Oh Electronic Software Association, you’ve given me an early Christmas present. The ESA is the foremost data collector of statistics and data on video game consumption, usage, and attitudes. Annually this blog reports on their essential facts about video game consumption, but today they’ve released a special report on their findings on how politically engaged gamers are. They’ve created a easy to read infographic of all of these statistics that I will be pulling from.
Now that were are officially a year away from the 2016 election, such statistics are as timely as ever. Spoiler alert: Most gamers don’t think America’s leadership is a monarchy ruled by Princess Zelda.
The results are overwhelmingly positive: gamers are very politically engaged. In a survey that asked whether or not they would vote in the 2016 election, 80% of gamers said they were going to exercise their right to vote. This is in comparison to non-gamers, which had a percentage of 75% respondents saying they were going to vote in next years election.
“100 million gamers will vote next year…Gamers are engaged, informed and hold strong opinions on critical issues. From both sides of the aisle, and in every state across the country, they will influence the course of our nation’s future.”
In terms of political party, gamers are split even with an equal amount identifying as
Republican and Demographics. This doesn’t surprise me all that much, as it closely represents the general demographics on the United States, further showing that gamers are the general population. That said, significantly more gamers identify as conservative than liberal. Why gamers skew heavily social conservative is beyond me, and on what issues they lean conservative isn’t specified
Lastly the survey looked at what gamers think about specific issues.
There’s some really interesting insights into how they fall on issues and this is really one of the first studies to actually ask these specific questions. Despite the majority classifying themselves as “conservative” their political leanings on issues definitely have some socially liberal slants.
With the statistics out of the way, we can hypothesize as to why gamers tend to be more politically active than non-gamers (or at least say they are). It could certainly have something to do with their connection to online communities; video game communities are gathering places for people to discuss on-going issues. Places like NeoGaf’s off-topic forums ignite intellectual debates in their threads, and this creates public awareness for issues people may not typically come across in their daily lives. Whatever the reason for this political engagement, it’s a beautiful thing to see gamers getting politically active. There are issues out there that concern all gamers; A more politically engaged community is one that has a greater voice.
I think Simon Rosenberg, president and founder of NDN, says it best in the ESA press release:
What is so striking about this research is how deeply mainstreamed video games have become in our culture…The views of gamers are as diverse as the nation itself, and there can be little doubt now that playing video games is a near universal activity at the very core now of the national experience in the U.S.”
Not to brag or anything, but I’ve been saying that for years…Yeah, I’m cool.
Please head over the ESA website and support this type of research. We need more of this stuff, it really does make for a more educated and informed video game community.