Despite the rise of casual gaming among “normal” people, I think it’s safe to say the stereotypical view of gamers is still generally unflattering, possibly involving stained t-shirts and two-liter bottles of Mountain Dew. However a recent survey of 1,000 U.S. adults conducted by LifeCourse Associates (founded by Neil Howe, who coined the term “millennial”) shows that gamers are actually more social than non-gamers -- not to mention better educated and more affluent.
According to the LifeCourse survey 57% of gamers -- defined here as anyone who has played a game on a digital device in the last two months -- agreed with the statement, “My friends are the most important thing in my life,” compared to 35% of non-gamers, and 82% said spending time with their families was a top priority, compared to 68% of non-gamers.
They’re also more likely to hold a college degree (43% vs. 36%) and have a more optimistic view of their own career prospects, with 67% ranking these “very positive” compared to 42% of non-gamers; 45% of gamers say they’re in the career they want to be in, versus 37% for non-gamers, and 65% said they’re “more creative than most people,” compared to 43% of non-gamers.
Unsurprisingly gamers tend to be tech-savvy, with 68% owning a gaming console, compared to 12% of non-gamers, and 61% owning a tablet, compared to 29% of non-gamers. Furthermore 82% of gamers use their smartphones to access social media, compared to 58% of non-gamers. They also have a greater propensity for “cord-cutting” and watching TV on TV, PCs, or mobile devices, with 35% saying they prefer to watch video this way, compared to 17% of non-gamers. Conversely they’re less likely to watch TV alone, at 23%, compared to 40% for non-gamers.
Interestingly the LifeCourse survey also found that gamers are more “socially conscious,” with 76% agreeing that “having a positive impact on society is important,” compared to 55% of non-gamers. They are also more likely to express this by supporting companies that follow socially conscious business practices, with 58% saying its important to buy products from companies that support social causes, compared to 36% of non-gamers.
The old conventional wisdom that most gamers are male has gone out the window, too: LifeCourse found that 52% of video game players are male and 48% female, just a few percentage points variance from the general population.