The term ‘gamer’ is quickly becoming meaningless

Posted: December 15, 2015 in Game Articles

gamerstereotype

by Ben Gilbert via Tech Insider

Despite what you may believe, the statistics don’t lie: men and women play video games in a roughly equal proportion. In fact, more women than men own video game consoles.

And yet, not many people self-identify as “gamers.”

More men than women call themselves gamers, but among the largest demographic group that plays video games — 18 to 29-year-olds — only 33% of men identify as “gamers,” while just 9% of women in that group identify as such.

Those statistics all come from the Pew Research Center, which issued a massive new report on gaming demographics on December 15. The responses come from “2,001 adults, 18 years of age or older, living in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia.”

This isn’t exactly surprising news.

There’s a vast gulf between the culture surrounding major console games like “Call of Duty” (which are largely marketed towards young men) and the culture surrounding massively popular mobile games (which are often marketed at mobile phone users of all genders).

screen shot 2015-12-15 at 12.50.34 pm

The results were similar across racial lines, too. Around 19% of Hispanic respondents “say the term ‘gamer’ describes them well” compared with just 11% of black respondents and 7% of white respondents.

But what does the term “gamer” mean?

That was at the heart of several essays last year, including one particularly incendiary one on game industry trade website Gamasutra, titled, “‘Gamers’ don’t have to be your audience. ‘Gamers’ are over.”

That piece and others like it are at the heart of the ongoing “GamerGate” saga — described by Pew as, “a debate centered on the identity politics of the gaming community.”

Pew defines the term “gamer” as, “a fan of gaming or a frequent game-player.” But for many it’s a loaded term with varying interpretations.

The term “gamer” is often associated with a stereotype: men of a particular age group (13-25, give or take), often white.

But does that stereotype make sense in a world where games are everywhere — not just in living rooms, but on smartphones and tablets? And what about the millions of millennials who grew up with video games on everything from school computers to cell phones to game consoles at home? What about those people with parents who also play games?

The results of Pew’s survey indicate that, no, the stereotype doesn’t make sense in the modern world. Despite the above ridiculous stock image.

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