But what of the kids? The current 8-18 set are still out there, even if they aren’t the sole focus of the industry. They’re also the group that may grow up to be disenchanted with gaming. How much are they playing, in an always-on, games-on-every-device world?
The Kaiser Family Foundation, a non-partisan, non-profit research group, has been tracking childrens’ media consumption habits for a decade, looking at how television, books and video games fit into the lives of American kids in the 21st century. Their newest report, released today, finds, unsurprisingly, that children are media multasking powerhouses, pulling in over 10 hours of consumption daily, in roughly seven hours of actual time.
And what are kids these days spending their scant gaming hours on? 71 per cent have played music games like Guitar Hero or Rock Band the report claims, and a further 65 per cent are playing titles appropriate for all ages like the Super Mario franchise. And yet 25 per cent of the 8-10 year olds in the study report playing a Grand Theft Auto game, and nearly half of all the children surveyed, ages 8-18, had played a Halo game.
In the end, the results paint a mixed picture of the next generation of gamers. Like their parents, they’re engaging everywhere, and the genres we think of as casual and social gaming are beginning to dominate what time they spend in digital play. But for all that children are spending more time with their mobile devices and more time online, it seems “turn off the TV” is still more commonly heard than “turn off that video game” when it comes time for homework or even playing outside.
Generation M2: Media in the Lives of 8- to 18-Year-Olds [Kaiser Family Foundation, via Kill Screen]