October 2, 2005

Intelligent Design of Video Game Surveys

by Nick Montfort · , 12:57 pm

Many thanks to Rinku for pointing out Chris Crawford’s nice commentary on industry studies of video game demographics. Readers who care about this issue at all will want to read his article, but the gist of it is that the industry talk of a closing gender gap and a shift to older gamers has no basis in scientific studies; it is just public relations output from video game companies.

Interestingly, there have been other reports completed since the one Chris wrote about, such as part one of the “Video Gaming Industry Benchmark Report,” from April 2005. I say completed rather than released, because this 80-page report, commissioned for the video game industry to use in marketing, has been written about in the news but does not seem to be available to the public (and to researchers). Please drop a comment here if you can find the report somewhere. It seems timely to mention this, as the press release about part two, due to be finished in September 2005, has not yet come out. (You might even be able to get in on the action of part two, since Nielsen Entertainment is hiring a director of video game research.)

Now, you might consider that it’s nice of the video game industry to share a few carefully selected and edited snippets from the marketing research they commissioned with the public. You might. But if you think such results have anything to do with science and that these results should be quoted in presentations as if they were scientific results, check out Chris’s article. And if you still think this, I have a noodly one to reveal to you.