Girl gamers on the rise in Oz

New study shows 41 percent of Aussie gamers are women; 34 percent of gamers down under have played a pirated game.

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Female gamers are quickly becoming commonplace in Australia and will soon overtake men as the most common gender playing games down under, a new research report has found.

The Interactive Australia 2007 report, commissioned by the Interactive Entertainment Association of Australia (IEAA) in conjunction with Bond University's Centre for New Media Research, found that 41 percent of all Australian gamers are now female, up from 38 percent in 2005. The report predicts that the number of female gamers will be the same as male gamers by 2012, with report author Dr Jeff Brand saying women would become the dominant game-playing gender soon after that.

"The fact of the matter is that today computer games are for adults, and women represent the fastest growing single demographic for gameplay," Brand said. "In five or six years, we'll see that the average gamer is female."

The report, which was gathered from a survey of 1,606 Australians, found that female gamers preferred to play puzzles, board games, cards, and family titles. Male gamers prefer racing and first-person shooters.

The report also found that the average age of gamers in Australia is now 28 years old, up from 24 years old in 2005. Brand predicts that the average age of gamers will be 42 years old--the overall average age of Australians--by 2014.

Gamers are well represented throughout all of Australia, with 79 percent of Australian households having a device for playing games. Of these households, 34 percent have one gaming device, 28 percent have two or three, and 17 percent have four or more devices. The computer is by far the most popular piece of gaming technology, with 94.6 percent of gaming households having a computer. The PlayStation 2 is the next most popular at 36.3 percent, followed by the original Xbox (18.8 percent) and the PlayStation (14.1 percent). The Xbox 360 was present in 3.5 percent of all gaming households.

Despite the popular stereotype of gaming being an antisocial activity, the report found that more than 56 percent of all gamers play with others in the same room. Only 19 percent said they preferred to play alone. One-third of Australian gamers are parents, with 77 percent of those people playing computer games with their children.

While the overall number of Australian gamers is on the rise, it seems not all of us are as honest as we should be. The Interactive Australia 2007 report found that 34 percent of all Australian gamers have played a pirated game at least once, with 18 percent saying they have played pirated games many times. Of those who have played pirated games, 56 percent accessed it from a friend or family member, while 22 percent downloaded it from the Internet.

The full Interactive Australia 2007 report can be found on the IEAA's official Web site.

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