Monday, August 10, 2009

Sooner Than Expected

I've written for years that the hysteria over videogames, carefully nurtured by politicians for personal gain, would be ending in the future.

By "future," though, I thought ten years. Maybe fifteen. As it turns out, I think I overshot the mark.

Kevin Gaughan sent me a link to the Pew report Adults and Video Games. Okay, he sent it to me nine months ago, but I kept it in my inbox.

A few bullet points, although I'll be using hyphens instead of bullets:
--"53% of American adults age 18 and older play video games, and about one in five adults (21%) play everyday or almost everyday."
--"97% of teens play video games."
--"57% of respondents with at least some college education play games, significantly more than high school graduates (51%) and those who have less than a high school education(40%)."

Demographics (defined by the report as "the percentage of Americans in each demographic category who report playing games online or offline, using a computer, cell phone or any other kind of gaming device"):
Ages 19-29: 81%
30-49: 60%
50-64: 40%
65+: 23%

That breaks down pretty neatly, for now. It basically goes from 100% of teenagers to 20% for over 65s in twenty-point increments.

However, and this is a big however, there are a significant number of people over fifty who have never been exposed to video games. That's even more true for the 65+ category.

I think it's likely that once "exposure saturation" works it way through the demographic groups, the 50-64 category will be over 50%.

In other words, gaming is reaching critical mass in terms of being a potential voter bloc. It can be argued that it's reached that point already.

I'm not saying that people who play games lack the ability to be outraged over games. In certain circumstances, we all can. What I can say, though, is that people who already play games are far less likely to believe some of the unadulterated bullshit that people like Jack Thompson spew.

In other words, a fear-based environment when it comes to videogames is dead. Profiteering from such an environment will soon be dead as well, because if politicians look at anything, it's demographics. It's no longer going to be possible to cut us away from the herd. We are the herd.

That's both comforting and disturbing at the same time. I'll put that down as a topic for another day.

And yes, we're in the Stanley Cup Finals. Hell, yes.

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