May 22nd, 2006

Gamers 'R' Us -- ALL of Us... So Says New AOL-AP Poll

"Those crazy gamer kids..."

How many times have we heard some variation on that theme? But survey data recently released by AOL demonstrates that game-playing cuts across both generational and gender lines.

"Gaming is a social experience that hits all spectrums of consumers - males, females, young and old," said Ralph Rivera, Vice-president and General Manager of AOL Games, referring to a poll of gamers his company made in cooperation with the Associated Press.

In order to compile the date, AOL surveyed more than 3,000 adults across the USA via telephone. A significant number - 1,046, to be exact - said they had played video games during the month of April. One of the survey's major findings was that those who reported playing online are twice as likely to spend at least $500 per year on games than their counterparts who play offline. That's not especially surprising when expenses such as XBox Live subscriptions, broadband access, and even virtual WoW gold are considered.

AOL also found urban dwellers (52%) more likely to game online than their suburban neighbors (41%).

More interesting, though, is the comparison of male to female gamers. While the gaming community as a whole is still more lads than lasses, it's the menfolk who are proving more sociable, with 32% of them jumping into the multiplayer scene, while only 23% of the gamer ladies partake in online play. In fact, one in four men report having forged ongoing friendships with strangers in online games, compared to only 17% of women. Exactly what constitutes a "friendship," however, remains undefined.

One last surprise comes from the increasing prevalence of the so-called Gray Gamer. AOL found that 14% of adults age 65 or older play at least 10 hours per week. Suddenly the in-game taunt, "You play like my Grandma!" doesn't seem so bad...

-Reporting from the U.K., GamePolitics Euro-spondent Mark Kelly

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Video Game Phobia Rears Its Head in India

Is it fear of the unknown, or are video games really responsible for a broad range of societal ills?

It's not just a question being asked in the United States. With games now an established international form of entertainment, such concerns are raised with increasing frequency around the globe. An article in a recent issue of News Today, an English-language newspaper published in Chennai (southern India) asks, "How 'deadly' are video games?"

The author, Vivek Narayanan, complains that game-playing Indian children are obese, experience sleep disorders and are prone to posture problems from hunching over computers in cyber-cafes.
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Tennessee Game Censorship Bill Dies by Sponsor's Own Hand

It's time to give credit where credit is due.

When Tennessee State Senator Tommy Kilby (D) introduced SB3981 earlier this year, the gaming community went a little crazy, and with good reason. Kilby's bill, you see, one-upped all previous game legislation by seeking a complete ban on violent game for players of any age, not just those under 18.

For whatever reason, Sen. Kilby has apparently seen the light. GamePolitics has learned that bill has been withdrawn from this year's legislative calendar. An aide told GP this morning that Sen. Kilby voluntarily pulled SB3981 over concerns about its constitutionality. There was no word on whether Kilby might introduce some type of video game legislation in the 2007 session, but his staffer confirmed that HB3981 is dead. A companion bill in the Tennessee House has also been withdrawn.

Although we certainly thought Kilby's bill was a very bad piece of law from the moment he introduced it, we must acknowledge that he fixed the problem himself, rather than wasting the time of the Tennessee legislature considering the bill and, potentially, the state's tax dollars in fighting a First Amendment challenge from the video game industry.

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