Even though video games have evolved in all dimensions, be it technology, rich backstories, varied characters, immersive gaming experience — gaming myths are still unsolved mysteries for many gaming enthusiasts. For an instance:
· What do you picture in your mind when you think of Gaming or Gamer?
· Do you believe in gamer stereotypes?
· Do you have a misconception that games are all fun and frolic and not something serious?
· Do you picture a geeky kid, unkempt and physically unfit, who is socially isolated from society?
The Gaming industry is one of the most misconstrued and misunderstood forms of entertainment of all time. Affine’s Gaming CoE experts did initial level research and ideated various thoughts that could be a still big question mark for many gaming fanatics and gaming communities. In this blog, we are demystifying the common myths and misconceptions circulating around the gaming industry and drawing a fine line between Perception and Reality in the gaming world.
There is much more to gaming than meets the eye.
#Myth No 1: Women Do not Game!
Busting #Myth No 1: Around half the gamer population are women.
To put it in numbers, active women gamers average about 46% around world!
Ever since the early days of the video gaming industry, way back in the 1980s when Arcade games were a fad, the maker of Pac-Man, Toru Iwatani, tried to broaden the demography of gamers by making a game that would appeal to women. Though it is true that gaming initially started as a male-dominated field, the landscape has changed over the years, with the disparity levelling out and the ratio of male gamers to female gamers are almost equal and is in line with the actual population ratios. More game genres like Puzzles, Strategy, and mobile gaming have been included, which have more women gamers dominating the gamer population. With the rise of women in gaming, sexism and sexual harassment have increase towards women. In the process, many women camouflage themselves as men in games, especially in the action-adventure and RPG genres. For all we might know, the number could be higher.
#Myth No 2: The target market for video games is children with no income.
Busting #Myth No 2: The average gamer is 34 years old.
Among the 2.8 billion gamers around the globe now, 34 years age group gamers throw light on the fact that video games are far from being a children-dominated space. Across the overall age group, 80% of the gamers in the US and 78% across the world are above 18 years of age .With the gaming industry being all-inclusive, on the different types of games and new genres, there are a plethora of games that suit the tastes of many adults from the arcade, board games as well as card games. In fact, in India, according to Inmobi, only 10% of the gamers are below 18 years of age, a whopping 59% of the gamers are from the age group of 25–44 years. The older generation is not far behind, with three times more gamers in the age bracket of 45+ years than the below 18-year-old. In fact, 1 out of 5 gamers are above 50 years of age!
#Myth No 3: Games are played only on mobile and consoles.
Busting # Myth No 3: PC, television is gaining traction in terms of on-demand play.
When we think about games, we picture the handheld devices like mobiles and consoles. But games are more pervasive than what you think games are being played on multiple devices and not just mobile. Mobile seems to be the perfect entry point for users who try games to become committed gamers who play games in short intervals throughout the day. In India, 89% of gamers feel the PC will give them a more immersive experience, and more than 37% of gamers would migrate to PC from mobiles for gaming. With Cloud gaming gaining traction, and the demand for on-demand games rising, the television is becoming the go-to device for gamers with the likes of Xbox getting TV apps for game streaming to Netflix making a foray into showcasing games in their catalogue.
#Myth No 4: Video games cause more violence and aggression.
Busting # Myth No 4: Inconclusive studies on the effect of games on violent behavior.
A good chunk of the games from the Action-adventure Shooter and RPG Genre does have graphic content, and there were uproars on how the video games promote violence in the youth. A lot of studies have been conducted so far and have not proved this theory. And the gore factor is regulated and rated by the ESRB (Entertainment Rating Software Board). A new genre of games has popped up that has a calming effect on people called the video game ASMR (autonomous sensory meridian response), which helps people and destress. People are using games as a coping mechanism, and studies have shown a 72.3% year-over-year rise in these kinds of games as of 2021.
#Myth No 5: Ads do not work, no one is interested in them!
Busting # Myth No 5: Success of the Free-to-play model world over says otherwise.
