Dismissing gamers as overweight, socially awkward schlubs is as misguided as it is lazy.
These misconceptions are not only still prevalent when the topic of gaming comes up in mainstream media coverage of games culture, they seem to flourish when the media needs an easy punchline or even easier scapegoat. But are the stereotypes of gamers being a separate evolutionary branch of basement dwelling morlocks wildly off target?
A recent German study would seem to suggest so. With video games easily eclipsing Hollywood as a multi-billion dollar a year industry, the image of your average gamer as “unpopular, overweight, and socially inept” isn't supported by the available data. The German study sampled 50,000 gamers aged 14 and up to collate their video game behaviour.
Are the stereotypes of gamers being a separate evolutionary branch of basement dwelling morlocks wildly off target?
The empirical evidence provided disproves the negative perception that gamers have earned their cartoonishly negative caricatures. One of the most important distinctions to be made within the study was the difference between the play habits of online versus offline gamers.
The study disproved that the average offline gamer was to be saddled with these negative attributes, however, dedicated online gamers veered away from such concrete conclusions.
"A majority of the stereotypical attributes was found to hold a stronger relationship with more involved online players than video game players as a whole."
The study is a fascinating insight into who gamers are and you should read it for yourself right here. It does seem to support the notion that hardcore online gamers may need to turn off the system, take a breather, and get some exercise more than your average offline fan.
Easier said than done. Winter's a bitch and the Internet seems to be working just fine.