Rumor has it that gamers are creepy, antisocial misfits. That they sit around in their poorly-lit rooms, covered in the dust of a thousand Cheetos, quaffing Mountain Dew and feeling superior to the rest of the world. As a gamer I find that stereotype offensive – I mean, I don’t even like Mountain Dew.
This piece isn’t about whatever borderline-toxic chemical compound you choose to imbibe, though – it is about gaming, the image of which is changing drastically over the course of the last few years. Here are some dry numbers to kick things off: The average gamer is 35 years old. That alone should be a hell of an intimidating number – This isn’t some angsty teen we’re talking about, these are people with jobs, careers, lives and families. Better yet – statistically, out of all of you reading this right now, only 27% are 18 or younger. Scary times for the 10-year-olds on voice chat, right?
But wait, there’s more! Imagine a person of 35 – they have a job, a family, all sorts of adult stuff that are an immeasurable distance from the typical “Nerdy Gamer” image. What’s more, they clearly have disposable income – so they’re probably educated, or at least capable enough to have a job that allows for a hobby like gaming. This is who over 50% of you are. Mind. Blown.
The really impressive part? About half of you are women. When I was a kid, growing up around the time of the massive Internet revolution, there were no girls on the Internet. Everyone knew that. Suddenly, not only are there, but they’re kicking ass along with the best of us. Hell, when my wife needs a break from work, we fire up a Killing Floor 2 server and mow down hordes of flesh-eating mutants in jolly cooperation. This isn’t charity-play, either, when you set the difficulty to low and do 99% of the work. This is more like a Sam Raimi movie with buckets of blood and severed limbs flying sky-high.
If the “WHO” has changed so drastically, what about the “WHERE”? Well, that changed as well. Clearly, I can point to the console revolution – it brought gaming right to the living room, after all, with this magical simple device that can do all sorts of cool stuff and also play games. In fact, I would go as far to say that without consoles being so easy-to-use, gaming would have never kicked off as a mainstream hobby or even a job (said the member of the gaming media).
And let’s not forget the Internet. It permeates our lives, leaving nothing untouched. You can now wake up from insomnia at 2am, load up your favorite multiplayer game and have people you can play with from all over the world. It’s always 5pm somewhere, but it’s also always Game O’Clock on the Internet.
This last part I reserve to the non-gaming crowd that might stumble upon this article by mistake, or have it shown to them by a friend or relative who games. It’s simple. Ready? Here goes: Pick up a controller and go play something. It’s really that simple. Don’t have a controller? That’s fine, there are some excellent games that can be played on your computer – even if it’s a civil-war era machine, I assure you that if it can run your web browser it can run Peggle. Just ask your gaming contact, they’ll point you in the right way.
All the statistics were sourced from the Entertainment Software Association. You can read their full 2016 report right here.Some of our posts include links to online retail stores. We get a small cut if you buy something through one of our links. Don't worry, it doesn't cost you anything extra.