Bond University has just finished its annual Digital Australia report, completed on behalf of the Interactive Games & Entertainment Association, and – as always – the results are fascinating. Some of them even dovetail rather nicely with the game retail figures NDP released yesterday.
There are some interesting, if self-evident stats on show, especially when compared to a similar survey published by the ESA in the US, looking at American gaming habits. For instance, the average Australian gamer is 32 years old (and has been playing games for 12 years), whereas his or her American counterpart is 30, and apparently getting younger. However, when it comes to the percentage of female gamers, Australia and America are in lockstep, at 47 per cent of the total gaming population.
As to what women are playing, the idea that there’s a huge split in gaming habits is pretty much blown out of the water. Across nearly every category of game, women make up between a third and half of all players, with categories such as sports and platformers having more women playing. Both Australian and US reports find that women are the fastest growing demographic, and that parity is very close.
The purchasing figures in Australia are particularly interesting. Only 41 per cent of gamers buy new in a store, with 37 per cent of gamers preferring to purchase purely digital, or buy their boxed games online. No wonder retail sales are down.
There’s also one piece of data that shows a fascinating split between the reasons people play games on console/PC or a mobile device. Over 40 per cent of gamers play on mobile devices to ‘pass the time’; however, if the reason is ‘to have fun’, most people play on a console or PC.
You can find more detailed breakdowns of both reports here (IGEA) and here (ESA), but the real question is what can we, as gamers, take away from these figures?
Well, the first thing I’d point, for all those male gamers out there who were quite mystified by why female gamers and their supporters were getting up in arms over sexism and other matters – there’s a reason. Gaming is NOT a male-dominated pastime any more, and those fighting for better gender representation in games and the industry have a right to it.
The findings also put an interesting spin on the ongoing struggle to get an R18 rating for games in Australia.
But I think one of the most important things to take away is a single figure: 93 per cent of Australian households are gaming households.
Everyone’s a gamer. I think that’s something that’s kinda... positive.