Bad game journalists! Bad!
Apparently Dr Jeffery Brand, Ms Jill Borchard and Ms Kym Holmes of the Bond University yesterday published a little something called the "Interactive Australia 2009 Report" which contains a whole bunch of statistics that are very favourable to our gaming Australia. Kotaku's quoting the thing like mad; that's okay, as they're fairly credibly claiming to have an actual copy of the report in front of them. The Herald-Sun have done some reporting and they also appear to actually have the document.
The bad sets in because every man and his dog is on-quoting them without reading the report for themselves. How do I know? Because if they had read the report they would have linked to it. I've had to go and find the thing through my own researches instead of just trusting in the magic of the hypertext markup language. Thanks to the Interactive Entertainment Association of Australia for, as I understand it, commissioning the report and providing the linkage above.
So - the statistics! And be aware that while this summary is nicely sound-bitey, you should go and read the source material for yourself before you start deriving conclusions and possibly looking like an idiot.
(1) Average age of an Australian gamer is 30. That's up two years from 2007, when it was 28, which means not just that the existing population is ageing but that we're picking up new gamers from older demographics.
(2) 88% of Australian households have at least one gaming device (meaning, conversely, that only 12% are going without). 61% have more than one gaming device. "Game device" is defined here to include PCs, consoles and handhelds. Mobile phones and PDAs are specifically excluded.
(3) Male/female player ratio is 54% male, 46% female, up from 59/41 in 2007.
(4) Only 3% of gamers report never playing games socially; 97% report gaming at least occasionally with others in the same location or via the internet.
(5) 63% of Australians are unaware Australia has no R18+ classification for games; 91% of Australians, whether gamers or not, support the introduction of an R18+ rating.
(6) 17% of Australian households report being in possession of pirated games. 24% of those in possession of an illegal game report that they "often" or "usually" go on to purchase legitimate copies of those games.
There's also some analysis of games in parenting, and a bunch of fuzzy-wuzzy quotes and anecdotal stuff which doesn't exactly provide hard fact but does help non-gamers understand where some of the results are coming from.
By and large it seems like excellent research. It is commissioned research; it's not study for the love of study, but that doesn't necessarily mean it's bad. Do check out the methodology at the end of the report; it seems pretty reasonable to a non-statistician like myself. Sample size was 1614; a portion of the sample was surveyed online, which may mean a bias towards the tech literate.
Anyone who's got a criticism of the methodology or an analysis of the results please comment, or link me to your post elsewhere. And if you're quoting the survey please remember the different between what people report when surveyed and the actual fact.