Yes, I Game

by Jon Davis 6. January 2008 18:10

I still find it irritating when non-gamers look down on me as someone who needs to "grow up" when I admit I still play PC and Xbox 360 games. But I keep having to tell them, "Games aren't for kids. I'm 30 years old; I'm still roughly the average gamer age."

These statistics are pretty telling:

  • The average game player is 33 years old and has been playing games for 12 years.
  • The average game buyer is 40 years old.
  • 38% percent of all game players are women. In fact, women over the age of 18 represent a significantly greater portion of the game-playing population (30%) than boys age 17 or younger (23%).
  • In 2005, 25% of Americans over the age of 50 played video games, an increase from nine percent in 1999.
  • 44% percent of game players say they play games online one or more hours per week. In addition, 32% of heads of households play games on a wireless device, such as a cell phone or PDA, up from 20% in 2002.

I can't speak for everyone, but I believe that one of the big reasons why my interest in games never waned is because, frankly, it was my generation that saw the industry develop and blossom in the first place. When I was a little kid, Pac-Man was it. And even my sisters played that; I still have memories of looking over the shoulder -- er, around the waist, rather -- of my oldest sister playing Ms. Pac Man when I was, like, six years old when we visited the skating rink. And as my blog sidebar points out (as of this entry), it was in playing computer games that I knew that I wanted to be a programmer when I grow up, although I knew even at the age of twelve that it wouldn't be games I would program, it would be stuff that makes the economic world turn.

Generation Y (twenty-somethings) and kids these days grew up with the dazzling 3D games my generation could only slobber over. For us, a lot of the fluff is still very new to us. The original Unreal and Tribes and Quake 3 still seem new, so the new stuff like Lord of the Rings Online and Crysis are more jaw-dropping amazing. But for kids, it's mostly boring old school crap; they're a lot more picky and they find the MMORPGs called "Real Life" and "MySpace" just about as fascinating.

I spend more than ten hours a week playing games. But I'm not sure if that's hard core. I still can't say what game I'm playing on any given day; I play games either for curiosity of new things (like Call of Duty 4) or for nostolgia (like Team Fortress 2). On the other hand, I did finish Mass Effect not long ago in a pretty short amount of time, what a treat!


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About the author

Jon Davis (aka "stimpy77") has been a programmer, developer, and consultant for web and Windows software solutions professionally since 1997, with experience ranging from OS and hardware support to DHTML programming to IIS/ASP web apps to Java network programming to Visual Basic applications to C# desktop apps.
Software in all forms is also his sole hobby, whether playing PC games or tinkering with programming them. "I was playing Defender on the Commodore 64," he reminisces, "when I decided at the age of 12 or so that I want to be a computer programmer when I grow up."

Jon was previously employed as a senior .NET developer at a very well-known Internet services company whom you're more likely than not to have directly done business with. However, this blog and all of have no affiliation with, and are not representative of, his former employer in any way.

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