gamers buck old sterotypes
June 7, 2014

Modern Gamers Don’t Fit Old Stereotypes

Brett Smith for - Your Universe Online

In the 80s or 90s, the term “gamer” might have conjured up images of potato chip-munching loners who spent their summer days wearing sweatpants and sitting in their parents’ basement – but a new study from the live-streaming platform Twitch has found today’s gamer doesn’t fit that stereotype.

According to the survey-based study, today’s gamers – defined as someone who has played a digital game in the past 60 days – are more likely to prioritize social relationships and have a more positive outlook on life than non-gamers.

“It’s a pastime enjoyed by players of all ages: The majority of Americans (63 percent) have played a game on a console, computer, or mobile device in the past 60 days,” the report said about what it called the mainstreaming of video games. “The younger generations who grew up with video games have played into adulthood, while older generations are taking up gaming for the first time.”

Twitch said it commissioned the study because it started to find the demographics engaging with its content didn’t fit the old loner stereotype. The company hired LifeCourse Associates to conduct the study because of LifeCourse’s focus on Millennials – a generation that has embraced Twitch more than any other.

"The old stereotype of the solitary geek gamer is over," Neil Howe, the president of LifeCourse Associates and the person who coined the term ‘Millenials,’ said in a statement. "It turns out gamers today are more educated, optimistic, socially conscious, and connected to friends and family than non-gamers."

The study found 57 percent of gamers reported friends are the most important part of their lives, as opposed to 35 percent of non-gamers who agreed with that statement. Gamers are also less inclined to watch TV alone – 23 percent compared to 40 percent.

The researchers also found 79 percent of gamers claim they have a positive relationship with their families, in comparison to just 63 percent of non-gamers. Gamers also said passing time with their family is a top concern for them, 82 percent compared to 68 percent.

Gamers also reported a better outlook on their lives, with 67 percent saying they were "very positive" or "positive" about their future while just 42 percent of non-gamers reported the same attitude.

The study also found gamers consume media across numerous platforms – with the most popular device being a smartphone, 72 percent of gamers versus 50 percent of non-gamers. With respect to livestreaming, 59 percent of gamers said they watched livestreaming content this year as opposed to 21 percent of non-gamers. With a large amount of livestreaming hours watched last year, the quantity of content and views coming to livestreaming platforms like Twitch are projected to climb.

“We know gamers and have witnessed the incredible level of social engagement and excitement that happens on our platform, but there is still this pervasive misperception that gamers are basement dwelling loners and misfits,” said Twitch executive Jonathan Simpson-Bint. “The study confirmed what we already expected based on our passionate and positive community which is gamers are social, video is their language and Twitch is their platform.”