Gamers seem to be one of the few groups in America who can be openly mocked without any interest group or activist willing to defend them and their way of life.
Recently, gamers have been under relentless assault from the entertainment industry as well as the news media. Movies and TV shows often use stereotypical depictions of gamers as anti-social nerds locked in their parents' basement playing games in solitude with the windows drawn. And the news media (as well as know-nothing, opportunistic politicians) have suggested that gamers are more likely to be a mass murderer due to their supposed inherent anti-social behavior and a false implication that they have lost touch with reality.
A new study says that these suggestions are completely false.
Of course, we didn't need a study to know that gamers are not inclined to be violent mass murderers. We can use the same arguments we use against gun control in the wake of a mass shooting to quell calls for banning certain video games that involve guns, but for some reason many conservatives don't defend the First Amendment as vigorously as they defend the Second.
In the same way we argue that millions of gun owners respect the law and never commit a crime with their legally-obtained and constitutionally-protected fire arms, we can say that millions of gamers are able to play without ever losing touch with reality and committing a heinous crime. Yet we conservatives often look to video games and Hollywood's "glorification of guns" as being causal in some way for mass murders. And gamers are unfairly slandered in the process.
The Washington Post reports on a new study that shows that everything the media tells us about gamers is false.
"There's this perception that [the community] comprises loners and rejects … and that couldn't be more wrong. We didn't go in with an idea of what the data would show, but we knew what we thought the data would show, and it showed what we knew to be true."
According to a copy of the study provided to the Washington Post, gamers are more likely to be living with other people such as family, friends, or significant others, and are more likely to agree with the statement, "My friends are the most important thing in my life." About 57 percent of gamers said they agree with that statement, as compared to 35 percent.
Of course, we didn't need a study to tell us gamers are sociable. Anyone who observes the industry can see that gamers have built a brand new culture and community where one did not exist. Millions are spent every year on conferences and conventions where gamers gather (sometimes in costume) and share their common experience.
Also, these days, most games are entirely interactive. Gamers are known to chat via headset either on the gaming platform they are using or via Skype with fellow gamers around the world. One could argue that gamers are more socially connected than most people in the world.
The study also shows that gamers are a desirable demographic that conservatives would be very smart to try to cultivate instead of alienate:
The study also found that gamers are split more evenly by gender than they have been in the past, with 52 percent of video gamer players surveyed identifying as male and 48 percent identifying as female. A 2004 survey from the Entertainment Software Association estimated that 40 percent of gamers were female.
Gamers are also slightly more likely to be employed full-time—42 percent for gamers, versus 39 percent for non-gamers—which undoubtedly comes in handy when trying to figure out how to financially support a gaming hobby.
Why not stand for freedom and the First Amendment and stand up for gamers? This is a golden opportunity for conservatives to show that they can stand with a younger demographic. Instead, in the effort to protect the Second Amendment we seem to be all too willing to let gamers be scapegoated as somehow being partially responsible for heinous, violent crimes.
Video games don't kill people, evil, lawless people kill people.