For many people, playing games has become a more enjoyable pastime than watching movies, listening to music, and reading books, newspapers or magazines, revealed a new study commissioned by PlayFirst and research firm Frank N. Magrid Associates.

The study, which surveyed more than 2,000 U.S. participants, found that two thirds of Americans play some type of digital game, and one out of three regularly plays casual games on social networks, smartphones or computers. Fully 80% of those players said they enjoyed playing games more than movies, music and reading. The study also revealed that social networking and social gaming are “stealing” time away from traditional videogames.


  • 87% play games on PC/Mac platforms
  • 50% play games on Facebook
  • 28% play games on Smartphones
  • 52% play on at least two of the three platforms
  • 14% play on all three platforms

The research also revealed some differences in the way men and women approach games. When it comes to gameplay, the majority of women said they preferred their games to be “entertaining” (90%) and “easy to understand and play” (77%). For men, the qualities they preferred most in their games were “challenging to finish” (79%) and “makes me feel like I accomplished something” (75%).

While women play a lot of games, it’s an activity rather than part of their identity. Nearly 60% of female players surveyed said they didn’t consider themselves a “gamer.” Men, on the other hand, seem to have no problem with the label “gamer,” as 40% strongly agreed that they were “gamers.”

More than two in five (42%) of women prefer games they can play while multi-tasking, whereas well more than half (58%) of men prefer games with state-of-the-art graphics and technology.

“Casual digital game play has truly become a pervasive part of the American lifestyle now that we can take our games with us anywhere and play them anytime,” said Mari Baker, president and CEO of PlayFirst. “The popularity of emotionally engaging casual games is exploding due to the convenience factor mobile and social platforms bring to game players of both genders and all ages.”

“The face of gaming is evolving to a broader group more representative of the overall population,” added Mike Vorhaus, president of Magid Advisors, a unit of Frank N. Magid Associates. “Gaming is a cross-generational, cross-platform activity that’s ubiquitous, yet requires unique and targeted experiences to be successful. Different groups value different things on different platforms, and by honing in on those differences, a multiplatform publisher can further optimize its product strategy.”