Dublin, Ireland– 10th October 2007— The last in a series of data captures from PopCap.com’s largest ever survey of casual gamers reveals that nearly three quarters (72%) of parents/grandparents don’t allow their kids/grandkids to play hardcore video games. However, there’s a sexist undercurrent to the data - while nearly half of parents/grandparents (48%) to children aged 14+ say they do not allow their child/grandchild play hardcore games, 60% forbid girls from playing hardcore games– compared to just 37% forbidding boys.
Dr. Carl Arinoldo, a New York-based psychologist of 25 years, expert on parent-child relationships and author of Essentials of Smart Parenting says:“Parents tend to be somewhat more protective of their daughters in what they do than they are of their sons, allowing for a bit more independence and leeway for the boys. Despite this being somewhat outdated thinking, it is a perspective still shared by many parents. But most experts agree that exposing children and adolescents to graphically explicit content should be avoided, and this applies to both genders.”
PopCap recently launched a PopCap A Day campaign in the UK. Fronted by popstar Natasha Hamilton, PopCap worked with the Stress Management Society (UK) to test stress levels of consumers playing PopCap games. Research found that five minutes a day playing games online helps to lower stress levels by reducing blood pressure, slowing breathing and the heart rate. In association with the Stress Management Society, PopCap devised a stress test at www.popcapstresstest.com for people to test their stress and get tips and tricks on how best to manage it in their daily lives.
Today’s research finds parents/grandparents more positive about casual video games - all of these“family gamers” say they allow their children/grandchildren to play casual video games - 80% play casual games with them and report various perceived benefits of play, according to a survey commissioned by casual games pioneer, PopCap Games. In kids aged 9 and under, reported benefits include:
- <*>Hand-eye coordination/manual dexterity (28%)*> <*>Learning skills– pattern recognition, resource allocation, spelling, etc. (24%)*> <*>Mental workouts/cognitive exercise (11%)*> <*>Positive affirmation/confidence building (11%)*>
However, in kids aged ten or older, stress relief/relaxation is the clearest benefit:
- <*>Stress relief/relaxation (26%)*> <*>Hand-eye coordination/manual dexterity (22%)*> <*>Learning (17%)*>
Dr. Arinoldo surmises:“While the cognitive benefits of playing casual computer games (e.g. concentration, focusing, decision-making, etc.) are present in some form for children of all ages, the stress-management benefits understandably become more significant as a child ages toward and through adolescence. From school pressures to puberty, tweens and teens certainly experience more stress, on average, than younger children. Playing casual computer games can be a good choice for parents to encourage as part of their children's stress-management strategies.”
Interestingly, there were differences in play frequency across different age groups. The following is percentages of children playing three times a week or more:
- <*>15% of children age 8 or younger*> <*>20% of 8- to 10-year olds*> <*>30% of 11-to 13-year olds*> <*>32% of 14-to 17-year olds*>
While this illustrates a natural increase as the child gets older– presumably because of longer attention spans and later bedtimes– it also suggests that in the oldest age category where children have more autonomy over their play, they are still choosing to play in moderation. Kids cap gameplay sessions at an hour or less (84% of children age 8 or younger; 76% of 8- to 10-year olds; 63% of 11- to 13-year olds; 58% of those 14 years or older). Compared to hardcore gaming, where one session of Halo can easily last over 4 hours, casual games seem to offer parents a“safer,” less all-consuming option.
It seems likely that this“moderation” is a primary reason that parents appear to favour casual games. 63% of casual gaming parents and grandparents say their kids play for four hours or less a week. One of the advantages of casual games is that players can dip in and out as they wish, fitting the games around their lives– rather than becoming totally immersed for hours, as is the case with many hardcore games.
In terms of frequency of play, the research showed a balance between male and female child’s play– with 72% of males and 71% females playing at least once a week. Whereas there is a clear perception among parents and grandparents that hardcore games are perhaps more suitable for (or at the least far more popular with) boys, casual games are an equally acknowledged unisex pastime.
This international research was conducted by Information Solutions Group (ISG; www.infosolutionsgroup.com) for PopCap Games. Among the nearly 7,500 adult respondents who took part in the survey, nearly a third (31%) indicated they had children or grandchildren under 18 who play casual games in their home. These results are based on online surveys completed by 2,298 respondents randomly selected between 15th June 2007 and 29th June 2007.
PopCap Games ( www.popcap.com) is the leading multi-platformprovider of“casual games”— fun, easy-to-learn, captivating computer games that appeal to everyone from age 6 to 106. Based in Seattle, Washington, PopCap was founded in 2000 and has a worldwide staff of over 170 people in Seattle, San Francisco, Chicago, Vancouver, B.C. and Dublin. Its games have been downloaded more than 1 billion times by consumers worldwide, and its flagship title, Bejeweled®, has sold more than 10 million units across all platforms. Constantly acclaimed by consumers and critics, PopCap’s games are played on the Web, desktop computers, myriad mobile devices (cell phones, smartphones, PDAs, Pocket PCs, iPod and more), popular game consoles (such as Xbox), and in-flight entertainment systems. PopCap is the only casual games developer with leading market share across all major sales channels, including Web portals, retail stores, mobile operators and developers, and game device manufacturers.
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