Friday, September 18, 2009

Subculture Crisis

A thought basically forced itself into my head today and now I'd love to throw some question to it. The thought was basically what I mentally applied to the term 'gamer' now; especially in regards to myself (but we'll ignore that for right now of course). Anyway, the questioning involved some quick glancing and perusals on my part and I eventually fell upon the ESA's industry facts. So, let's hatefully take a glance at them shall we?

#1 U.S. computer and video game software sales grew 22.9 percent in 2008 to $11.7 billion – more than quadrupling industry software sales since 1996.

What's that due to though? We can't effectively gauge how the quality of the games have grown, so this is tantamount to me stating I grew two inches last year. The shit just happens.

#2 Sixty-eight percent of American households play computer or video games.

How many are playing something cursory and only slightly engaging as opposed to something that requires investment on any level? Give me a number on that please. To better rephrase that, how many gamers are simply playing their games that way --- period? How many come to the table with things such as escapism in their sight? I won't begrudge someone playing Minesweeper on their identity as a gamer, but I will judge them after observing how they play the game. That's all that really matters.

#3 The average game player is 35 years old and has been playing games for 12 years.

I actually like this one, as it's at least a large brick on the back of an ant still professing that video games are simply for children.

#4 The average age of the most frequent game purchaser is 39 years old.

Er...?

#5 Forty percent of all game players are women. In fact, women over the age of 18 represent a significantly greater portion of the game-playing population (34 percent) than boys age 17 or younger (18 percent).

That's not bad at all, but it's not like I've seen them anywhere and just what the hell are they playing anyway? I should be able to say that it doesn't really matter either way, but guess what? It does. Proof of that? They compared women to teenage boys.

#6 In 2009, 25 percent of Americans over the age of 50 play video games, an increase from nine percent in 1999.

That's actually really cool, but that's only due to the fact that I still live in an area of the U.S. where people still can't grasp the concept of a fucking mouse.

#7 Thirty-seven percent of heads of households play games on a wireless device, such as a cell phone or PDA, up from 20 percent in 2002.

I can't really lay much into this area for two reasons:

One, I personally detest wireless networking (specifically cell phones) in general. My laptop is about the limit to which I'll offer up any kind of wireless connection. It's too hard to passionately muster up hatred for chocolate milk when one is lactose intolerant to begin with...

Two, it DOES seem like a decent platform for developers to not only get their feet wet, but to explore what I will bregdrudingly acknowledge as a growing necessity in today's culture.

#8 Eighty-four percent of all games sold in 2008 were rated "E" for Everyone, "T" for Teen, or "E10+" for Everyone 10+. For more information on game ratings, please see www.esrb.org.

I think I might have my ratings confused because that kind of scares the hell out of me.

#9 - Ninety-two percent of game players under the age of 18 report that their parents are present when they purchase or rent games.

Bullshit, that number may be growing --- but if we're gonna start basing statistics off of what may be just a teenager's claim, then we're in more trouble than I thought to begin with (which is saying something).

#10 - Sixty-three percent of parents believe games are a positive part of their children’s lives.

And since we're knocking each other up at younger ages these days that's gonna keep increasing; as the cultural integration of video games into our society will only increase --- hell I don't think I can comprehend it happening any other way.

[*Taken from the Gamer Player Data page*]

  • Twenty-five percent of game players are over the age of 50, an increase from nine percent in 1999. This figure is sure to rise in coming years with nursing homes and senior centers across the nation now incorporating video games into their activities.

    All that makes me see is parody scenes in my head of some poor twenty-something nurse trying to help a seventy-five year old man play Wii Sports Resort. Sorry, I tease. =)

  • Forty-two percent of homes in America have a video game console.

    Really? I expected it to be higher than that.

    [*And lastly, the intro-bullet points from the Game Violence page*]

  • Violent crime, particularly among the young, has decreased dramatically since the early 1990s. During the same period of time, video games have steadily increased in popularity and use, exactly the opposite of what one would expect if there were a causal link.

    The detractors will make any damn link they can --- I've never seen much reason in people to begin with. They love passing blame and they'll keep doing it for as long as they can, good luck with fighting the good fight though.

  • Many games with violent content sold in the U.S. -- and some with far more violence -- are also sold in foreign markets. However, the level of violent crime in these foreign markets is considerably lower than that in the U.S., suggesting that influences such as the background of the individual, the availability of guns and other factors are more relevant to understanding the cause of any particular crime.

    I love how they got away with passive-aggressively handing off the blame there. Really? international context might ACTUALLY be a factor? Status quo, taboo, and art must have all fallen out of the god damn dictionary. Let me go find them...

  • Numerous authorities, including the U.S. Surgeon General, the Federal Trade Commission, the Federal Communications Commission and several U.S. District Courts have examined the scientific record and found that it does not establish any causal link between violent programming and violent behavior.

    I honestly didn't know those 'violence-linkers' still existed in enough numbers to justify posting that. I always kind of assumed that Jack Thompson got his attention because he was an endangered species --- I guess that was my fault though, sorry.

    Now of course there's all shades of gray across communities and the various facets of our little subculture, but where do we even begin to draw lines? Some would even argue that being fallacious in itself and many people just like hiding behind any nebulous construct that presents itself. Just because there are shades of gray in this world does not mean we have to totally ignore the fact that they ARE INDEED shades of gray, even at the benefit of one's own happiness.

    ~sLs~