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PC gamer, WorthPlaying EIC, globe-trotting couch potato, patriot, '80s headbanger, movie watcher, music lover, foodie and man in black -- squirrel!

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Survey Says Casual Games Educational and Help Families Bond

by Rainier on Aug. 28, 2007 @ 12:26 p.m. PDT

Largest-ever casual games survey reveals 70% of family gamers see educational benefits for children / grandchildren, while 92% of say casual games provide an opportunity for them to bond.

PopCap Games unveils the results of the largest-ever worldwide (including UK) survey of casual computer game players, which also reveals that 70% of ‘family gamers’ believe casual games provide educational benefits to their children/grandchildren – with greatest benefits of gameplay identified as learning, stress relief and hand-eye coordination.

In stark contrast to traditional perceptions of computer gaming, parents/grandparents said casual games helped them bond with their children/grandchildren (92%) and mentioned the following casual game benefits for children/grandchildren:

  • 68% cited Hand-eye coordination/Manual dexterity
  • 60% cited Learning (pattern recognition, resource allocation, spelling, etc.)
  • 51% cited Mental workouts/Cognitive exercise
  • 48% cited Memory strengthening
  • 44% cited Stress relief/Relaxation
  • 37% cited Positive affirmation/Confidence building

Among the nearly 7,500 adult respondents who took part in the survey, nearly a third (31%) indicated they had children or grandchildren under 18 who play casual games in their home. And of these 2,298 ‘family gamers’, 80% play casual games with their children or grandchildren - while 66% said they would welcome the use of such games in their children’s or grandchildren’s schools.

Professor Mark Griffiths, Professor of Gambling Studies at Nottingham Trent University, UK says: "Empirical research has consistently shown that in the right context, computer- and videogames can have a positive educational, psychological and therapeutic benefit to a large range of different ages and sub-groups.”

“Casual games span generations and genders in ways that traditional ‘hardcore’ video games never have,” notes Dr. Carl Arinoldo, a New York-based psychologist and author of Essentials of Smart Parenting. “This universal appeal, and the ‘G-rated’ content of the games, makes them a great activity in which the whole family can participate, with each generation enjoying the games in different ways while also enjoying the interaction with other family members.”

Almost half of respondents indicated they had multiple children or grandchildren who played the games in their home. Of these, 88% described the game-play interaction between the children as at least partly cooperative, with only 12% characterizing it as strictly competitive. “Casual games seem to promote more of a cooperative ‘let's work on this together’ type of atmosphere, as opposed to an aggressive, interpersonal competitive environment,” observed Dr. Arinoldo. On a related note, only 28% of adult family gamers indicated they allowed their children or grandchildren to play so-called “hardcore” video games.

This international research was conducted by Information Solutions Group for PopCap Games. The results are based on online surveys completed by 2,298 respondents randomly selected between 15th June 2007 and 29th June 2007.

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