any respondent who reported playing games online and/or said he used any one or more of the following devices to play games: desktop or laptop computer, game console, cell phone, Blackberry, some other handheld organizer or a portable gaming device.The entire 5% difference could be accounted for by the use of gaming consoles, which 35% of men reported using compared to 21% of women. On all other devices, men and women were equally likely to play games, with computers (desktop or laptop) being the most common device used. Parents (66%) were more likely than non-parents (47%) to play games.
The wide definition of games in this survey may explain the differences between this and other studies which have found a significant male bias in gaming. Recall that Reiss et al (2008) reported that men found video games more rewarding due to their territorial aspects (see 2/13/08). Several authors have suggested that men and women prefer different styles of games (11/30/07). If so, console platforms may not be as likely to offer the games preferred by women.
Personally, I don't think it's the type of games offered that makes the difference. On all the other devices listed, a user is likely to already have it up and running, and the activation energy to switch to a game is much lower. The main reason that I don't play console games much is because I have to commandeer the television, turn on the console, load the game, etc, etc, etc. It feels like a huge production to use the console game, and for the 10-20 minutes I usually want to play for, it feels like too much trouble. However, playing a round or two of Wordle on my phone can be done while waiting in line at the store. Time till fun on the phone: 15 seconds. Time till fun on the console: 3-4 minutes, and possibly getting the TV away from my partner. Winner: phone.
The biggest surprise for me (although it shouldn't have been) was the parent/non-parent divide. I would have thought the man-child demographic (such as me and my partner) would have been much more game-committed, and have more time for such pursuits. I keep forgetting that parents get exposed to games through their kids a lot more.
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