A new study has found that Australians now prefer playing video games over doing almost anything else at home.
This is according to new research from Bond University’s Digital Australia report, which charts Australian game playing and seeks to understand the factors that influence it.
The study also found that the average gamer is above the age of 35 and that 75% of them play games socially with friends. Parents are also playing games a lot more with their kids to form connections and bond with them, with 80% of those surveyed saying that they believe gaming is good for mental health.
The findings this year obviously focus heavily on the impact that the pandemic has had on how we spend our time gaming and you might expect that we’ve been doing a whole lot more of it over the past 12 months.
However, average gameplay has actually decreased by one minute compared with last years results, suggesting not that people have played less, but that more Aussies have come to gaming in the past year, spending shorter amounts of time getting to grips with gaming, and driving average play time down.
Female gamers are also on the rise, with 46% of gamers now being women. This is an increase from 2005 when only 38% of gamers were female-identifying. 1% of gamers report as non-binary.
The vast majority of gamers are working adults, but younger people tend to be more interesting in gaming as a demographic. 15-24-year-olds are the most interested gamers, with 86% of them playing some form of video game.
However, that stays relatively consistent across the ages as they increase, with 61% of 45-54-year-olds also playing games. Interestingly, only 32% of 75-84-year-olds play video games, but 40% of 85-94-year-olds get on the sticks. Something to think about next time you’re taken out by an expert in Fortnite.
The biggest takeaway from the study of 3,152 Australians is that gaming has increased dramatically in popularity during the past 12 months. 2021 represents the first time that gaming ranks in the top three household activities, above things like reading books, listening to the radio, spending time on social media, listening to music, or watching free-to-air TV.
The biggest reason offered for that jump is that gaming allows us to feel connected. At a time when we have been physically distanced from our loved ones, playing games with them across digital networks has enabled us to feel more in touch than we otherwise could have.
“Australians have been connected by games. They have connected to games and with games through the pandemic,” the study says.
“Video games in a pandemic are an important social connector and form of respite.
“Early critics of video games dismissed them as solo and lonely pursuits. Their unidimensional gaze failed to see the most basic characteristic of popular media – the
ability to share experiences and stories”.
“Mercifully, this moment in history provides half of the world’s population with connection through shared communications and media experiences, even if we are physically segregated to limit the spread of disease. For Australia, the lucky country, almost everyone has access to most media, including video games.”