Casual gaming giant PopCap has unveiled the results of what it says is the largest survey of casual gamers ever conducted, encompassing nearly 7,500 adults. The results found that casual gaming is a family affair, with almost a third, or 31 percent of respondents indicating that they had children or grandchildren under 18 who played puzzle, word and simple action games in their home.
Moreover, 80 percent, or 2,298 of these "family gamers," 80 percent said they play casual games along with their children or grandchildren. Citing estimates pegging the casual games market as being more than 200 million people in size, PopCap concludes that over 50 million casual gamers play games with younger family members.
The study, conducted by Information Solutions Group, also found that 79 percent of the "family gamers" were female, with 95 percent of these age 30 or older. About 44 percent were mothers of casual gamers, and 36 percent were grandmothers. A much smaller percentage identified themselves as grandfathers or fathers of casual gamers; 16 and 6 percent, respectively.
The study also found that casual gamers feel the games help them bond with their kids and grandkids, and relate better to them -- 92 percent overall (and 95 percent of grandparents) responded to that effect. Contrarily, only 28 percent of adult "family gamers" indicated they allowed their children or grandchildren to play "hardcore" video games.
Interestingly, fathers and grandfathers were "significantly more inclined" to allow the playing of such games than mothers and grandmothers (37 percent versus 25 percent). The average age of the children referenced by parents and grandparents who responded to the survey was 10.2 years old, with 65 percent being age 9 or older and 94 percent age 5 or older.
Other findings included that 94 percent of the adults play cooperatively, as opposed to competitively, with the kids; nearly half of the survey respondents felt their kids' language, vocabulary or history skills were improved by the games, and 23% of parents and grandparents felt the games helped their kids relax.
"Casual games span generations and genders in ways that traditional 'hardcore' video games never have," noted Dr. Carl Arinoldo, a Stony Brook, New York-based psychologist of 25 years, expert on parent-child relationships and author of the new book Essentials of Smart Parenting. "This universal appeal, and the 'G-rated' content of the games, makes them a great activity in which the whole family can participate, with each generation enjoying the games in different ways while also enjoying the interaction with other family members."