In a usual scenario, advertisements are generally ignored in media, where the users have the option to switch and watch something else. But in gaming, this has changed. The rise of the Free-to-play model or Freemium model indicates that gamers; watch In-Game advertisements in exchange for receiving in-game rewards like in-app currency or premium content, especially in the mobile gaming space. Research from Inmobi shows that 74 % of gamers prefer to watch ads to paying money for game progress in India. And almost 60% of the gamers recall the Ad. And the brands that are traditional brick and mortar are foraying into the digital space, and the gamers have a propensity of buying virtual branded goodies, a classic example of this is the Gucci virtual bag that was sold for 4000 $ in a Roblox game.
#Myth No 6: Games are just for fun and a waste of time; you cannot make money on games.
Busting # Myth No 6: Over 90% of people in research viewed gaming as a viable career! Yes, a Career!
You heard that right! Video games are not just for some brainless fun where you waste time. With 2.8 billion gamers in 2020, according to Statista, the opportunities seem immense. Gaming careers are on the rise from game developers and designers, game researchers, streamers, and gaming influencers. Gaming as an industry is more profitable than other media and entertainment combined, and this trend is here to stay. Esports has been acknowledged as a sport and has made its way into the Tokyo Olympics as an event. With many regulators and bodies in the space of gaming, the options are only going to rise.
#Myth No 7: Gaming leads to social isolation, and gamers are a Social Pariah.
Busting # Myth No 7: Games teach you teamwork, persistence, and perseverance.
With the world isolating itself in the face of the pandemic, this myth could not be further from the truth. Globally everyone turned to games to stay connected. Games have their metaverse universe, where the game helps people stay connected and play together. With the help of social media, gaming helped people stay connected without the physical presence that was a prerequisite in the pandemic. According to a study by Streamlabs and Stream Hatchet, Twitch — the world’s leading live streaming platform for gamers — saw an 83% year-on-year uprise in viewership when the pandemic hit, with over 5 billion hours of content viewed in the second quarter of 2020 alone. Multiplayer games are a perfect platform that helps people learn the concept of teamwork and work cohesively.
#Myth No 8: Video Games have no value add.
Busting # Myth No 8: Games help in overall cognitive health.
Have you ever in your life been chastised when you were young on how useless you are just because you are whiling away time by doing nothing! Well, this is a common misconception that people have about games. Well, there is more to gaming. It improves manual dexterity, increases the brain’s grey matter by boosting brain connectivity, improves visual concentration by enabling one to see objects more clearly in cluttered because of improved spatial resolution, and the list goes on.
#Myth No 9: Video games make you a COUCH POTATO!
Busting # Myth No 9: Welcome to the next-gen AR/VR Gaming.
When it comes to video games, people assume a picture of a person glues to the monitor or screen, who is barely active and is on the way to become a walking heart attack! Games have evolved and have broken this stereotypical image by the launch of many games like the Nintendo Wii Sports, Just Dance, Sports Champion to name a few. These games use technologies like motion sensor capability that mimics a person’s action to play the game. These games have gone one step ahead and become part of people’s lifestyles. Not to mention the advanced technologies that are enabled by Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality like Pokémon Go and The Walking Dead: Our World that are enmeshes virtual space with our real-world environment.
#Myth No 10: Games are consumed at specific times.
Busting # Myth No 10: Games are the new prime-time favorite and not your soap operas.
Gone are those days where gaming was once in a while activity played at a specific time. It has seamlessly integrated into our lives without us realizing it. From committed gamers who spend hours playing games to the casual gamer who opens a candy crush while waiting for a taxi or friend to the child who plays a game to learn phonetics. There is no specific time to play a game anymore. But if you are talking about a specific time that games have taken over, it is prime time. India has always been a land where soap operas dominated the prime time for years. But according to research by Inmobi games have taken over literally; the time games are played the most in India is between 8:00 PM to 11 PM.
To simply put, gaming is one of the most misunderstood industries ever. Video games go further than just play; it is about building communities, an escape gaining knowledge, enabling learning, and teaches us persistence. It caters to a wide variety of human needs and is pervasive in our lives. To conclude our attempt demystifying gaming myths with an anonymous quote, we are sure a lot of gamers resonate with it.
‘I’m a gamer. Not because I don’t have a life.
But because I choose to have many.’
Keep calm and game on!