Survey: Average gamer is 35, fat and depressed CDC study finds playing leads to ‘lower extraversion’ in adult gamers By Suzanne Choney
updated 2:09 p.m. PT, Tues., Aug 18, 2009
A new study says the average age of video-game players in the United States is 35, and oh, by the way: They're overweight and tend to be depressed.
Investigators from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Emory University and Andrews University analyzed survey data from 552 adults in the Seattle-Tacoma area. The subjects ranged in age from 19 to 90, according to the study, published in the October issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.
The hypothesis was that video-game players have a higher body mass index — the measure of a person's weight in relation to their height — and "a greater number of poor mental health days" versus nonplayers, said Dr. James B. Weaver III of the CDC's National Center for Health Marketing. The hypothesis was correct, he said.
The findings, he said in the article, "differentiated adult video-game players from nonplayers. Video-game players also reported lower extraversion, consistent with research on adolescents that linked video-game playing to a sedentary lifestyle and overweight status, and to mental-health concerns."
While the study helps "illuminate the health consequences of video-game playing," it is not conclusive, its researchers say, but rather serves to "reveal important patterns in health-related correlates of video-game playing and highlights avenues for future research."
Female video-game players reported greater incidents of depression and "lower health status" than women who do not play video games, researchers said, while male players reported a higher BMI and more Internet use time than nonplayers.
The findings "appear consistent with earlier research on adolescents that linked video game playing to a sedentary lifestyle and overweight status and mental health concerns," Weaver and other co-authors say in the article.
Evidence shows that women are effective at mood management through their media content choices, so some women may immerse themselves in cognitively engaging digital environments as a means of self-distraction; in short, they can literally 'take their minds off' their worries while playing a video game."
An implication of that, researchers said, is that "habitual use of video games as a coping response may provided a genesis for obsessive-compulsive video-game playing, if not video-game addiction."
Among men who play video games, compared to those who don't, "male video-game players spend more time using the Internet and rely more on Internet-community social support," researchers said. "They also tend to report higher BMI and lower extraversion.
"These findings illustrate that, among men, the association among sedentary behaviors, physical inactivity, and overweight status observed in children and young adults may extend into adulthood."
In a commentary in the same issue of the magazine, Dr. Brian A. Primack of the University of Pittsburgh's School of Medicine agrees, and asks: "How do we simultaneously help the public steer away from imitation playlike activities, harness the potentially positive aspects of video games and keep in perspective the overall place of video games in our society?"
For children and adults, he writes, games that require physical exertion, such as "Hide and seek" and "Freeze tag" are "still probably what we need most."
Go ahead and brave the untamed wilds of Sony's(SNE) online offerings, gamers. It's not as if Sony's basically paying hackers to take your information while you're playing L.A. Noire or anything.
After letting hackers help themselves to the personal and financial information of 77 million PlayStation Online users last month and later admitting that the online assets of another 25 million gamers was compromised when the same hackers targeted Sony's PlayStation Online Entertainment division, Sony was just bringing everything back up to speed when suddenly more holes appeared in their parchment-and-kerosene firewalls this week.
First Lebanese hackers got into Sony Ericsson's Canadian eShop and made off with thousands of e-mail addresses, passwords and user names. Then breaches at a Greek music division, in Thailand and in Indonesia turned 8,500 user accounts into one big hacker peepshow. Finally, because Sony apparently doesn't get it until someone hits them where they live, hackers hit Sony Music's Japanese site and posted Sony's database information to a Twitter account.
Sadly, the only way Sony knows how to defend itself is with its "throw money around and hope it sticks" finishing move. Sony tried to "Welcome Back" locked out PlayStation Network users by offering a free weekend of movie rentals, 30- and 60-day free subscription periods and a choice of two old games - Dead Nation (2010), Infamous (2009), LittleBigPlanet (2008), Super Stardust HD (2007) and Wipeout HD + Fury (2008) for the PlayStation 3 and LittleBigPlanet, Mod Nation Racers (2010), Pursuit Force (2006) and Killzone Liberation for anyone still using the PlayStation Portable. This concession and security updates are expected to cost the company more than $172 million.
The only opponent that big-money move hurts is Sony itself, as evidenced by the $3.2 billion loss Sony just posted for last year that only compounded the effects of Japan's earthquake and ensuing tsunami back in March. That setback makes it HD-clear what Sony has to offer as it heads into the Electronic Entertainment Expo in Los Angeles in less than two weeks: Three straight years of losses, a PlayStation Move motion controller being outsold by Microsoft's(MSFT) Xbox Kinect and a leaky online gaming and media service that's still not working in Japan.
Sony's expected to pitch a new portable gaming device at E3 and has a slew of other products its should be excited about, but there's one word Sony reps and "VP Kevin Butler" might want to avoid in Las Vegas: Cloud. That's a shame, since Microsoft keeps bulking up its Xbox Live offerings, Nintendo's expected to debut a new console with expanded online options and content competitors including Apple(AAPL) and Amazon(AMZN) are already powering up their own cloud-based services.
As users have learned all too well within the last month, Sony's cloud is just a dark, porous mass with a habit of unleashing a downpour of user information just when hackers are standing beneath it holding kiddie pools. 3. Disney Drops Dopey Trademark Bid
Sony's arrogance, high price and proprietary format came back to bite them. Sony is what happens when lawyers and accountants run a company. Happens over and over again. First they stop innovating because lawyers dont understand creative people, then they demand premiums for the name, even as quality declines (because they source to China). Their their decisions (Made by the bean-counters and lawyers again) and policies turned me against them. Something to worry about, if the go down as company they will be a really big patent troll. The lawyer are happy and still got high paid jobs. Drop dead, SONY.