A gamer is someone who proactively engages in interactive games and self-identifies as part of the gaming community. Video games, tabletop role-playing games, and skill-based card games are all examples of games. In addition to providing entertainment and social interaction, games have been shown to promote learning, increase brain plasticity, and contribute to physical health and well-being.
Gaming can be a powerful and positive activity for many people, but it is important to regulate the amount of time spent playing. Research shows that gamers use a variety of coping strategies to control their gaming habits, including using rewards and chores as incentives to decrease gameplay, seeking social support from friends to limit screen time, and engaging in other activities when playing becomes difficult or unhealthy. This article will look at the different personas of gamers and how they are able or not to control their gaming habits.
Our first persona, the Enthusiast, makes up 4% of gamers. As the name suggests, these are die-hard gamers who live and breathe their hobby. They invest in the latest tech to play their favorite games and spend a large portion of their free time immersed in their game. They will occasionally spend money on content and stream videos to further enhance their gaming experience. This group tends to favor single-player games over multiplayer ones.
The Mainstreamer is the second largest persona, comprising 29% of gamers. These are primarily mobile gamers who focus on casual games and prefer free-to-play titles and subscription services. They also spend a lot of time watching games and streaming content, and are very interested in the esports aspect of gaming. Their top genre of choice is Battle Royale, but RPGs and high-score chasing also rank highly.
This group is the oldest so far, averaging over 29, with their largest age range once again falling into the 10-15 range. For the first time in our study, this persona sees female representation surpass men, making up 40% of this group. They also see a small percentage of non-binary people in this group.
These are gamers who try to manage their gaming habits through various mechanisms, including using reward systems like chores, rewards, and time-outs to curb inappropriate behaviors. However, our participants found that their efforts often fall short of the desired effect. This was mainly due to the fact that they still struggled with impulse control, and it was difficult for them to stop playing. Additionally, some participants reported that they played games when they were feeling down to distract themselves from negative emotions, but that this coping strategy was not effective and actually made them feel worse afterward. This is a significant finding, as addressing these unhelpful coping mechanisms is an essential first step to managing problematic gaming behavior. Interestingly, participants also indicated that they would appreciate having more regulation in place to help them limit their gaming. This could include parental guidance, a built-in scheduler, or other policy solutions to encourage healthy gameplay.