August 24, 2014 @08:37AM (#47741533)

    The way I see it, calling someone who only plays Candy Crush a gamer is like calling someone who only plays Putt Putt a golfer. As for the number of hours and the amount of dedication, they can be indicated with qualifiers like "Occasional", "Casual", or "Hardcore".

  • Re:Amazing (Score:5, Insightful)

    by knightghost (861069) on Sunday August 24, 2014 @09:49AM (#47741799)

    This suggests that we have passed a point where gaming has become dominantly a women's hobby.

    I disagree. As usual, they miss the measurement of "quality" and instead dumb it down to "quantity". Playing Candy Crush 5 minutes a day is not the same as playing the Xbox until 4am.

  • Re:Amazing (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Wycliffe (116160) on Sunday August 24, 2014 @09:56AM (#47741823) Homepage

    Candy crush players are not gamers anymore than people who like to watch Star Trek on occasion are Trekkies

    Why did you bother to use "on occasion" for trekkies but not for gamers. I would define a gamer based on intensity.
    I would define someone who is playing games 4-6 hours a day as a gamer even if those games only consist of candy crush, farmville, and word with friends.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 24, 2014 @11:09AM (#47742099)

    This whole conversation is "no true Scotsman" through and through...

  • Re:Amazing (Score:4, Insightful)

    by geminidomino (614729) on Sunday August 24, 2014 @11:20AM (#47742161) Journal

    If you're going to get pedantic about statistics, you should really get to know your friendly neighborhood Margin of Error [wikipedia.org]. Often ignored in fluff pieces, being aware of his existence is still vital.

  • by narcc (412956) on Sunday August 24, 2014 @11:59AM (#47742351) Journal

    Don't underestimate the dedication of the members of your local Wii Bowling League. They've been retired for years, and have nothing else upon which to focus their attention.

    Who hasn't seen an elderly woman truly distressed when she can't play her pogo games due to some technical problem?

    I was talking to a woman last week who is still upset that Yahoo! dropped the Mahjong Solitaire game she liked months ago. (I provided her with many alternatives, but she insists that they're not as fun.)

    They have free time. More time than even school-aged children. Their lives revolve around games in a way that the most pathetic WoW addict can only dream about. They set their schedules around their Farmville crops with more consideration than the saddest Otaku does for his Love Plus girlfriend.

    They're hardcore. Those of you who think the term 'hardcore gamer' describes an important part of your identity don't even come close. Of course, they'll never describe themselves that way. Games are what they do, without question, but they don't let that define them. (They'd find it rather sad and pathetic.)

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