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Typical Aussie gamers are not geeky kids: survey

The average Australian gamer is 24-years-old, most likely male, plays at least one hour a week, loves action and racing titles, and has one other person in the house they play with, according to a new survey of Australian gaming habits,

The average Australian gamer is 24-years-old, most likely male, plays at least one hour a week, loves action and racing titles, and has one other person in the house they play with, according to a new survey of Australian gaming habits,

The GamePlay Australia 2005 survey, undertaken by Bond University for the Interactive Entertainment Association of Australia (IEAA), found that the common perception of gamers being young is inaccurate, with the average age being 24-years-old. Gamers are still predominantly male, however, although women are gradually closing the gap. The survey found 38 percent of all Australian gamers are female.

The survey polled more than 3700 Australians in 2009 households about their game preferences and habits. It found that 76 percent of all Australian households have some sort of game-capable device (such as a computer, console or handheld), but only 54 percent of Australian adults have played a computer or video game in the past year. But those adult gamers are far from the stereotypical antisocial geeky loners -- 60 percent of gaming households have more than one player (20 percent have three or more) and 42 percent are parents of children under 18-years-old.

70 percent of Australian gamers play at least once a week, with 62 percent playing for an hour at a time. And far from being addictive or compulsive, most gamers tend to play in moderation, with only one percent of gamers saying they play every day for more than four hours in each session.

The GamePlay survey found that the PC is the most popular device amongst gaming households, with 91 percent having a computer for playing games. 57 percent of gaming households have some sort of console device, while only 14 percent have a handheld. Action is apparently our favourite game genre (41 percent), followed by racing (18 percent), strategy (13 percent) and sport games (11 percent).

And while only 27 percent of Australians knew there was no R rating for games in this country, 88 percent say that the more adult rating should be introduced. Currently, MA15+ is the highest rating a game can receive in Australia, as opposed to R18+ for films. Any game deemed to have content not suitable for MA15+ is banned for sale, as was the case this year with the Hot Coffee-enabled versions of GTA: San Andreas. IEAA President John Watts said the survey results would be used to further push the Federal Government into introducing an R classification for games.

Other findings of the GamePlay Australia 2005 survey include:

  • 88 percent of parents who play video games say they play games at least occasionally with their children;
  • 72 percent of parents who play games and 63 percent who don't say they set the rules for their children about the type of games they can play;
  • More than one third of Australian gamers use the Internet to play;
  • More than 50 percent of gamers have a TAFE, university or postgraduate qualification;
  • 83 percent of gamers and 76 percent of non-gamers say games are good for learning;
  • 64 percent of gamers and 50 percent of nongamers say games are a social activity.

The following table from the GamePlay Australia 2005 survey shows the type of gaming devices that can be found in Australian households. The figures have been broken down in Gamers (survey respondents who play games), Non-gamers (survey respondents who do not play games but have others in their household who do) and Web gamers (Web respondents to the GamePlay survey).

Device in household for playing games (%)
Survey group
National:
Gamers
National:
Non-gamers
Web gamers
Personal Computer 90 94 100
PlayStation 2 45 22 46
Xbox 21 11.1 42
GameCube 4 2 26
Game Boy Advance 11 5 29
Game Boy Colour 8 4 17
Nintendo DS 5 1 12
PSP 2 0 3
PlayStation (One) 19 8 26
Nintendo (N64) 11 6 26
Sega Dreamcast 2 1 8
Other 5 2 0

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