You might not call yourself a "gamer," but there's a pretty good chance that if you're an American adult you play video games. There's no point in trying to hide it, because data from the Pew Research Center has outed you.
According to their survey of more than 2,000 U.S. adults, about half (49 percent) say they play video games on a computer, TV, game console or portable device (including cell phones and tablets). That said, only 10 percent of adults consider themselves to be "gamers."
The study was done to gauge public attitudes toward games, which Pew Research Center's Maeve Duggan says are "complex and often uncertain."
"The public is closely split on some debates surrounding the content of games and their impact on users," Duggan says. "For instance, 26 percent of adults think most video games are a waste of time, while 24 percent do not think this is true."
Do more men play games than women? Do video games promote violent and/or aggressive behavior? How well do games portray women and minorities? Questions like that have been major talking points for years.
The Pew Research Center conducted their survey of 2,001 random American adults (18 and older) over the phone between June 10 and July 12 of 2015.
On the violence front, a slight majority (53 percent) of people who took the survey feel that video games do not contribute to violent behavior. However, according to the research, "Four-in-ten adults agree with the statement 'people who play violent video games are more likely to be violent themselves.'" Seven percent of respondents said they do not know either way. Perhaps unsurprisingly, a majority of adults who play video games do not think there is a link between gaming and violence while a majority of those who do not play games felt that there is.
This is a common trait throughout most of the questions. People who do not play video games are more likely to think that video games are a waste of time, while game players are more likely to agree with positive statements about games. For example, that video games promote teamwork and communication.
One key finding from the study is that "equal numbers of men and women ever play video games," with 50 percent of men and 48 percent of women saying they play video games. This might fly in the face of your preconceptions about video games, as the common opinion tends to be that video games are a digital playground both by and for men. Even 57 percent of the video game-playing women themselves believe that most video game players are men (a view held by 60 percent of American adults).
That said, if you're talking only about the people who identify themselves as a "gamer," the number is indeed skewed toward men. 15 percent of male video game players call themselves gamers while only 6 percent of video game playing females identify with the term. The gap is even wider when you look only at video game players aged 18 to 29. In that age bracket, 33 percent of men use the term "gamer" to describe themselves compared to only 9 percent of women.
One thing that seems unsettled for everybody, both the video game-playing public and those who don't play games at all, is whether or not video games portray women and minorities poorly. From the research:
"One-quarter (26 percent) of video game players (and 35 percent of self-described gamers) disagree that most video games portray women poorly. Still, 16 percent of game players (and 24 percent of gamers) think most video games do portray women in a negative light. Some 34% of those who play video games (and 30 percent of self-identified gamers) say this is true of some games but not others. Interestingly, there are few gender differences among those who play video games - women who play games are somewhat more likely to be unsure than men (27 percent vs. 21 percent)."
From earlier in the report: "A majority of those who do not play video games (55 percent) are unsure what to think on this topic."
If you'd like to dive deeper into the numbers can find read full report from the Pew Research Center.