Gamers Are Not Who You Think They Are, Study Finds

Twitch says their profile has changed in last decade

A new study commissioned by gaming-themed online video platform Twitch finds that today's gamers do not live in their parents' basements, and are, for all intents and purposes, just average young people who aren't tethered to their consoles.

Sixty-three percent of Americans have played a video game in the last 60 days. When parsing out the information on millennials, that number jumps to 73 percent of that demographic.

"Gamers overall have a different profile than 10 years ago," said Jonathan Simpson-Bint, Twitch's chief revenue officer. "The sort of key takeaway before was that gamers have been a pariah group. That simply isn't the case now because they basically follow the profile of millennials."

This leaves interesting opportunities for advertisers who want to target the average millennial, Simpson-Bint explained. Twitch has worked with brands like Mountain Dew, and movie studios like Lionsgate have worked with it to promote its movies. For example, Twitch held a Starcraft 2 tournament called the Enders Cup as a form of branded content for the movie Ender's Game. The deals have helped the company double its nonendemic revenue compared to this time last year, and it is on track to have 300 percent to 400 percent growth in the category by the end of 2014, per Simpson-Bint.

And, it's allegedly piqued the interest of YouTube, which reportedly may be bidding to buy it for $1 billion.

"Gamers are social, video is their language, and Twitch is ultimately their platform," Simpson-Bint proclaimed.

It's not only that the majority of people are playing games, but that those who dabble behind the joystick are pretty social. Today's gamers are more likely to be living with someone else, be it their families, roommates or a significant other than nongamers. They also tend to say their friends are the most important thing in their life (57 percent versus 35 percent of nongamers). And, about three out of four gamers make offline time a communal activity with their friends.

The study didn't define what exactly constituted a video game, meaning that even casual mobile gamers were labeling themselves with the gamer tag. LifeCourse Associates led the research.

"Not that long ago, I would present to the room of an agency and ask how many people were gamers," Simpson-Bint recalled. "A couple of people—almost always guys—would raise their hand and confess they play games."

"I don't ask that question anymore because literally everyone puts their hands up," he added.