32 per cent of the UK's population now classifies themselves as a gamer.
According to new statistics released by ELSPA and the Interactive Software Federation of Europe (ISFE), the rise of online and mobile games have opened games up to new audiences.
Games have become more accessible to non-gamers according to the two bodies, who also reveal that:
- 74 per cent of 16-19 year olds define themselves as gamers
- 60 per cent of 20-24 year olds define themselves as gamers
- 25.4 per cent of adults in Europe aged 16 to 49 are gamers
- One in three of the men in that 16-49 demographic play games (in the UK it is 34 per cent of men)
- And one in five women from that group in Europe play video games - it's even higher in the UK, where that percentage rises to 31 per cent.
- 60 per cent of gamers use online gaming sites and 37 per cent use social networking and other non-gaming sites.
It all proves what the industry is known for some time - games are played by a huge and varied audience.
In a statement, ELSPA and ISFE say "this new gamer is steering away from the traditional shoot-em-up genre, preferring to challenge their cerebral cortex rather than their hand-eye co-ordination". The two say a 65 per cent of gamers play puzzle games online, with only 18 per cent enjoying a more conventional online multiplayer game.
Mike Rawlinson, Director-General of ELSPA, added: “In the last few years the development of motion sensor technology saw gaming become more accessible to new audiences who didn’t previously connect with the industry.
"With the growth of gaming platforms such as social networking sites and the iPhone, we are witnessing once again the growth of gaming into new areas of society, truly showing that the UK is a nation of gamers."
That all handily ties in to the fact that ELSPA will in fact be rebranding to the Association for UK Interactive Entertainment (UKIE - pronounced yoo-kee), later this year.
Said Rawlinson: "To reflect this evolution and growth, we as a trade body are also expanding our remit and will later this year be known as the Association for UK Interactive Entertainment so we can represent all areas of the industry.”