70% of Australians play video games and it’s not who you think

Women make and play games in record numbers

Digital games have become a favourite national pastime. Almost 70% of Australians are now playing digital games with women making up nearly half of all players.

Women are getting into games to de-stress, have fun, to improve their thinking skills and dexterity, to pass the time and for social engagement, research in the Interactive Games and Entertainment Association’s (IGEA) Digital Australia Report 2018 shows.

Far from a solitary pursuit, over 92% of people play games with others. And it’s not just young people.

The study shows that digital games are for the whole family. Adults aged over 65 are the fastest-growing group of new players, while parents are also embracing the large number of family-friendly games available to bond with their children. Over 97% of homes with children have digital games.

Long-time video-game fan, game developer and mother of two, Clara Reeves is one of them. She says, “Games are a mainstream medium now. There is more range in content than a lot of people realise. There are contemplative artistic experiences, deep stories, things that give your brain a good workout… it’s not all shooters and dexterity-based games. Most people in our society interact with games now.”

“I play a lot of games with my kids…and a lot without my kids! They love it and, as a parent, I think it’s a good idea to play with them, to make sure you’re comfortable with the content.”

Clara is also one of the growing number of women making a career in Australia’s flourishing $2.2B digital games industry. As President of Hipster Whale, she oversees one of Australia’s most successful mobile development studio and publisher, famed for producing Crossy Road, played by over 200 million people worldwide.

The growing number of women working in games development is supported by organisations like Girl Geek Academy which teaches coding and other skills designed to increase the number of females working in games and successful STEM careers. More women working in games is also propelling broader content, like Ninja Pizza Girl, a game about beating bullies and building resilience, developed by Australian Nicole Starke and her family.

The latest, greatest and emerging games from Australia and the world will all be on show during Melbourne International Games Week (MIGW), 22–29 October. The largest games event in Asia Pacific, MIGW presents a range of events for families, consumers, industry, teachers, game-players and makers.

Minister for Creative Industries and a champion of the local games industry, Martin Foley says the Victorian Government created Melbourne International Games Week to celebrate and promote Melbourne’s strength as Australia’s games capital.

“Melbourne is home to half of Australia’s digital games industry. The games we create here are exported and enjoyed globally. Our local game developers have won Oscars and BAFTAs, produced games for the likes of Disney and Nintendo, and continue to capture the imaginations of players around the world.”