How are Australians using digital games? (Part two)
Welcome to part two in our series on digital gaming in Australian households. Did you know that 67% of Australians play video games? You can learn all that and more in part one of this series, where we look at the key findings from the Digital Australia Report 2018, who’s using what device (hint: it’s personal computers), the popularity of virtual reality and why data is posing a real problem for the downloadable game market.
Digital Australia 2018 is an empirical study about digital games in Australian households with a focus on demographics, behaviours and attitudes. Interactive Games and Entertainment Association (IGEA) commissioned Bond University in 2017 to publish a report titled Digital Australia Report 2018. The Nielsen Company provided Bond University with raw data from the survey for statistical analysis at the University.
In this article, we’re going to focus in on why people are playing games, their intentions and the massive benefits of spending time gaming.
Why we play
[Games] have helped my puzzle-solving abilities. Have helped me become closer to some people. My fiancé and I first became friends through video games as a conversation topic. (Male, 25)
Like watching TV and movies, listening to music or reading a book, video games serve purposes for a diverse audience. People in the study spanned across a spectrum of reasons for gaming, ranging from entertainment to more “serious” motivations.
Pokémon go helped me to exercise. (Male, 37)
The top ten reasons why people play include:
- Have fun – 16%
- Pass time – 15%
- Relax/Destress – 14%
- Keep mind active – 13%
- Be challenged – 11%
- Feel excitement – 8%
- Social interaction – 6%
- Do the impossible – 6%
- Learn – 6%
- Exercise – 5%
Video games help me think strategically. (Male, 33)
I think video games have taught me to think logically about how to solve problems and, in the case of two-player games, they’ve taught me to be patient with other people and how to win and lose gracefully. (Female, 34)
Fostering a creative community
Social interaction is such a big part of playing digital games. Players are always looking for new experiences and ways to create with games. The way they do that is through engaging with the community by watching strategies through wikis, walkthroughs and YouTube videos, watching gameplay streaming online and attending games culture events in person
- 47% of people say they have watched YouTube videos of Gameplay
- 34% have created walkthrough videos, wikis to share gameplay knowledge
- 31% have participated in esports
- 30% have attended games-culture events such as Comic-Con, E3 and Supanova
- 25% have made machinima, which is the practice of producing animated films through the manipulation of video game graphics
- 24% tried to make gaming software
Advantages of gaming
There are undeniable advantages to playing games. For the aging population, there is a massive potential of video games for aging well including increasing mental stimulation, fighting dementia, encouraging open-mindedness and maintaining social connections. Overall, most of the respondents agreed that video games improved their thinking skills, dexterity, emotional well-being and anxiety.
The digital gaming business
With the market for games expanding, so has the business. Digital game sales have increased by 20% in the past three years, generating $3 billion in sales. The many digital gaming start-ups in this space confirm what many Australians believe too – that making games in Australia would positively affect the economy, creating a diverse selection of creative jobs for developers, writers and artists.