The British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) published the results of a research project today that involves videogame players as young as 7, adults in their early 40s, parents of young gamers, game industry representatives and games reviewers.
BBFC researchers set out to gain insight into the following issues: The attraction of videogames, what impact players think playing has on them and their behavior, whether the interactivity element of games alters the experience, what players think about the violence in some games, how they choose which games to play, and what parents think about videogames.
The key findings were as follows:
- Children begin playing games at an increasingly early age, but the overall age of gamers is getting older.
- Female players tend to prefer strategic life-simulation and puzzle games and spend less time playing than their male counterparts, while male players favor first person-shooters and sports game and are more likely to become deeply absorbed in gameplay.
- Younger gamers are influenced by peer pressure and word of mouth to play particular games, but negative press coverage will also significantly increase the amount of people who play it.
- Violence is built into some games in the form of eliminating obstacles. It contributes to the tension, because gamers are concentrating on survival rather than the damage they inflict on characters to survive. While there is an appeal to being violent without consequences, gamers are aware they are playing a game, and that it is not real life. Gamers are aware that violence in gaming is an issue, and younger players find some adult-rated games upsetting, but they are virtually unanimous in rejecting the suggestion that games encourage people to be violent in real life.
- Non-playing parents are concerned about the amount of time kids play games and would prefer they spend time outside, but they are more concerned about the dangers of the internet and believe some games should be regulated, but children are balanced enough to not be influenced by playing violent games.
This research was carried out by Cragg Ross Dawson and consisted of interviews and discussions with people who play games in Europe. Copies of the report as well as a summary of the findings can be obtained from the BBFC website.