A new survey conducted by the Pew Research Center maps how the American public feels about the topic of gaming, and what the general images that the term conjures are.

Based on the study, both genders enjoy fiddling with consoles, handheld devices or PCs. While 50 percent of men affirm they enjoy playing video games, the number of women who share their passion for button-smashing is almost as high, with 48 percent.

Somewhat predictable, men are more prone to identify themselves as "gamers" when compared to their female equals. As numbers demonstrate, a majority of both men and women assume that someone who enjoys videogames is more likely to be male than female.

Researchers discovered that almost half of the U.S. population, 49 percent to be exact, plays video games in a regular fashion. No less than 60 percent of the ones who participated in the study claim that gaming is a male-dominated activity. That majority trickles down to those who were part of the survey: out of them, 15 percent of men declared they are gamers, while only 6 percent of women identified themselves as such.

The fact that most people attribute male dominance to gaming has to do with traditional gender roles, as they come about in marketing and culture. Some games seem to be targeted at the male population, with titles such as Madden, Call of Duty or God of War. 

In spite of this, more and more titles today allow for the player to create a feminine main protagonist, thus making a step forward for better gender representation in video games. Popular franchises such as Fallout, Mass Effect and Tropico are good examples of that.

The survey shows some interesting facts about the age groups of video game players.

Of the men who are between ages 18 and 29, 77 percent admit they play games, and out of them, a third identify themselves as gamers. In the same age group, 57 percent of women play games but only 9 percent say they are gamers.

Apparently, 38 percent of women and 29 percent of men who are over 50 grab the console or mouse-keyboard combo on a regular basis.

The conclusion of the Pew research is that the reality of the gaming community is much more diverse and different than what we believed it to be. There is heated debate whether or not more women bought gaming consoles than men, but one thing is certain: the idea that gaming is a "guy thing" is obsolete and should remain in the past.

Photo: Marco Arment | Flickr

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