People are finally taking video gamers seriously. Uh-oh. According to a study sponsored by the Entertainment Software Association, the 114 million voting-age gamers in the United States are more politically active than the average American. And with the 2016 presidential candidates one-upping each other at every chance they get, gamers are a fresh group of constituents for the candidates to prey upon.
Here are the boring statistics: of the 4,147 gamers aged 18-24 the ESA surveyed, 48 percent identified as conservative, 38 percent identified as liberal and 14 percent identified as “other.” The largest issues that concerned gamers were the economy, race relations and class stratification. 76 percent of these gamers believed that humans contribute to global warming, 61 percent supported cutting programs and spending rather than raising taxes and 61 percent said wealth distribution in America should be more equal.
So gamers are worried about the economy just like every other American. Woo. Gamers shouldn’t be seen as a group with unique political values, at least not the gamers in this survey. Going by the ESA’s definition of a gamer as someone who plays video games 3-4 hours per week, I would be considered one even though my gaming credentials are limited to being a Pokémon Master and beating like, three Super Mario games. Once you pick up a controller, burning through three hours is not hard to do. Heck, my grandma would be considered a heavy gamer if playing solitaire on the computer counts.
The ESA’s definition of a gamer is too loose. There‘s too much variation between members of the gaming community. It’s ridiculous to group me with the people who play Call of Duty for a living, or even those who attend gaming conventions. Yes, I’d love to make outrageous amounts of money by sitting in a comfy chair and pressing buttons, but you know, college kind of gets in the way of that. The surveyors could be onto something if they surveyed only hardcore gamers, though.
Just as gamers’ preferences for games vary, so do their ideologies. It’s silly to think that in this age of technology, people who play video games are any different from those who don’t. My generation (and those within the survey’s age range) grew up with video games and gaming apps. You’re an anomaly if you don’t play video games in one form or another.
Also, minor critique: 41 percent of respondents said they were “better off financially” than they were eight years ago. However, the sample only included gamers aged 18-24. By employing my limited math skills, this means that the oldest respondent would have been 16 years old, and the youngest 12 years old. I don’t know about these gamers, but when I was 12 to 16 years old, I had didn’t have a financial situation because I was a child.
Solely based on this survey, the presidential candidates shouldn’t start targeting the gamer vote.
But of course, I’m just a blogger who didn’t go through the hassle of creating and distributing a survey to thousands of Americans. So good luck to the candidates who try to appeal to young gamers (I’m looking at you, Hillary). Your quarters would better be spent elsewhere.