Over Half of American Adults are Gamers

Posted by | December 8, 2008

A brand-new study conducted by the Pew Internet & American Life Project confirms what many of us here in the trenches already knew; there are alot of grown-up types hammering gamepads these days. According to the study, over half of American adults play video games of some sort, with roughly 20% lured to the screen every day by gaming’s siren song.

Of course, as a supposed adult myself, the only reaction I can offer is, “duh.” My generation grew up on video games, what with the Atari 2600 (I had the woodgrain one!), followed by the Nintendo and Sega, then the Super Nintendo and the Sega Genesis, then the almighty Playstation and the sad, outclassed Nintendo 64. Now, you can get console systems everywhere, I think I got an Xbox once for free with a pizza and a two-liter Coke. Not to mention the handheld systems. Nintendo has sold enough DS units to equip every man, woman, and child in Europe, with a few left over for the housepets.

Of course, as our games become more interconnected, allowing us to play with griefers, cheaters, aimbots, and teabaggers across the globe, they also take up more of our social space. It’s been said that World of Warcraft is a chat room with a game attached, and that’s almost true. It’s very much true for Second Life, which has, for many, taken the place of the old text-only MUCKs for socializing in ghastly ways anonymously. Certainly, more people know me by my Warcraft character’s name than by those ancient syllables bestowed upon my brow at birth. Raise your mouse hand if the same is true for you.

The generation that follows us will fall even deeper into games than we have. They’ve never seen a game that wasn’t 3D outside a web page or on Daddy’s dusty old NES box. Developers will find new ways to simulate and heighten the artificial experience of their games, while third-party innovators will make bank patching their own software into those true game worlds. We’re seeing the start of it now. Second Life can run web pages in-game. World of Warcraft offers plug-ins for playing other games while you’re inside WoW. Spore figured out how to generate huge worlds and complex designs with procedural content. So today, half of American adults play video games, eh?

Tomorrow, the next study will be talking about those American adults who don’t.

Find out more about the the Pew Internet & American Life Project study at this Associated Press article.


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