Gamers have long been stigmatized in America. Video games were thought to lead to violent behavior and criticized for its depiction of violence and murder. Video game culture has been regarded as a male cult with its poor depiction of women and minorities. In 2015, Pew Research Center conducted a survey that asked Americans questions about video games and their opinions about gamers. The Pew Research Center also released a report that tried to capture the current attitude towards video games in America. The data was used to gauge the current perceptions about gaming and to understand if there are any truth behind the bad rap video games tend to get.
Perceptions On Who’s Playing Video Games?
Both male and females adults believe that most of the video games are played by males. However, the Pew Research Center found that 48% of females that answered the survey have played video games in contrast to 50% of males. The data shows that nearly the same amount of males and females have played video games.
Although almost half of Americans are playing video games, the Pew Research Center found only 22% of survey takers identified as “gamers”. These are people that would describe themselves as a “fan of gaming or a frequent game player”. In this category more males tend to identify as a “gamer” when compared to females. In the past video games were thought of as a cult following. The rise of cell phone use and the popularity of phone games may have brought gaming to the masses. The Nintendo Wii was a cultural phenomenon and attributed most of its success to marketing towards attracting new gamers. This is seen as the rise of the casual gamer. These are people that enjoy playing video games but are not considered frequent video game players.
What Are People’s Opinions About Video Games?
It turns out that a large portion of Americans are unsure about video games portraying women and minority groups poorly.
- 40% of adults are unsure if video games portray women poorly
- 47% of adults are unsure if video games portray minority groups poorly
American adults also have positive perceptions about video games.
- 47% of adults think that some video games, but not others, help develop good problem solving and strategic thinking skills
- 37% of adults think that some video games, but not others, promote teamwork and communication
- 34% of adults think that some video games, but not others, are a better form of entertainment than watching tv
Many American still believe that video games are a waste of time.
- 33% of adults think that some video games, but not others, are a waste of time
- 27% of adults think that all video games are a waste of time
The current perception is fairly mixed and people are unsure and still forming opinions about video games.
Do People Think Violent Video Games Are Linked to Violent Behavior?
Video games are becoming more prevalent in the digital age. They are becoming more widely accessible to different groups of people and are available in multiple formats. An American no longer has to buy a console to play video games and can casually enjoy playing them. Video games are becoming a more acceptable format of entertainment like movies or television. The gaming industry is also breaking into the competitive sports scenes with eSports becoming an $892 million industry in 2016. Social opinions of video games are becoming more positive. Contrary to popular belief, nearly the same amount of women and men have played video games. Americans are uncertain about video games portraying women and minorities poorly and some believe that they promote team work, strategic thinking, problem solving skills, and communication.