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A "gamer" is someone who partakes in interactive gaming, such as (predominantly) video games or board games. The term nominally includes those who do not necessarily consider themselves to be gamers (i.e., casual gamers), as well as those who spend a notable part of their leisure time playing or learning about games.
Types of gamers
In the United States, the average video game player is 30 and has been playing video games for over 12 years. In the UK as of 2007, the average video game player was over 23 years old, had played video games for over 10 years, and spent around 11 hours a week playing video games. The term "gamer" comprises several subgroups.
A casual gamer is a player whose time or interest in playing games is limited. Casual gamers may play games designed for ease of gameplay, or play more involved games in small groupings of time, at a slower pace than hardcore gamers. The genres that casual gamers play vary, and they might not own a specific video game console to play their games. Casual gamer demographics vary greatly from those of other video gamers, as the typical casual gamer is older and more predominantly female. One casual gamer subset is the "fitness gamer", who plays motion-based exercise games.
The term casual gamer can be used to distinguish between play styles of level-based character advance in nonlinear games with respect to the amount of dedicated hours of play. MMORPGs may require many hours of grinding to develop a character to maximum level and reach the endgame, and are thus not typically suited for casual gaming. However, games like DOFUS, Eve Online and The Lord of the Rings Online try to balance leveling between any casual gamers and those dedicating more hours to the game.
A core or mid-core gamer is a player with a wider range of interests than a casual gamer and is more likely to enthusiastically play different types of games, but without the amount of time spent and sense of competition of a hardcore gamer. The mid-core gamer enjoys games but may not finish every game they buy, doesn't have time for long MMO quests, and is a target consumer. Nintendo president Satoru Iwata stated that they designed the Wii U to cater to core gamers who are in between the casual and hardcore categories.
A number of theories have been presented regarding the rise in popularity of mid-core games. James Hursthouse, the founder of Roadhouse Interactive credits the evolution of devices towards tablets and touch-screen interfaces, whereas Jon Radoff of Disruptor Beam compares the emergence of mid-core games to similar increases in media sophistication that have occurred in media such as television.
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Hardcore gamers spend a good amount of their time playing video games, often have the latest consoles/high-end PCs, and are usually technologically savvy. In addition, they prefer to play games that have depth and complexity and often seek out game-related information.
Professional gamers play video games and deeply study the game to master it and usually to play in competitions. Professional gamers don't necessarily play for money or earn a salary, but many do. A professional gamer may also be another type of gamer, such as a hardcore gamer, if he or she meets the additional criteria for that gamer type. In countries of Asia, particularly South Korea and Japan, professional gamers are sponsored by large companies and can earn more than $100,000USD a year. In the United States, Major League Gaming has contracted electronic sports gamers with $250,000USD yearly deals.
A retrogamer is a gamer preferring playing and collecting retro games - older video games and arcade games. They may also be called classic gamers or old-school gamers, which are terms that are more prevalent in the United States. The games are played either on the original hardware, on modern hardware via console emulation, or on modern hardware via ports or compilations.
Girl gamer/Gamer girl
A girl gamer/gamer girl is any female who regularly engages in playing video games. According to a study conducted by the Entertainment Software Association in 2009, 40% of the game playing population is female, and women 18 or older now comprise 34% of all gamers. Also, the percentage of women now playing online has risen to 43%, up 4% from 2004. The same study shows that 48% of game purchasers are female.
Usage of the term "girl gamer" is controversial. Some critics have advocated use of the label as a reappropriated term, while others see it as nondescriptive or perpetuating the minority position of female gamers. Some critics of the term believe there is no singular definition of a female gamer and that they are as diverse as any other group.
Girl gamers are often subject to sexual harassment while engaged in online play or tournaments. This harassment often consists of insults based on the gamer being "fat, ugly, or slutty", that they belong in the kitchen, or threats of abuse, rape, and murder.
Gaymer, or gay gamer, is a term used to refer to the group of people who identify themselves as LGBT (gay, bisexual, lesbian, or transgendered) and have an active interest in video games. This demographic has been the subject of two large surveys, one by Jason Rockwood in 2006, who noted the level of prejudice that gaymers endure, and another in 2009, focusing on the content that gaymers expect in videogames, the results of which were not published.
The gaymers community provides a "safe place" for LGBT gamers apart from the isolation they feel from both the heteronormative gaming community and the gay community. They also believe that as homosexuality in video games increase, there will be an increased normalization of homosexuality in general.
An avatar, username, game name, alias, gamer tag, screen name, or handle is a name (usually a pseudonym) adopted by a video gamer, used as a main preferred identification to the gaming community. Usage of user names is most prevalent in games with online multiplayer support, or at electronic sport conventions.
Similarly, a clan tag is a prefix or suffix added to a name to identify that the gamer is in a clan. Clans are generally a group of gamers who play together as a team against other clans. They are most commonly found in online multi-player games in which one team can face off against another. Clans can also be formed to create loosely based affiliations perhaps by all being fans of the same game or merely gamers who have close personal ties to each other. A team tag is a prefix or suffix added to a name to identify that the gamer is in a team. Teams are generally sub-divisions within the same clan and are regarded within gaming circuits as being a purely competitive affiliation. These gamers are usually in an online league such as the Cyberathlete Amateur League (C.A.L.) and their parent company the Cyberathlete Professional League (C.P.L.) where all grouped players were labeled as teams and not clans.
Clans and guilds
A clan is a group of players, most of time founded by a leader or an administrator. Other names for clans are guilds. Clans can also make tournaments and play for real money. Sometimes a clan can be a kind of professional or semi-professional gaming team that make money out of tournaments.
- Entertainment Consumers Association
- Gamers Outreach Foundation
- Going Cardboard (Documentary)
- List of gaming topics
- Player (game)
- Video game addiction
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