Like Father Like Son

Game Playing Helps Bond Family
by: Jerry Liao

The Entertainment Software Association (ESA) released a new survey of “gamer moms and dads”, showing that over a third of gamer moms (39 percent) play games by themselves at least once a week, and 37 percent report playing computer and video games with their children at least once a week. Gamer moms also play video games with their spouses; in fact, among couples who both play computer and video games, 59 percent report playing together.

“While gamer moms clearly enjoy playing games with their kids, they’re not just ‘kidding around’ – they also enjoy playing alone and with their spouses,” said Carolyn Rauch, senior vice president of the ESA, the trade association that represents U.S. computer and video game publishers. “In fact, a majority of gamer moms (54 percent) say they will play video games as much or more often once their children move out of the house. These women may be married with children, but there’s no doubt that they’re here to play.”

The survey, conducted by Peter D. Hart Research Associates, Inc., found that gamer dads also are picking up the controllers, playing alone (47 percent) or with their kids (45 percent) at least once a week. In addition, 52 percent of gamer dads report that they will keep playing computer and video games after their children leave home.

Moms and dads who play games with their significant others mostly play puzzle games (30 percent) and driving games (29 percent), followed by card (23 percent) and sports games (23 percent). The most popular reasons why gamer parents play games with their spouses are: “To spend time together doing something [we] both enjoy” (44 percent); “To engage in healthy competition” (23 percent); and “as an alternate to watching TV” (21 percent). “Computer and video games are clearly an important way for families to spend time together, and an integral part of American families’ entertainment diets,” said Rauch.

While most gamer parents agree that gamer dads are the better players, 27 percent of gamer moms hink they have better game playing skills—an opinion shared by 36 percent of gamer fathers.

Other key survey findings include:

– The average age of a gamer parent is 40-years old. Overall, gamer mothers are slightly younger (39) than gamer fathers (40);

– Ninety-three percent of parents who play computer and video games have children who also play them;

– The average gamer parent plays computer and video games 21 hours a month—18 hours per month for gamer moms and 24 hours per month for gamers dads; and,

– Forty-six percent of all gamer parents have played for 10 years or more (gamer moms at eight years, gamer dads playing for 12 years).

The poll was conducted in January, 2007, for the ESA by Peter D. Hart Research Associates, Inc., and surveyed a random national sample of 454 “gamer” parents—parents that play computer and video games, but who do not solely play desktop card games or children’s games, and have children between the ages of 2 and 17.

The study reminds me of the time when I used to play video games with my daughters especially with my second born. We love to play the game Dead or Alive (xBox). We can play the game till the wee hours of the morning. The happy days ended when I won the Microsoft Dead or Alive Tournament. I went home so happy and shared my accomplishment with my family. My second born then challenged me to play the game. Coming from a victory, I took the challenge and played with my second born. Guess what, I lost bigtime. The score was something like 30 to 5. That was the last time I played the game.

Yes, you can call me a sore loser. And this is the reason why am relating this story to you – to all dads and moms out there, bear in mind that the reason why you’re playing with your kids is to have fun, enjoy and strengthen your relationship with them. Do not compete. If you want to compete, compete lightly , and if you lose, take it lightly too. Be a good sport.

The ESA is the U.S. association dedicated to serving the business and public affairs needs of the companies publishing interactive games for video game consoles, handheld devices, personal computers, and the Internet. ESA members collectively account for more than 90 percent of the $7.4 billion in entertainment software sales in the U.S. in 2006, and billions more in export sales of entertainment software.



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