Pew Study: Adults Play Games, But Not as Much as Teens

December 9, 2008 -

In September, the Pew Internet & American Life Project told us that games are pervasive among 12-17 year-olds, and that teen gamers are not the closeted nerds that some critics would suggest.

This week Pew has followed up with a report on the gaming habits of adults and finds that, while they don't play as much or in the same fashion as teens, many do play. Some highlights of the Pew data follow:

Regarding age and gaming:

  • 53% of American adults age 18 and older play video games
  • 21% play everyday or almost everyday.
  • While the number of video gamers among adults is substantial, it is still well under the number of teens (97%) who play.
  • Younger (18-29) adults are considerably more likely than older (65+) adults to play games (85% vs. 23%)
  • The likelihood that an adult is a video gamer decreases significantly with age.

Regarding other demographic factors and gaming:

  • Men (55%) are slightly more likely than women (50%) to play
  • Urbanites (56%) are more likely than rural-dwellers (47%) to play
  • Thise with some college (57%) are more likely to play that those with a high school education (51%) or those who did not complete high school (40%)

Older gamers prefer computers; younger gamers like consoless:

  • 38% of all adults play on computers, while 28% play on consoles
  • 61% of 18-29 year-olds play games on consoles
  • 86% of teens play on consoles

Virtual worlds like Second Life haven't captured the public imagination:

  • Only 2% of gamers have ever visited a virtual world
  • Only 6% of adults have ever created an avatar

Comments

Re: Pew Study: Adults Play Games, But Not as Much as Teens

I'd also like to point out that it shouldn't be surprising that adults play less than teens. And we should be ashamed to admit it. I know some of us are because it shows video games as again, a kid's medium.

I mean take for instance baseball. Now sports are considered to have an across the board age range. What I mean by that is no one scoffs at it as being a "kids medium". Now I'll bet that adults are less likely to play baseball than teens. Why? Because its just plain hard sometimes to make time for your favorites hobbies.

Re: Pew Study: Adults Play Games, But Not as Much as Teens

I don't think that's as much a factor as you're giving it credit for, honestly. When you're under 18, you've got little to do EXCEPT consume media. I know that before I spent 8 hours a day working and lived with my folks (and had no real responsibilities) I played probably a minimum of 3 hours of games a night, and that was expanded to far longer sessions most of the time.

Nowadays, I still play a lot, but I have to make time for cooking, cleaning, exercise, work, personal projects, my wife, keeping in touch with friends, and keeping up with the news; let alone bills and long term planning. I just have less disposable time. Adult in general prioritize their time; they'll ditch things that they consider without value -- not every considers gaming 'valuable' enough to occupy their time. Just like some people don't read books, or watch movies, or browse the internet, the same that some people don't exercise, or cook for themselves, or clean up after themselves. It's something you make time for if you want it, and something that can be easily dismissed if you don't.

Re: Pew Study: Adults Play Games, But Not as Much as Teens

Pew Pew Pew...?


-- teh moominz --

Re: Pew Study: Adults Play Games, But Not as Much as Teens

Some things I would like to point out from reviewing the numbers:

Income makes very little difference when determining who plays games. People making less than $30k per year are almost just as likely to play games as those who make over $75k per year.

Parents play more games on more systems than non parents. That shows me that gaming is becoming more of a family affair.

PCs are the most common platform for gaming. So much for it dying.

E. Zachary Knight
Oklahoma City Chapter of the ECA
MySpace Page: http://www.myspace.com/okceca
Facebook Page: http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1325674091

Re: Pew Study: Adults Play Games, But Not as Much as Teens

Stating the obvious once again...

Re: Pew Study: Adults Play Games, But Not as Much as Teens

What a break through, those with more free time and less responsibility are more likely to play video games, and play them more often and longer, other than the elderly who don't understand the technology.  No one would have qualified that as common sense, or that the critics are full of shit like normal.

It is nice to see the statistics still.

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Re: Pew Study: Adults Play Games, But Not as Much as Teens

This data is, for the most part, information we already know, interpreted in questionable ways.

"The likelihood that an adult is a video gamer decreases significantly with age."
This makes it sound like as you get older, you're more likely to stop gaming, rather than the wave of grown-up gamers that really exists, pushing the age barrier back every year. It's not that older people stopped gaming, just that the never started.

One thing that is interesting is the shift in console/pc demographics. Do they take in to account multiplatform players? I split a lot of my gaming time between consoles and PC, and I doubt I'm alone. But the data does show pretty clearly that the older audience seems less interested in purchasing dedicated hardware for gaming. It makes me think of the older people I know who won't game because the controls are intimidating.

Overall, there's a lot of factors that are kind of absent from these numbers -- like the more educated are more likely to play? I'd like to see that compared against affluence, as I bet lower income people are less likely to play (or be able to play).

Still, good to know they're collecting data.

Re: Pew Study: Adults Play Games, But Not as Much as Teens

Atually it does take into account multiplatform gamers. Take a look at the charts made here:

http://www.gamasutra.com/php-bin/news_index.php?story=21430

It shows that in the 18-29 range 68% of gamers play on PC and 75% play on consoles. so they do take that into account.

But as the demographic gets older, the more the percentages change to favor PC. The reason is most likely as you said. They already have a PC, why get something that only plays games.

E. Zachary Knight
Oklahoma City Chapter of the ECA
MySpace Page: http://www.myspace.com/okceca
Facebook Page: http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1325674091

Re: Pew Study: Adults Play Games, But Not as Much as Teens

I use a console almost exclusively for gaming. I just prefer them better.

