Games industry survey finds people playing games

Posted November 21, 2012 by Richard Plant in Editorial

Stop the presses. Hold that train. Close the borders. Big news is breaking. In a survey of some people in the UK, analytical guns for hire Ipsos MediaCT, working for trade group ISFE, have found that some of those people play games. Not only that, but some of the people that admit to fiddling with electronic entertainments are of the female persuasion!

Some of you out there may have heard of Ukie, the trade body that represents the games industry in Britain, but had you heard of ISFE? Nope, me neither. Apparently that august organisation rejoices in being the Interactive Software Federation of Europe, a kind of umbrella organisation that covers game publishers within the EU. Interestingly enough, most of the org’s members are companies like Activision Blizzard, Nintendo and EA, which while they do have a lot of commercial interest in Europe, are headquartered elsewhere in the globe.

Like most ‘reports’ produced by industry bodies, the methodology used in collecting the information is more than a little, well, loose. The data was collected from a sample of 1,307 respondents between 16 and 64 who filled in an online survey. That data was ‘weighted’ against a larger sample of people interviewed offline, who were judged to be nationally representative. Now, its great that the surveyors have attempted to mitigate the possibility of a biased sample group with a larger control, but without information on how the participants were selected, and what methods were used to ensure the survey itself carried no bias, the results are a little suspect. Add to that the extensiveness of their definition of a ‘gamer’ as someone who has played a game on console, handheld, computer, phone or tablet in the last 12 months, and it begins to look unwise to look at the results as more than a vague guide to tastes and behaviour.

ISFE Report

My quibbling aside, the report does provide some interesting data. As many said they preferred to get their games online as to buy them packaged – a fact which is rarely reflected in the sales charts. Just under half of parents said that they were palying games with their children. And, surprisingly enough, 50% of those asked were aware of the PEGI age rating system.

Other headlines from the report were that:

  • 40% of the UK’s online population aged 16 to 64 years old have played games in the last year
  • 46% of these people are female
  • The majority of children aged 6-15 are buying or receiving games
  • People who play games seem to be more sociable and sporty than others; being more likely to be interested in ‘going out to bars and clubs’ (50% vs. 38% non-gamers) and ‘taking part in sport’ (42% vs. 34% non-gamers)

As amusing as playing with pie charts might be, these numbers could actually end up making a meaningful difference to the way games are treated, not least by politicians and regulators.

Ukie CEO Dr. Jo Twist explains: “The survey also really shows the ever growing acceptance of games as an everyday pastime. This is also being seen politically; over the last two weeks we’ve held meetings with 11 senior politicians from the major political parties and all of them had a very positive view of what games could offer society and the economy, giving us more scope to build on our recent political wins of tax breaks and getting children coding.”

You can snag a full copy of the report here.

About the Author

Richard Plant

Author, producer, dreamweaver… also actor. Willing to talk at length about JRPGs for food.