The Interactive Entertainment Association of Australia have released their third annual survey of the state of videogames and videogamers in Australia, Interactive Australia 2009. From the key findings (PDF):
• 88% of homes have a device for playing computer or video games.
• 68% of Australians play computer or video games.
• 46% of gamers are female.
• The average age of an Australian gamer is 30 years.
• 84% of Australians aged 16-25 compared with those 50+ play computer and video games.
• The average adult gamer has been playing for 11 years.
• Half of all gamers play daily or every other day, a quarter play once a week.
• The average game play session is one hour.
So, in line with international trends, the majority of Australians play videogames, there is close to a gender balance, and far from being exclusively for children, the average age for a videogame player is well into legal adulthood at 30 years old. Moreover, most adults see videogame play as something that should be supervised:
• 70% of parents in game households play computer and video games, 80% of these parents play them with their children.
• 78% of parents say an adult is present when games are purchased for their children,
• 92% of parents say they are aware of the games played in their homes.
• 75% of all computer and video games classified in Australia are G or PG (Classification Board).
Also not necessarily surprising is that most adults in Australia presume that there is an R18+ rating for videogames (there isn’t):
• 63% of adults do not know that Australia has no R18+ for computer and video games.
• 91% of adults (including gamers and non-gamers) say Australia should have an R18+ classification for games.
• 17% of adults in game households admit to having pirated games in their collections with nearly 10% of all games in Australian homes being illegal copies.
If that 91% figure isn’t clear evidence that the ratings system for videogames in Australia desperately needs and overhaul to, at the very least, include and R18+ videogame category, I don’t know what is! More to the point, if that last figure about game piracy isn’t directly related to the censored, or entirely banned, videogames intended for adults being downloaded in their original form, then I’ll eat my digital hat!
The final finding that stood out for me was:
• 75% of gamers say interactivity in games makes them more educational than other media, 89% of non-gamers say interactivity makes games more violent than other media.
Despite there being no conclusive evidence as to what impact the interactivity of games ‘really’ has, it’s noteworthy that most players presume games can be both educational and can cause more violent thoughts than other media (presumably viewed as more passive). You can view the full Interactive Australia 2009 report online as a PDF.