I refer to Caroline Overington’s opinion piece ‘Hell’s bells, these boys need to act their age’ from February 11.
Overington paints a pretty miserable picture of people who play video games arguing that ‘anyone over the age of 30 who spends any time deep in some sagging sofa, console in one hand, the other down the front of their pants, imagining themselves to be a combatant in some pretend city, is lame.’ It doesn’t take much research (or effort) to find that Overington actually is referring to a huge percentage of Australians.
The Interactive Australia 09 report is a good place to start; its comprehensive research of 1614 household and 4852 individuals by Bond University found that 68% of Australians play computer or video games and that the average age of an Australian gamer is, wait for it – 30. Now that’s a lot of hands, down a lot of underpants.
‘Gamers, who cares? They don’t participate in life in any meaningful way. As a rule, they don’t even have jobs.’
Ouch! While this 68 per cent of the population may not have either meaningful lives – or indeed employment – they must be spending their whole Centrelink income on over $2 Billion dollars outlaid on games a year.
Joking aside, the video games industry is huge, with many releases of games eclipsing those of popular films. It is a robust industry that provides a wide range of development, marketing, distribution and retail jobs for Australians and makes a significant contribution to our economy. Interactive entertainment is now used in education, for medical rehabilitation and in training and development. Video games are played by the elderly in retirement villages, and in therapy for young people at risk, but most of all they are played by a huge cross section of our community, just for fun.
As the peak industry body for the video games industry we are acutely aware of these stereotype, although we were beginning to think that times had moved on. Maybe not.
Ron Curry, CEO, Interactive Games & Entertainment Association.