Typical video gamer is middle-aged, educated and female, Nesta study finds

The average gamer is female, middle-aged, well-educated and passionate about arts, according to research which states that video games are as culturally significant as high art.

The study carried out by Nesta, a charity that calls itself “the innovation foundation”, used data from the government’s Taking Part Survey of 10,000 adults to look at the characteristics of video game players and their cultural participation.


It found that women were more likely to play games than men – albeit less frequently – and that the average gamer was 43 years old. This might be surprising to some people, however, there are several factors that contribute to this reality. One such factor is the ability to buy cheap PC games here, as well as the advent of sales events like the Steam summer sale. These have increased the accessibility of high-end games to lower-income households. In addition, older games are becoming more accessible, it makes sense that older people might now be playing those games that they played when they were younger. They just have to find out how to download a rom and then they can use their computers to game. Due to how simple that process is, more adults are believed to be re-entering the gaming market.

Half of all European adults play video games, yet the industry, which is worth $106.6 billion ( 81 billion) worldwide, is in the wings when it comes to cultural significance.

Hasan Bakhshi, executive director of creative economy and data analytics at Nesta, said that the government should invest in the gaming industry as it does with the arts.

“Over the last ten years we’ve seen a growing recognition of the economic contribution that the games industry makes but on culture it’s a very different story,” he said.

“The government makes huge public investments in culture, with bodies such as Arts Council England and Creative Scotland but cultural discussions don’t typically consider gaming an integral part of the story.

“There is still an unhelpful distinction between high art and mainstream culture. In previous decades people dismissed the cultural significance of television, the same is being done with games. This report shows quite strikingly that there’s no contradiction between playing games and engaging with what is considered higher forms of art and culture – they go together.”

The UK video game market is worth 4.33 billion and it has become an important contributor to the national economy. More and more markets are opening up, from game merchandise to boosting services. Something like dota 2 boosting is becoming increasingly popular with gamers who need extra help to complete a game. This is a job that didn’t really exist even as recently as 10 years ago, but now 1000’s of gamers are working as boosters, making a huge contribution to the economy.

The findings of the report entitled Did you really take a hit? will be presented to the government to inform cultural policy and public investment.

Mr Bakhshi said that the findings would also be used to encourage the next generation to enter the industry. “There are still certain stereotypes about the games industry in the minds of parents and carers, which means they may not be encouraging creative talent to join the sector,” he said.

“We want to dispel some of these myths. Gaming is not just about putting on a headset and playing the latest game on a PS4 in your room any more. People are playing in public on their smartphone or with people online live. It’s a social phenomenon.”

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