Today, gamers are a difficult breed to identify. It used to be that you’d be pretty safe assuming that most gamers were male and, quite often, loners. They’d choose time in a darkened room gaming by themselves than taking part in real life. However, according to a report into online habits and gaming that was brought out this year, this stereotype of a gamer no longer applies.
For a start, gamers are no longer predominantly male. A report by the Internet Advertising Bureau (IAB) in the UK looked at the gaming habits of 4,000 people, as a representative sample of the gaming population in the UK. Far from being in the minority, 52 per cent of the gaming population in the UK is female. That’s a 3% increase since 2011.
But does that mean to say that all those women gamers are playing games such as Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare or Grand Theft Auto V? Probably not, but who can say for sure? What the report does suggest is that more and more people are gaming on their mobiles and the kinds of action / shooter games mentioned above aren’t what you’d usually play on a mobile. More than half of the respondents to the IAB survey stated that their preferred gaming platform was their mobile, with 25% saying they played games on their mobiles every day.
You can see the appeal of playing on a mobile as opposed to playing on a console. The games on mobile devices are generally those that require no learning curve to get started; puzzle games like Bejewled and gambling games such as bingo or roulette available at the likes of Fabulous Bingo and Cheers Bingo. Some of the gambling games are even free to play. If you click here for free bingo games at Costa Bingo, you’ll see that many of the games can be played on the mobile, too. All you do is download an app and start playing. For a person who doesn’t have time to play a disc-based game, five minutes of fun on a mobile game can be a perfect alternative.
The favourite video game genres listed in the IAB report put the trivia/ word/ puzzle games as the most popular (33%). These were followed by action/ shooter/ adventure games (18%), role-play and strategy, sports and gambling (10% each), simulation (8%), racing or driving (5%) and fitness or music games (3%).
With so many people playing on their mobiles, should they really be categorised as gamers? Would ‘casual gamer’ be a more appropriate term? In a way, yes, but then again why can’t they be included with the ‘core gamers’? They’re still playing video games, even though few of the mobile games resemble anything you’d play on a console.
But when you read that the numbers of older female gamers are soaring in reports like the one from the Internet Advertising Bureau, you have to take these stats with a pinch of salt. They may be ‘gamers’ for the sake of the stats, but it would be better to specify what kind of gamers they are.