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  Poll: Kids and Parents Don’t [Ok, Maybe They Do] Game Together  
Posted 2007-11-14 by Tony Walsh
The Associated Press (via CNN) reports results from a poll released this week, which found that parents don't play computer and video games with kids:
  • 81% of kids aged 4 - 17 play games "at least occasionally."
  • 38% of adults play games "at least occasionally."
  • 44% of adults play online.
  • 43% of kids who play games don't play them with their parents. [Update: Matt Mihaly says the other 57% must be playing with their parents, meaning kids and parents DO play together.]
  • 30% of parents who play with their kids spend under 1 hour weekly doing so.
  • 50% of adults and kids play more than 2 hours of games weekly. 50% of adults and kids play less. Roughly 30% [not clear if it's both kids and adults] play 5 hours or more weekly.
  • 59% of adults aged 18 - 29 play "at least sometimes," said to be "double the rate" for adults aged 50 - 64
  • 31% of adults prefer casual games
  • Roughly 16% of adults prefer action games, "the next most popular alternative [to casual games]."
  • "About half of women cited casual games as their favorites, triple the number of men who did so, while twice as many males than females preferred action games."
  • "26 percent said they spent nothing on the pastime last year, another 46 percent spent up to $200 and 12 percent spent $500 or more, with men usually the bigger spenders."
  • "Price is the chief factor for people purchasing a gaming console, followed by the availability of games."
The poll, conducted by AP and AOL Games, surveyed just over 2,000 adults last month. 770 of these said they play digital games.

I'm not terribly surprised by the results finding parents and kids don't enjoy screen time together--not only does each group enjoy its own type of games, most computer games in a single household are played solo (you don't often find dad and son crouched behind the same computer screen). Furthermore, and this is simply my opinion, parents seem to be taking a less active role in the media consumption habits of their kids as each year passes. More family-oriented games, please.
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Comment posted by MattMihaly
November 15, 2007 @ 5:01 am
Hmm, is that a reasonable conclusion? You wrote that 43% of kids who play games don't play them with their parents. That means that 57% of those who play games DO play with their parents (and there's little point, I think, in talking about kids who don't play games in the same way that there's little point in talking about kids who don't skydive).

Comment posted by Tony Walsh
November 15, 2007 @ 8:31 am
Hah, great point! I failed to take a hard look at the numbers here--guilty of rushing to a hasty conclusion.

It's definitely reasonable to assume that 57% do play with parents, although AP didn't exactly say what that 57% is made up of. It could be that some of that 57% play with parents, and some play with friends--depends on the poll questions, maybe?
Comment posted by Benjamin Duranske
November 16, 2007 @ 3:54 am
For me, playing games with my kids is going to be one of the biggest joys of parenthood. Some of my best early memories are of trying to finish Pitfall on an Atari with my Dad. Games are a great connection point with kids -- board games, computer games, whatever. Even 57% is a little sad as far as I'm concerned (though it's higher than I'd have guessed). I suspect that better than 90% of parents played games with the kids back when games were mostly dice, paper, and plastic.
Comment posted by Tony Walsh
November 16, 2007 @ 8:55 am
I'm sure the family gaming percentage was much higher before video games. I think it's Milton Bradley that relatively recently launched a whole marketing campaign around bringing back family gaming.

Looking forward to gaming with my own daughter, but she's only 4 months old right now... maybe in a few years...
Comment posted by Jos 'Hyakugei' Yule
November 19, 2007 @ 5:37 pm
I'd think that a 4 month old would be perfect for those 'puking' game we were talking about...
Comment posted by Benjamin Duranske
November 19, 2007 @ 6:02 pm
You're ahead of me, Tony, but I'm still looking forward to it. I was recently reading a note on Candyland, of all things, that pointed out that it is as popular as it is for that narrow first-game age because it involves absolutely no strategy at all. The entire outcome is pre-determined by the order of the shuffled cards. So kids have just as good a chance as parents, and there's no incentive for parents to play down to the kid's level. It made me think that there must be a market for cheap, visually appealing video games (maybe sold over xbox live or the like) that are real video games, but that follow the same no-strategy-or-skill rule, for parents and wee ones to play together.
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