Home Your IT Entertainment Video games now entrenched as a family affair
'Whispered World' video game, Wikimedia Commons 'Whispered World' video game, Wikimedia Commons
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Seven in 10 Australians play video games and 86% of parents who consume video games play the games with their children, according to new research which shows that most Aussie households have at least one device for playing interactive games.

The Digital Australia 2014 report, commissioned by the Interactive Games & Entertainment Association (IGEA), reveals that playing video games remains well-established on the list of favourite Australian past-times, and that more Australians are switching on their consoles, smartphones, tablets, laptops and PCs to play interactive games, which is causing a shift in the make-up of Australia’s interactive gaming population.

Now, Australians in their 40s and 50s make up the largest group of new gamers in the last two years, and those aged 51 and over now make up a fifth of the gaming population.

And, nine in 10 Australian households have at least one device for playing interactive games.

The Digital Australia 2014 report is the fifth study in a series conducted by Bond University and takes an in-depth look at the interactive games sector in Australia, providing data on computer and video games uses and attitudes, as well as broader community concerns and issues around interactive entertainment.

Dr. Jeff Brand, Professor at Bond University and author of the report said, “When we conducted the first report in 2005, video games were seen as a medium aimed at younger children who only played on a console or PC.  Today, the profile of the typical gamer is nearly synonymous with the profile of the typical Australian.”

“We now have three generations of Australians enjoying video games – and we’re engaging with interactive games wherever we go.  

“We might play a quick mobile game on the bus on the way to work, an educational game with the children after school and a family game on the console as a way to spend time with our grandparents on the weekend,” Dr. Brand said.

According to IGEA CEO, Ron Curry, the latest report “reinforces the breadth and depth of Australia’s gaming community.”

“The first generation of Australian gamers are all grown up and playing video games not only for their own leisure, but as a way to connect with their children and their own parents.

“Whether we’re ‘snacking’ on a mobile game or enjoying the immersive experience of playing on a console, it’s clear that video games has truly become as mainstream as playing sports or watching TV.”  

Key findings of the Digital Australia 2014 report include:

•    More than just entertainment – The top reasons older Australians (aged 51 and over) play games is to keep their mind active, challenge themselves and learn.  Coincidentally, these reasons were identified as some of the least popular for younger gamers (aged 16 to 25) who instead choose to play games for social interactions, thrills and to relieve boredom

•    Digital games on the rise, yet consoles still played by the majority of Australians – The report reaffirms the growing popularity of digital games with the number of Australians playing games on a tablet device doubling to 26% in the last two years.  A further 47% of Australians play games on their smartphone device, up from 42% in 2011.  Interestingly, game consoles are still used by the majority of Australians with 63% of households using a console to play video games

•    Technology convergence drives video game consumption – Australia’s interactive games market has reached full market saturation due to the convergence of technologies.  With many devices now offering the functionality to play video games, Australians are able to engage with interactive games anywhere, anytime.  Nearly nine in 10 gaming households in Australia own three or more screens to play games

•    76% of gamers are over the age of 18 – This figure has increased over the years as adults continue to form the large majority of gamers in Australia. In addition, the average age of the typical gamer has now reached a plateau at 32 years old. This aligns closely with the average age of the Australian community which according to recent ABS census data is 37 years old

•    Seven in 10 parents use video games to educate children – This number is also consistent with the previous Digital Australia report, as more parents play video games themselves and understand the benefits. This year, the report also found that 81% of mums play video games and 83% of dads play.

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Peter Dinham

 

Peter Dinham is a co-founder of iTWire and a 35-year veteran journalist and corporate communications consultant. He has worked as a journalist in all forms of media – newspapers/magazines, radio, television, press agency and now, online – including with the Canberra Times, The Examiner (Tasmania), the ABC and AAP-Reuters. As a freelance journalist he also had articles published in Australian and overseas magazines. He worked in the corporate communications/public relations sector, in-house with an airline, and as a senior executive in Australia of the world’s largest communications consultancy, Burson-Marsteller. He also ran his own communications consultancy and was a co-founder in Australia of the global photographic agency, the Image Bank (now Getty Images).

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