Being a gamer in 2015 is very different from the days of "Pong" or Atari. While males continue to dominate the industry, smartphones and tablets have opened up games to a more diverse audience, including more females. And gaming is no longer taboo for children, according to a Family Gaming study conducted by Magid Advisors.
In the report, released Wednesday, 59 percent of parents surveyed said they had a positive opinion about their children playing video games. Fathers were more supportive (66 percent) than mothers (50 percent). The report's findings are based on online interviews of 3,000 gamers and their parents.
The support for games by parents has to do with the level of control adults have over what their children can play, the study found. Of those surveyed, 83 percent of parents said it was easy to monitor which games their children played. Easily available information (82 percent), ability to control access (81 percent) and the number of games parents could play with their children (76 percent) also contributed to the positive opinion of video games.
Benefits ranging from positively impacting critical thinking to general happiness were other factors in the parental seal of approval for games. As for time spent on recreational activities, 23 percent of parents saw a positive impact and 22 percent saw a negative impact. Forty-nine percent of parents saw little or no impact.
Consoles were the preferred gaming platform for parents (52 percent), most likely due to the higher control adults have in purchasing a game. Parents also can easily play console games with their children, which is what 92 percent of adults did, according to the survey.
With parents being fine with games and the vast majority joining in on what is considered a social activity, it's not surprising that game console owners are also much different in 2015. A report of device ownership by Pew Research Center, released Oct. 29, revealed a decline in console ownership by adults between the ages of 18 and 29. Only 56 percent of young adults owned a console, down from 71 percent in 2013. Computer ownership was down from 89 percent in 2012 to 78 percent in 2015. Tablet ownership rose to 45 percent for adults.
Game console ownership for all adults (40 percent) was consistent with the previous poll, from 2010. More women (42 percent) than men (37 percent) owned a console. Ownership by race/ethnicity was led by Hispanics at 45 percent followed by blacks (43 percent) and whites (39 percent).
The gaming industry still has a long way to go in terms of inclusion -- see the recent Gamergate controversy and SXSW flare-up -- but the reports highlight increasing diversity. As in video games themselves, progress happens one level at a time.