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Study finds growth in Australian gaming habits

The Digital Australia Report 2012 has found more Australian households include gamers than ever before.

The study found 92 percent of households have a gaming device, an increase of four percent on 2008. Of homes with children under 18, this figure rose to 95 percent.

Interestingly, this jump didn't seem entirely related to an increase in smartphones; just 43 percent of gaming households reported using phones to play, along with 13 percent using tablets. Instead, 62 percent of gamers play on PCs, 63 percent on core consoles, and 13 percent on portables - obviously, some households use more than one device.

It looks like the Australian gamer is ageing, with average rising from 30 to 32 since 2008, and three quarters of all gamers over 18. Adult gamers have on average been playing for 12 years, with more than a quarter playing for over 20. Despite that interesting snippet, youngsters are more likely to be gamers than the elderly, with 94 percent of 6-15 year olds playing as opposed to 43 percent of those over 51 years of age.

One in five gamers play social network games, but just one in ten play MMOs, in line with the casual explosion. Indeed, mobile gamers reported playing "to pass the time" rather than 'for fun an relaxation", like console players. As you'd expect, then, Australian gamers don't seem at risk of playing too much; just three percent reported play sessions of more tha five hours, with most coming in under an hour. 57 percent play almost every day, though.

Parental awareness of gaming was shown to be on the rise, with 83 percent of parents reporting that they play games, a significant jump on 2008's 70 percent. 88 percent of these gaming parents play with their children, up eight percent, and 90 percent use them to "educate" their children in various ways.

Just 56 percent of parents said they were aware of parental controls on consoles, which is concerning, but only 35 percent of non-gaming parents knew of their existence. Happily, 70 percent reported adults buying games for their kids - so hopefully they're aware of the ratings system at a bare minimum.

At the shops, 43 percent of games sold were family titles, with action (18 percent), shooter (15 percent) and sports and racing (nine percent) following. Only 43 percent reported buying physical boxed copies of games, and 14 percent bought boxed copies from online retailers. 22 percent favoured digital distribution.

IGEA's annual Digital Australia Report is based on research conducted by Bond University, sampling over 1200 randomly-selected Australian households.

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