State of play: Dell-commissioned survey shows a widening, diverse audience for video games in 2018

We’ve known for a hot minute that the consumer demographics in the video game industry were A) changing rapidly, and B) already didn’t match the common stereotypes from past decades. This week, Dell and its Alienware subsidiary announced the conclusions of a survey that they commissioned through the Florida-based firm Researchscape, in order to illustrate and define the changing face of the hobby.

Dell’s survey was conducted online in six languages, and encompassed 5,763 people from ages 14 to 87 from 11 countries (Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Japan, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and the United States), all of whom played games on a desktop or laptop machine for at least one hour every week. The survey was 52 percent male and 47 percent female; 57 percent of the respondents were married or living with a partner.

Some interesting takeaway points from the survey include:

  • Players are evangelical about video games, with 52 percent of respondents having introduced multiple friends and relatives to them.
  • Playing video games was not perceived as embarrassing by most respondents. Fewer than 10 percent considered the label “gamer” to be in any way negative.
  • Almost two-thirds of the respondents began playing video games as teenagers or children.
  • 45% of the teenagers in the survey reported that they had formed new friendships through gaming as a hobby.
  • 60% of respondents played video games specifically in order to relax.
  • 40% of respondents referred to themselves as “casual gamers,” whereas 25 percent considered themselves “pretty darn good” at video games, and 8 percent claimed to be professionally capable. 6  percent called themselves “noobs.”
  • The respondents from the United States were the most likely to respond positively to being called a “gamer,” at 42 percent. 60 percent of polled Americans had begun playing video games before the age of 20, and 42 percent of Americans believed that video games had led them to become more strategic thinkers.

Dell’s conclusion from the survey is that “today’s gamer is not the stereotypical teen loner playing in his parents’ basement. He’s a coworker with two kids, the woman at the gym, a fellow volunteer – and most commonly, a spouse, sibling or friend. But they all have in common that they proudly call themselves a ‘gamer.’ “