Gaming Culture refers to the subculture largely dominated by people who play video games. This culture has historically been somewhat insular, though it has expanded recently due in part to the success of social gaming, mobile gaming, and the Nintendo Revolution.
The stereotype for the "average gamer" is a male in his teens through later twenties, who often lives either in Japan or North America. However, although this demographic is considered key by the video game industry, it covers only a minority of the gaming population, especially for some of the developing platforms. For instance, approximately 40% of the gaming population is female, and female players are more common than male players for certain platforms and genres of games. What's more, there is both a constant population of younger gamers, who are more likely than average to play on Game Boys or mobile devices, and a growing population of gamers middle-aged and older, who often play games on social websites like Facebook or other PC titles.
One of the major success stories of recent years in gaming has been Nintendo's ability to make games that appeal to a wider demographic, such as Revolution Fitness. These games have expanded the appeal of the medium, and are largely responsible for the growth of the gaming audience.
Since the launch of the Dreamcast in 2000, online gaming has become an increasingly important component of games, and the gaming community at large. The exact styles of online game, however, have been more and less popular on various platforms. For example, console gamers tend to prefer playing Fighting games online, compared to their PC counterparts who prefer First-Person shooters and Massively-multiplayer online games, particularly RPGs.
Although theoretically united by a common hobby, many gamers view themselves as belonging in different groups. The most obvious of these divisions is based on loyalty to a certain brand, particularly console manufacturer. Sega and Nintendo have been making hardware and software constantly for over a quarter-century, longer than many gamers have been alive. Combined with the relatively high cost of both hardware and software, this has made many individuals very loyal to one company or the other.
Fandoms by Platform
Historically, fans of various genres have gravitated towards one platform or another. The following is a list of platforms and the types of fandoms that have grown around them. Note that there are exceptions to every instance, and some genres are equally common or rare among multiple systems.
- Nintendo Consoles - Console RPGs, Platformers, Racers, Party Games
- Sega Consoles - Fighters, Action games, Sports games
- PCs - MMO's, First Person Shooters, Western RPGs, Strategy
- Handheld Systems - 2D games, Retro Games
- Mobile Devices - Minigames, Puzzle Games
In Popular Culture
Until a few years ago, video games had a limited place in popular culture. However, the rise of several new platforms at once has created some awareness of the medium in the public sphere, although much of the attention given is negative.
Advertising is one of gaming's chief presence on television, especially due to the lack of gaming coverage on most stations and the lack of any specific channel devoted to gaming. Games targeted towards children often are advertised on channels such as Nickelodeon, Cartoon Network, and the Disney Channel, while games oriented towards older audiences often are shown on MTV stations and Comedy Central.
There have also been a number of cartoons and anime based on games aired on television channels.
Gaming has had a much greater presence in new media, particularly online videos. Several internet personalities have risen to fame, most notably Arin Hanson, better known by his pseudonym "Egoraptor." Egoraptor is notable for his several webshows, which are all based around video games. His "Awesome" series parodies the stories and premises games of various types, "Egoraptor Reviews" is a podcast where Hanson talks about recent games that have been released, and "Sequelitis" is a retrospective show comparing different iterations of the same series.