"I'm not a gamer"

by Alistair Gray on 16 November 2010

I was reading some very interesting survey results by Frank N. Magid Associates on the GamesIndustry.biz website (free subscription required). It found that 2 in 3 of the Americans questioned played computer games, but only a little over 1 in 3 saw themselves as a ‘gamer’.

I thought the results were worth noting for 2 reasons. It demonstrates:

  • The way a question is framed can have a massive effect on the results produced.
  • Many game players don’t see themselves as ‘gamers’.

I was trading interesting iPhone games with a colleague, and was taken aback when they said ‘I’m not a gamer’. They’d just shown me a fighting game approaching the complexity of Tekken. Why did he not see himself as a gamer? I think the confusion comes from people’s definition of the word ‘gamer’ – everyone has a different one. There as about as many definitions as there are gamers out there. I see it as “anyone who plays games”, but Wikipedia (currently) defines ‘gamer’ as:

Historically, the term “gamer” usually referred to someone who played role-playing games and wargames. More recently, the term has grown to include players of video games

Maybe with a definition of the word ‘gamer’ before the question would have helped.

How about you – How do you define ‘gamer’? Do you feel you’re one? Does the definition even matter anymore (now more and more people are picking up Wii remotes, iPhones and more)?

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