Australia a nation of gamers

Australia a nation of gamers

Saturday, October 15th, 2011

AUSTRALIANS’ relationship with computer games shows no indications of abating with 92 per-cent of homes having at least one games device, new research shows.

The volume of buyers obtaining video games has doubled and could “skyrocket” with the National Broadband Network ready, causing researcher Jeff Brand to think that more-affordable high-speed web choices has fuelled this craze.

For the study, Digital Australia 2012, the Interactive Games and Entertainment Association and Bond University surveyed 1252 homes comprising 3533 women, men and children in June.

Dr Brand, who is associate professor, Communication and Media at Bond, stated the casualisation of video games and swift escalation in the supply of game titles on portable devices like Apple’s iPad meant there are lot’s more video gaming devices in households.

“In 2005, the proportion of homes with game devices was 78 per cent; the new research shows it has hit 92 per cent,” he said.

“The popularity of consoles like the Xbox 360, Wii and PlayStation 3 has really introduced games to families.”

Much better bandwidth and cut-throat pricing campaigns by isps also led to more games being saved compared with a couple of years ago.

Twenty-two percent of participants download games from online stores, well up from 11 per cent in a similar 2009 study.

Dr Brand said the spike “really surprised me, because we do have limited broadband capacity in Australia”.

“Some of these games are relatively large, between 2GB and 4GB for top-rated titles,” he said. “And people are downloading them even at that size.”

More affordable broadband plans, including higher storage capacities, like iiNet’s 50GB for $60 offering, could be one influencing factor.

“I think those types of plans definitely encourage people to download at that capacity,” he said.

Dr Brand expects the download figure to rise as the cost per gigabyte decreases and the NBN expands its footprint.

“I think the 22 per cent will skyrocket with the NBN in place.”

He expects more games to be embedded in other media, especially those produced by the education sector.

A number of big textbook publishers, such as Pearson and Macmillan, are increasingly embracing digital formats.

These players want to ensure they “keep up with the times” and could start embedding games into their e-books, Dr Brand said.

Super-fast broadband connectivity, especially networks like the NBN, will play a crucial role as people will be downloading 200MB files with games instead of the usual 2MB.

The research also found that 43 per cent of households played games on their mobile phones while 13 per cent used tablet computers.

Game consoles were found in 63 per cent of homes, while 13 per cent had dedicated handheld consoles.

Seventy-five per cent of users are aged 18 and above, and they spend one hour every other day getting their kicks.

Women make up 47 per cent of the gaming community.

The research found ADSL to be the most popular internet connection medium, with 72 per cent of households using it for broadband.

3G came in at 22 per cent and cable 15 per cent, while 3 per cent had satellite or other means of connection.