Being a gamer is definitely becoming more socially acceptable, but there's still a certain set of stereotypes that come with the territory. Luckily, Cheat Code Central has pulled together all of the facts and figures in order to set the record straight. Maybe then we'll finally be able to go back to doing what we're really good at: making people look stupid.
I work as a video game journalist, and whenever I'm asked what I do for a living, people sort of roll their eyes and tell me to grow up and get a real job. Typically, I dismiss their self-important commentary using the back of my hand, but I may have discovered a more academic conversation ender.
Last year, the Entertainment Software Association performed a bit of research on the types of people playing video games. In it, the ESA found that 68% of the current gamer population is above the age of 18: averaging about 30 years old.
These numbers are actually a little more conservative than a handful of other studies. Much of the other research places the average gamer's age somewhere around 37 years old, which would mean that most gamers could run for President. Take that, mom.
Those of us who have survived a 14-15 hour gaming binge have probably walked away with a pretty significant headache. In the past, we would have likely blamed our pounding head on the flickering television screen, but science is an argumentative jerk.
A group of German researchers at Ludwig-Maximilians University published a study in 2010 showing that "no associations were found for television viewing, electronic gaming, mobile phone usage or computer usage." In other words, your headache probably came from all the drinking that you don't remember.
IQ tests, in their current form, measure two things: crystalline intelligence (the ability to utilize skills, knowledge, and experience) and Fluid intelligence (logical thought and problem solving). Since the 1990s, crystalline intelligence has remained relatively stable throughout the population. However, Fluid intelligence scores have seen a rapid upturn within the last two decades.
Ever since we've been collecting IQ measurements, the numbers have been ever-so-slowly on the rise. Psychologists call this the Flynn Effect and no one is entirely certain what causes it. However, Fluid intelligence has been consistently rising by about 0.36 points since the early 90s, which is a significant increase.
Gabe Zichermann, who lectures frequently on game-related psychology (called Gamification), theorizes that video games are the cause of the population's increase in Fluid intelligence. In his 2011 lecture at the TEDx conference in Brussels, Zichermann explained that people increase their fluid intelligence by doing five basic things: seeking novelty, challenging themselves, thinking creatively, doing things the hard way, and networking. He then pointed out that all five of these things "occur in very successful video games."
He may be completely full of crap, but I'm going to keep playing, just to be safe.