Australia a nation of gamers: study

Australia a nation of gamers: study

The average Aussie spends almost an hour-and-a-half a day playing video games, new research shows.

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The Bond University study found the average play time for users across all age groups – from kids to the elderly and everyone else in between – is a whopping 88 minutes a day.

That’s the equivalent of spending almost 23 days a year hooked into an epic, round-the-clock Candy Crush binge.

Men and boys spend slightly longer glued to their screens at 100 minutes, on average, a day compared to 75 minutes for women and girls.

And if you’re not playing video games of one kind or another, it seems you’re in the minority.

The study, based on surveys of 3400 Australians in 1270 households, says 68 per cent of the Australian population plays video games, up from 65 per cent two years ago when the last Digital Australia report was released.

Report author Professor Jeff Brand says some interesting trends are apparent in the latest data, including an increasing number of older Australians taking up gaming in the hope it will help ward off dementia and keep their minds active.

In fact those aged over 50 represent the fastest growing sector of the gaming community, with 49 per cent saying they play.

“The majority of older Australians, some 76 per cent of participants, felt video games could increase mental stimulation,” he says.

“Participants nominated improved thinking skills, followed by co-ordination and dexterity as other benefits.”

At the opposite end of the age spectrum, children are almost uniformly tapped in to video games, with 91 per cent of kids aged five to 14 playing.

Survey respondents reported using video games in two main ways: dipping in and out in short windows of time, and spending larger chunks of time on more in-depth games.

A typical scenario for a game user is a combination of three 10-minute spells spent playing casual games, and an hour a day for more in-depth game play.

Prof Brand says boredom-busting and entertainment remain the predominant reasons people turn to their PCs, tablets or smart phones for a bit of gaming action.

But more and more, gaming is finding its way into work places and educational settings.

The study said 24 per cent of Australian adults have used games at work for training purposes, while 35 per cent of parents said games were part of their childrens’ school curriculum.

“This suggests games are transforming as a medium, and while they will continue to be played for entertainment, they will increasingly serve other purposes,” he says.

The report was compiled by Bond University for the Interactive Games and Entertainment Association, an industry group representing Australian and New Zealand companies in the computer and video game sector.