Studies Find Gamers More Affluent, More Employable than Non-Gamers

Dennis Faas's picture

Think that video game-playing son of yours is nothing but a bum? Well, guess again. A recent study obliterates a number of common perceptions about gamers, including their age, level of education, employability, and income.

According to both Canadian and American studies recently launched to investigate the subject, gamers are not the slobby, pizza-eating and pizza-faced basement dwellers we may have thought. Instead, U.S. researchers Ipsos MediaCT found that the average age of gamers is a stunning 40. Even more surprising, 55 per cent of all gamers are married, another 48 per cent have kids, and 57 per cent, well over half, play games with their kids.

Our gender stereotypes have been shattered, too. According to the report, half of all gamers are women.

These aren't just "casual" gamers either. Though the report doesn't appear to have specified which system most gamers used, 82 per cent of them played for an average of 7.1 hours a week, or at least sixty minutes a day. (Source:

The report is probably more shocking for those that don't play games than those who do. The video game age launched in the 1970s with hits like Pong and Pac-Man, and then blasted into the stratosphere with the release of the Nintendo Entertainment System in 1985. That was twenty-three years ago, making the average 12 year old in the mid-1980s about 35 today. Let's face it, gamers (myself included) didn't simply give up our beloved hobby when we hit the drinking age; we just drank beer while playing Mario Kart or Halo.

The results are still a bit startling, however. Most previous studies of this kind pegged the average gaming age around 25-30, and few claimed that half of all gamers were women. Keep in mind that the Ipsos study was compiled for, one of the most popular gaming sites online.

Still, Fox Interactive, parent company of IGN, is adamant the results are legitimate and noteworthy. "Families are getting very involved and parents are becoming more supportive about gaming," said Judit Nagy, vice-president of consumer insights with Fox Interactive. "It's fun and interactive and a nice way to play with mom and dad."

Gamers aren't just old and lazy, either. They're 11 per cent more likely to play sports than non-gamers (we're assuming Madden 09 doesn't count), while the average age of a gaming household is about $24,000 higher than a non-gaming household ($79,000 versus $55,000).

How's that? Well, aside from the chance that these wealthier families are just those that can afford gaming consoles, researchers believe that gamers are often tech-savvy and intelligent enough to figure out the sometimes complicated puzzles involved in titles like Civilization: Revolution or strategy games like Empire at War. "If you are good at games, you probably have some aptitude for computer science," a Canadian computer science professor remarked. "One of the things games teach you to do is experiment. That is exactly the skill you need to learn. In effect, games are ways of teaching computer skills." (Source:

Well, I'm convinced. Time to go put in some Halo 3 time -- after all, I've got a tough exam coming up.

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