US women as likely as men to play video games: Study

A videogamer at Madrid Games Week 2015 in October.
A videogamer at Madrid Games Week 2015 in October.PHOTO: AFP

SAN FRANCISCO (AFP) - Despite widespread belief, women are just about as likely as men to have ever played video games, a Pew Research Centre survey released on Tuesday revealed.

The Washington-based social research institute reported that 60 per cent of those surveyed believed video game players were more likely to be men.

But Pew said "data showed that a nearly identical share of men and women report ever playing video games," at exactly half of men and 48 per cent of women.

Overall, 49 per cent of adults said they had ever played games on televisions, computers, consoles or mobile devices according to Pew, which surveyed 2,001 US adults.

But only 10 per cent of those surveyed considered themselves "gamers," a term applied to hardcore players, with men two times more likely than women to consider themselves as such.

A boom in "casual games" played on smartphones or tablets has broadened gaming demographics once seen as dominated by young men devoted to action titles.

Meanwhile, slightly more than half of those surveyed disagreed with the notion that people who play violent video games are likely to be more violent themselves, while four out of 10 adults surveyed agreed, according to Pew.

And while 26 per cent of those surveyed thought most video games were "a waste of time," another 24 per cent did not find that to be true.

"Among the general public, attitudes toward games themselves are complex and often uncertain," said Pew research associate Maeve Duggan.

"The public is closely split on some debates surrounding the content of games and their impact on users."

Not surprisingly, those who played video games were more likely than non-players to think well of the activity, the survey showed.

Pew's survey was carried out between mid-June and mid-July of this year.