Gaming is changing – and so are the gamers

Today, we have a new definition for the gamer. It’s no longer possible to say that they’re male or female, young or old because the gamer can be every man, every woman and every kid. Thanks to having almost constant access to the internet – on a computer, tablet or mobile phone – we can all play games whenever we want, and we do.

A few years ago it was a different story. There were only certain groups of people who played video games – and they were often either under the age of 18 or men who fitted a certain stereotype – a loner, happier to be absorbed in his console or pc gaming than taking part in real life.

But thanks to the rise of the smartphone, now everywhere you go, you see people playing. They could be waiting for their kids while they have a swimming lesson, sitting in the doctor’s waiting room or waiting for a friend in the bar. People love to play, and now that they can anywhere, anytime, they do.

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What people play varies hugely. There are so many games that can be downloaded to play on a mobile, from real money games such as bingo and blackjack that you’ll find on sites such as Winner, bgo or Gala through to all those hand-eye coordination games such as Bejweled. What mobile games often have in common, though, is that players don’t need to learn how to play; the games are either intuitive or so simple that the player doesn’t have to do anything much in order to play.

Just take a look at bingo as an example. It’s a game where your card’s numbers have to match the calls made. You can’t do anything to make this happen – they’ll match or they won’t, they’ll match before other people’s, or they won’t. If your card happens to have all its numbers marked off first – you’ll win. If you visit Winner bingo you’ll see how easy it is to play.

In a survey by the Internet Advertising Bureau in the UK this year, 4,000 people were questioned about their gaming and online habits. The survey showed that there are now more people aged 44 or more who game (27%) than teenagers and younger children (22%). And the same survey reported that more than half of the people who took part (54%) prefer to game on their mobile phone than anywhere else.

However, other gaming platforms are still popular – 51% of the respondents said they played on their computer, 45% on a console and 44% on a tablet. And a survey by the Entertainment Software Association seemed to suggest that gaming was becoming more of a family activity. Of the parents who had gamer children, 42% of them played video games as a family at least once a week. And in families with children under the age of 18, 68% of parents believed that computer and video games were educational, while 55% said it was a good way to spend family time together.

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Gaming is changing to include an ever wider mix of different games; and the people who game are becoming an increasingly varied group, including old people and young people, people who like to play alone or with others. With more and more games being introduced all the time, the tag ‘gamer’ will be applicable for more and more people. Gamers may once have been in the minority, but they’re certainly not anymore.

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