A PC can have better control schemes and better graphics, however, I like the concept of something dedicated to gaming. I don't have to worry about my system contracting a virus, I know that every title I buy will work for the system, and I also know (in the case of Sony) that my current set-up should be good for around ten years.

PC is the supieror set-up, but most developers tend to be considering PC second to consoles as consoles yield higher game sales, so I also have more of a selection when it comes to gaming. (since I am not a big fan of most FPS games and only one RTS ever made a good impression on me, I don't really have much use for PC gaming.)

"

Re: Pew Study: Adults Play Games, But Not as Much as Teens

"I also know (in the case of Sony) that my current set-up should be good for around ten years."
I would be very shocked if they are still making games for the PS3 is six years, let alone ten. I fully expect to see a PS5 in five years or less (3-4 is more likely) with the PS3 phasing out within two years after that. While Sony is trying to market the PS3 as something of a methusalian monolith, I have my doubts about the reality of it.

As for PCs being secondary, that's really only for the 'secondary' hardcore market. In a net profit sense, more money is being made (as I understand it) from casual games, and that money is being made on the PC, through companies like PopCap, Big Fish Games, PlayFirst, and through services like Steam and iTunes (though that's more to the portable market, but it is related).

The big budget hardcore games might bring in a lot of cash, but they also cost a lot to make (and they don't always break even). Additionally, when you aren't spending money to buy additional hardware (since most PC casual games use the bare minimum of system resources by nature) you have more money to spend on games (and casual games are inexpensive to develop, making them cheaper to buy and more profitable).

Re: Pew Study: Adults Play Games, But Not as Much as Teens

So educated people are more likely to play video games than uneducated people?

Put that in your joint and smoke it, Jack Thompson et al!

If you go crazy then I will still call you Superman.
 
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E. Zachary Knightquiknkold, I stand corrected on the buttcrack thing. Still, I know of no fabric that actually does that.09/17/2014 - 5:05pm
Andrew EisenSo... it's unethical to discuss the ethics surrounding public interest vs. personal privacy?09/17/2014 - 4:45pm
prh99The source for the game was just released not long ago, it's at https://github.com/keendreams/keen09/17/2014 - 4:43pm
prh99An Indiegogo champagin bought the rights to the early 90's game Keen Dreams to make it open source and release it on GOG etc. https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/let-s-get-keen-dreams-re-released-legally09/17/2014 - 4:42pm
james_fudgeAlso http://www.breitbart.com/Breitbart-London/2014/09/17/Exposed-the-secret-mailing-list-of-the-gaming-journalism-elite09/17/2014 - 4:29pm
Andrew EisenI read the Kotaku story. Nowhere does it say anything close to "Gamers are white bigoted sexist losers." It's commenting specifically on the crap being slung at people discussing gender issues in games. So, what's the problem?09/17/2014 - 4:06pm
Andrew EisenYeah, I can imagine Spiderwoman posed like in your second link.09/17/2014 - 4:00pm
Andrew EisenThat's not the same pose. Spiderman (who is wearing an actual outfit rather than body paint) is crouched low to the ground. Kinda like a spider! Spiderwoman has her butt up in the air like she's waiting to be mounted.09/17/2014 - 3:59pm
quiknkoldAndrew Eisen : Kotaku did a whiole article on it, as did others http://kotaku.com/we-might-be-witnessing-the-death-of-an-identity-162820307909/17/2014 - 3:59pm
CMinerQuiknkold: Do you think that there are no cases where a piece of art (painting, movie, videogame, comic cover, etc) is unambiguously sexist?09/17/2014 - 3:58pm
quiknkoldand can you imagine if Spiderwoman was posed like this? http://goodcomics.comicbookresources.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/spider-man1.jpg09/17/2014 - 3:58pm
Andrew EisenWhat games outlet is writing articles saying "Gamers are white bigoted sexist losers"? What examples have you seen of journalists being paid off for favorable reviews? Who's shaming what now? What's the problem with critiquing the Spiderwoman cover?09/17/2014 - 3:57pm
james_fudgeWell there's def "politics" involved in this issue. The movement was hamstrung by bad behavior and illegal activites here. We would have covered it more if not for those unforutnate happenings.09/17/2014 - 3:56pm
quiknkoldhttp://i.imgur.com/v3p8Bwf.jpg Here you go EZacharyKnight. Spidermans Buttcrack.09/17/2014 - 3:56pm
quiknkoldwhile another person doesnt see it09/17/2014 - 3:56pm
quiknkoldJames_fudge : I feel like the people challenging Games are the same people who Challenge Art because Michaelangelo's David shows Wang. The problem is, alot of things with Games are left to the eye of the beholder. One Person see's Sexist Antiwomen views.09/17/2014 - 3:55pm
E. Zachary Knightquiknkold, I don't recall Spider-man's costume conforming to the contour of his buttcrack.09/17/2014 - 3:54pm
quiknkoldIts the same Agenda Fueled Journalism youd find on Fox News or MSNBC. I appreciate Gamepolitics for just stating the facts.09/17/2014 - 3:54pm
james_fudgeQuiknold: you're entitled to your opinion on creatives being left alone. Others are entitled to their opinions that they should be challenged.09/17/2014 - 3:53pm
quiknkoldI can point specifically to the Spiderwoman Milos Manara cover as an example. Not strictly VG Related, its still the same example of journalists attacking Milos's artwork, claiming its sexist, when its the exact same pose Spider-man has done on a cover.09/17/2014 - 3:52pm
 

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