Pew Research Center’s 2015 Findings on Console Ownership

Less progressive parts of the gaming community are in an uproar today, as a new survey suggest that more American women own video game consoles than their male counterparts. Should chauvinistic males flee the medium for fear of cooties? We’ll look into that finding and more!

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The Pew Research Group is a well respected, non-partisan ,and non-advocacy research group that gathers data on public issues, attitudes, and trends shaping America and the world. This week they released their findings on technology device ownership, ranging from tablets to video game consoles. It’s great data to comb through, but I’ll be focusing specifically on the findings of console ownership.

Let me start of my saying this: It’s ridiculous that there is a backlash to this survey. Read any article reporting this survey and you’ll be met with juvenile comments from people saying it’s poor research, a conspiracy of sorts, or a sign that video games are going to hell. Regardless of the validity of the data,  such comments and responses prove that there still exists a vocal minority that represent backwards and offensive views. If this survey is true, we as a community should be thrilled that this once male dominated medium is now a more inclusive one. A diverse video game community is a stronger community and  these negative views do not represent the entire video game community.

With that said, lets examine the finding:

The number that is grabbing the most headlines is the finding that 42% of women own video game consoles, while only 37% of men own a console.  This result is contrary to what most would assume, as the ESA report on video game consumption found that male gamers were still in the majority. However, it’s not as inconceivable as it once was; female gamers are on the rise and they make up nearly half of the gaming population.

With that said, there are certain consideration to think about when looking at this data, such as does this data include respondents who are parents and own video game consoles because their children? Likewise, does this include respondents who bought video game consoles because of their multimedia uses and not their video game uses, and would otherwise not consider themselves “gamers”?  Although we don’t have an answer for these questions and these aren’t suggestions for why the data is as it is, such questions allow us to better interpret and hypothesize about the data in front of us. To create a better picture of console ownership, additional probing questions would have to be asked.

Next the survey looks specifically at the breakdown of race in regards to console ownership. This data is actually quite interesting if only for the fact that it’s not something most research groups typically delve into when conducting research concerning video game demographics. That said, it’s not all that surprising; the percentage of people who play video games is relatively similar across each race.

Likewise, the data on educational attainment  and community type is relatively unremarkable. It is worth noting that the educational attainment data is mostly tied directly with financial ability to purchase video games.

As stated at the bottom of the survey, the sample size surveyed was 948 respondents. This is a pretty healthy sample size; more could be included, but it’s viable enough to work off of.  The Research Group goes into their complete methodology behind the survey for anyone with lingering doubts about the survey. Given that, should we take all of this data at face value? Not necessarily. As I mentioned, this data doesn’t give the complete picture. There may be reasons why certain stats are what they are, but the data does  gives us a better picture than we had before.

In all, this isn’t the most earth shattering survey response. Not all data is shocking or dramatic, a lot of time surveys just confirm what we mostly assume. However, it’s important for groups like the Pew Research Group to conduct these surveys because they give us the raw data that we need to formulate our arguments and theories. They’re out there doing the hard work for us. No body wants me calling 948 people asking about whether or not they have video games, I swear.

PS4/XboxOne Midnight Release: Dos and Don’ts You’ll Need to know before You Line Up

With both Playstation and Microsoft releasing their next consoles in the upcoming weeks, it’s inevitable that people are preparing for the tried and true tradition of lining up for the midnight releases. Midnight release parties are a culture in their own right; New laws exist, the meek become the strong, and getting your hands on a console is the only thing that matters. Thus, for your sake and mine, I’ve decided it’s time to learn a little bit about the dos-and-don’ts of Console Midnight Releases.

Fair warning: Midnight releases get can get rough. Not dangerous or sketchy or anything, but rough on the sights and sounds. We’re talking lines of gamers, mostly dudes, whom have been standing in line for hours, if not days. While standing in a midnight release line for the Ouya I became inebriated by the fumes of my fellow gamers. I then begin to hallucinate for hours that I was in the game BattleToads.  I awoke hours past midnight in a nearby Pinkberry covered in yogurt and toppings with a screaming teenage employee holding a large spoon yelling at me. That story, of course, was a lie; no one cared about the Ouya.

Without further ado:

DO: Show up earlier than later.

Yeah, not standing in is nice, but so it getting a console at midnight. If you’re dedicated to getting a midnight released console, arrive earlier than later. Don’t wait until a line starts forming, if you’re really dedicated you won’t be afraid to be the first one in line. All of your waiting and patience will pay off when you get to play those sweet sweet launch titles…well, maybe not.

DON’T: Go Alone 

This one probably is the least followed rule of the midnight release, since many of us won’t be able to find a friend as passionate about having their console directly at midnight. That said, you’re still standing outside in the middle of the night with strangers. Launch lineups can be dangerous places, you’re essentially in a crowd of individuals each with the intention to spend at least 400 dollars on a video game console. Many muggings and thefts have occurred during midnight releases, often time after gamers have received their consoles. For your safety, please bring a friend, family member, or someone who will have your back even if they are only there to keep you company.

Do: Prepare before hand

One of the worst things you can do is line-up without having prepared to stand in a line for hours. Beyond sheer will, you’ll need other essentials including food, drink, and entertainment. That means plan ahead, bring bottles of water and snacks to get you through the night. Plan accordingly for the night: don’t go in just a t-shirt and shorts, even though you’re lining up at 3pm in the day. Also, bring your 3DS or Vitas, as you’ll be a line of gamers who may also have their handhelds on them; It’s a great way to pass the time and maybe even make some friends in the mean time.

Don’t: Go.

I know, it’s a little contradictory of me to give you some advise about going to midnight releases and then flat our advise not to go. But really, don’t go. You’re really not gaining that much by getting a game at midnight, at most you’re getting a few extra hours with a console that you’ll probably be too tired to really appreciate. Stay home, sleep, and wait until the morning and get a console at a store that isn’t holding a midnight release. Better yet, preorder in advance or have it shipped to you the day it releases.  If you’re worried that you won’t get a console at midnight unless you line up then just wait, the drought of consoles typically only last a few weeks at most. You’ll be able to eventually get your hands on a console, and besides: Launch games typically aren’t all that great.

For those who of you set on being there for a midnight release: Be safe and enjoy.