Gaming has been a popular pastime for decades, influencing how humans interact, express themselves and learn. Despite the stereotypes surrounding gamers, many people of all ages enjoy and engage with games. In fact, gaming now takes up 21% of respondents’ entertainment leisure time. This is more than broadcast TV and even social media and streaming services like Netflix and Hulu.
In addition, 36% of American adults play video games to relieve stress and 40% do so to escape from their everyday life. The escapism and entertainment that games provide is one of the main reasons they remain so popular. Video games provide a platform for players to practice and improve their skills in a safe environment. They can develop their hand-eye coordination, reaction times and decision making. They can also take them into other worlds, be they familiar or far away. These experiences offer an alternative to the more mundane aspects of their lives and have been recognized for providing impactful storytelling, inclusivity and accessibility.
Those who identify as gamers use games to fulfill a variety of purposes, from relaxing and unwinding to socializing with friends and learning new skills. The games they play vary, as well. They can be complex puzzlers that test a player’s brain, or they can be fast-paced action games that require quick reflexes and decision making. Regardless of the genre, all gamers must possess certain fundamental abilities in order to succeed: good hand-eye coordination and rapid decision making. They also need to be able to adapt quickly and understand the mechanics of their game.
Gamers can be found at all ages and genders, but the stereotype tends to revolve around young, adolescent males who are obsessed with video games and their online community. This is a limiting perception and can cause people to avoid games or think of them as a pastime for a younger audience.
The reality is, the average gamer is 35 years old and almost half are female. The gaming industry continues to grow and has grown significantly in the last decade alone. It is a multi-billion dollar industry and there are now more women gamers than ever before. It is important to break the outdated stereotypes of what a gamer looks like and encourage more people to play.
According to Bartle Player Taxonomy, there are four categories of gamers: Achievers, Explorers, Socialisers and Killers. Achievers are the most common type of gamer and have a love for achieving rewards and increasing their in-game score. They are the most likely to be found playing competitive games or multiplayer online titles.
Explorers are the second most common persona and spend a significant amount of their gaming time exploring detailed game worlds. They value storytelling and tactics/strategy, while the feeling of adrenaline and excitement come in at a close third and fourth. Unlike the Ultimate Gamer persona, they are less concerned about having the latest hardware and tend to watch content more than play themselves.