The stereotypical image of a gamer has been out of date for a while now. No longer do we automatically associate video gaming with teenage boys and single men who have no social life. Or at least, if we do, we shouldn’t, as more people than ever before would now be happy enough to include themselves in the category of ‘gamers’.
The rise of the smartphone probably has a lot to do with the increase in the number of gamers. People who might never have bothered to buy a console –or go onto their kids’ console – because it’s too time-consuming are quite willing to play games on a phone because they tend to only require a short amount of time, and don’t require any learning of rules or objectives of the games in order to play. For instance, have you ever played online bingo? There can be few games that are simpler – all you do is decide which game to join and how many cards to buy. The software does the hard part for you – marking off numbers as the calls are made. It even logs any win automatically and the money gets credited into your account automatically on sites such as Winner and 888 bingo.
In an Internet Advertising Bureau survey into the online habits of people in the UK, 54% of respondents said that they preferred to play on their mobiles above any other platform and 25% of those played on the mobile every day. It makes a lot of sense that people do the majority of their gaming on a mobile device. You have it with you almost all of the time, and you can just tap into a game whenever you have a few minutes.
As well as the fact that there are now many first time gamers who play on their mobiles, there’s also an increase in the amount of family gaming that goes on. An Entertainment Software Association report earlier this year stated that 62% of gamers in the USA now play games with others, either in person or online, and a majority of gamers play with their family members or friends. Of the people taking part in the ESA survey, 32% said they played with their family, 18% played with their parents, 42% played with friends and 14% played with their partner or spouse.
When asked the reasons for playing video games with their children, the top reason given was that it’s fun for all the family (88%), while the second reason was because their kids asked them to (84%). Of the parents who took part in the survey, 42% played games with their children at least once a week and 58% played them at least once a month. More than half of the parents interviewed (56%) viewed video games as a positive part of their child’s lifestyle, although 83% placed time limits for their kids when it came to gaming.
It’s not really that surprising that so many of us game and now game with our families. For many parents of under-18s today, the vast array of games and devices to play them on is something we only were able to fantasise about as kids ourselves. We’re enjoying what’s there for the kids of today – and for us, too!