So here’s something I find interesting: gamers. Why do I find them so interesting? Well, as a marketer, the gamer demographic is just fascinating to me. Of the top 1000 YouTube channels, 20% are gaming channels. Gaming channels are the most popular category on YouTube, second only to music. What is interesting to me about gamers is their power, the way they communicate and disseminate information, and how they coordinate things.
The gamers I know are always the first to know about everything and they are super quick to spread information. Gamers are so powerful that they often start major trends and influence pop culture. Where do you think “rofl, “ftw” and “noob” came from? Let it be said that I am not much of a gamer. As much as I love to play games, I can never play the same one for long and often find myself slightly outside this social circle. However, over the last year or so, I worked on a marketing plan for a local gaming store and was quite surprised by what I discovered in my research.
Many people, when thinking of gamers, envision a lazy overweight slobbish kid, vedging out in his parent’s basement, playing Call of Duty into the wee hours of the night. I’m not saying those people aren’t out there (they are), but this perception is not representative of the typical gamer. Here’s a few things you may not know about gamers:
- The majority aren’t kids. One study found that “contrary to the spotty teenage geek stereotype, in 2011, over three-quarters of the adult gaming audience is over the age of 24. The audience is also split down the middle (51% male, 49% female).” Nearly three-quarters of all American households play games. The typical game player has a college degree, a high household income and an affinity for computers, according to George Skaff Elias, the 27 year-old chief developer for Wizards of the Coast and its former brand manager. The average video gamer is estimated to be 37 years old and been playing for 12 years. In 2012, adult women represented a greater portion of the game-playing population than boys age 17 or younger.
- They are very social. Whenever major tragedies happen, I swear there’s always someone who says, “he always kept to himself, didn’t have many friends…just played video games all day. I never thought he’d murder 12,000 people…” I know this is a hot button issue with many, but if violent video gaming always led to violence, then we’d all be dead. Gamers can be extremely social! Have you ever watched people play WOW? MMO players will coordinate raids (and whatever else those nerds do) with dozens of people from all over the world at the same time. It’s just insane. There are tons of other genres of gaming that also involve heavy socialization. Take role-playing gamers. RPG events happen weekly here in Rochester where hundreds of people meet up (in person) to play Magic: The Gathering or Yu-Gi-OH! All of a sudden those basement gamers aren’t looking so lonely and anti-social right?
- Their skills are valuable. Oh, you didn’t think all those hours of hard “work” would pay off? Gamers have a very unique set of skills (que Liam Neeson voice). They get things done efficiently. They work great as part of a team and independently. They are often leaders and they are always strategists. Gamification plays a huge part in marketing plan strategies. With the influx of mobile technology, gamification is becoming a more popular way to attract and retain customers. It’s usually based around rewards programs or promotions (I can’t tell you how hard I’ve worked to achieve gold status on my Starbucks app). Wouldn’t it be great to have people who know how to achieve your company’s business objectives using a game that’s actually fun to play? Click here for some excellent examples of how valuable gamification can be.
So…the next time you start to stereotype gamers, I hope you’ll keep these tidbits in mind.
May the 4th be with you.