This is a continuation of the Gamer Demographic Survey series that I’m posting, tabulating survey results from 75 participants about their gaming habits, content consumption, and reasons for playing. This post will focus on breaking down play-styles by both gender and age. You can read the original summary post for additional background, method and disclaimers.
Click on any of the smaller graphs for a larger image.
First off, let’s break down the respondents by both gender and age. That way, we’ll have a better idea of the sample sizes we’re dealing with. Interestingly, both genders had an age group that was not represented, but at opposite ends of the age range. No females below 16 answered the survey, and neither did any males over 55. The bulk of responses for both sexes was in the 26-34 range, followed closely by the 35-45 range. The older and younger the age ranges, the smaller the sample size, which may impact the results somewhat.
PvE and PvP
The general direction among game development studios seems to be towards player versus environment (PvE) content in MMO’s. This direction was supported by the respondents, as players almost universally answered that PvE is a style that they enjoy.
Player versus player, on the other hand, did not enjoy such universal appeal, though some interesting trends are present. According to the survey results, the stereotype of PvP being a “young persons game” seems to hold true, as a majority of those who play PvP fell into the 25 and under demographic, on both the male and female graphs. Also somewhat unsurprising is that a greater percentage of males play PvP than females.
Sandbox and Crafting
One of the hot topics of last year revolved around the need for sandbox-type systems to be present for the sustainability of MMO’s. Sony Online Entertainment President John Smedley wrote an entire blog post dedicated to the benefits of such systems. Bloggers and journalists alike pined for the return of the days of open world sandboxes such as Star Wars Galaxies. Strangely, that sentiment didn’t hold true for the survey respondents. Less than half of the 75 answered that “sandbox” was a play style that they enjoyed, and the number was even lower for males. While that may not seem to add up when looking at the male age breakdown chart, remember that the largest age group for males was 26-34, which scored only 8% on the sandbox question. That brought the overall male average way down.
Crafting fared a bit better overall, and was especially popular among female gamers. A whopping 70% answered that they enjoy crafting in-game, compared to only 43% of male gamers. The general age for crafters trends older, as those under 25 showed less interest.
Socializing and Puzzle Solving
Nearly as numerous as those who said they played PvE were those who admitted to playing games for the social aspect. As one might expect, this play style scored slightly higher for females, but generally speaking, both genders scored socializing very high. This may be a bit surprising, considering the stereotype of a backward, socially awkward gamer. However, with ‘social’ being built into every aspect of the Internet, perhaps this isn’t so surprising, after all. According to this survey, at least, gamers are social.
Puzzle solving was enjoyed by about half of the survey respondents. Females were slightly more inclined to enjoy puzzle solving games, but the age for female gamers was a non-factor. On the male side, the 26-34 age group seems to enjoy puzzles more than the others.
Raiding/Instanced Group Content
The topic of raids was a hot one at times last year. One such flame-up occurred as a result of then-LOTRO Community Manager Rick Heaton’s declaration that raiders made up only a tiny portion of the LOTRO player base. This statistic was hotly contested not only within the LOTRO official forums but also within the MMO player base as a whole. So it is with this (perhaps flawed) survey result that I leave the readers. The number of players who answered that they enjoyed raids and instanced group content was not a minuscule percentage. In fact, at least half of every single age-group answered that they participate in instanced group content, with the only exception being the male 46-55 range, which only had four respondents total. Perhaps even more interesting, the number of female players who answered that they enjoyed this play style was a whopping 75%, including all four women aged 56 and up.
Stay tuned, I’ve got more data analysis to do. I’ve still got to look at content consumption and reasons people play!
Featured Image by The Bees on Flickr