I’ve never been a gamer.
I’ve played plenty of games, to be sure. I’ve even been completely obsessed with some games, to the point where every waking hour outside of work or school was spent playing them. But I’ve never felt like a gamer.
Part of the reason I’ve never felt like a gamer, even at the heights of my gaming, is because I never felt like I fit the image of a “typical” gamer. I’m not a socially awkward, sex-deprived teenage boy or fat old guy with questionable hygiene and diet consisting of Mountain Dew and Hot Pockets, I would think. I’m not a gamer. I just play games sometimes.
South Park’s representation of a typical gamer
At the time, I was probably in my mid-teens, and only slightly aware of how untrue this stereotype was. Anyone who identified as a gamer, in my teenage mind, fit into at least part of this stereotype and, since I didn’t, I couldn’t possibly be a gamer.
Of course, the thing about stereotypes is that they’re not exactly representative of an entire population. Sure, there are gamers who fit that description, but they’re the exception, not the rule. There are gamers with social lives that would make mine look like I’m a hermit, gamers in happy, healthy relationships, gamers with great hygiene, gamers who would never pick up a can of Mountain Dew, gamers who are neither a teenage boy nor a fat old guy.
And, of course, there are gamers who aren’t even male…
The Entertainment Software Association (ESA) reports, in their 2012 Essential Facts about the Computer and Video Game Industry (graphic below), that 47 percent of all players are female, and adult women comprise a greater portion of the gaming population than teenage boys (age 17 and under). This statistic gets ripped apart by some critics, though, who argue that the numbers are diluted because the survey takes into account casual gamers as well as hardcore gamers – people who play Angry Birds while riding the bus as well as people who dedicate hours to raids in World of Warcraft. Hardcore gamers, critics argue, are usually not female.
ESA Gamer Demographic Statistics: Gender
At least, not yet.
More after the jump »