The changing face of the New Zealand video game player




Take a look at the graphic. It shows the changing face of the New Zealand interactive entertainment landscape. As a longtime video game player and champion of the medium, I’m liking what I’m seeing.

DNZ16 is the fourth report from the Australian IGEA and Bond University’s Professor Jeffery Brand and Stewart Todhunter on the influence of interactive entertainment in New Zealand, and it shows, among other things, that the face of the New Zealand video game player is changing.

Here is the foreword to the report and I think it sums everything up nicely.

We are witnessing breathtaking changes in the realm of digital interactive entertainment. It is hard to imagine that 15 years ago, we were debating the worth, even potential harms, of simple video games.

Today attention is on the potential of this amazing medium to reinvigorate education, workplace training, consumer engagement and social and political conversation. Interactive entertainment is celebrated for its economic importance. There have been many voices in the call to treat games as a serious medium for the knowledge age.

The three IGEA-Bond University reports preceding this one have contributed to the chorus of voices. These national New Zealand studies of computer game audiences have broken down stereotypes that prevented understanding in the wider community that computer games were not only a popular medium, but a productive medium.

You can download a full copy of the DNZ16 report here and I suggest you read through it as it makes for a really interesting insight, but because I’m a nice guy here are the key findings in an easy to digest graphical format. You’re welcome.










According to DNZ16, 70% of those that took part believed that video games can improve thinking, 47% believed video games could help fight dementia and 28% of respondents who were aged over 50 played video games to keep their mind active.  Food for thought, right?

It comes as no surprise that the average of a video game player is 34 [I’m much, much older than that. Interestingly, in my demographic: the, ahem, 45 to 54 age bracket, 54% play games], 48% of video game players are women and 13 years is the average years respondents have been playing video games.

DNZ16 found that 88 minutes was the average play time for people [I struggle to get in an hour a day sometimes due to work and other commitments] and 98% of homes with children have some form of video games in them.

The full report itself has much more information for you to digest but I’d be really interested to know why you play video games [interactive entertainment], no matter whether it’s console, PC or mobile, what you think of the findings and where you fit into the interactive entertainment demographic.


6 thoughts on “The changing face of the New Zealand video game player

  1. Very insightful and interesting reading. I have wondered for a long time the gaming habits of the wider community. I find that it assists my reaction times and cognitive ability in life. The depth of games and multiple ways of completing missions etc brings a strategic element which I enjoy more than following a somewhat linear path. Keep up the great work, I really enjoy checking from time to time to read your articles and reviews, it is a hidden gem on the net and you have much talent. I wish you all the best.

  2. I’m very wary of how this research relates to the general population. The stat “43% of those aged 65 and over play video games” rang alarm bells for me. I just find that very hard to believe.

    “… participants were drawn from an online national random sample using the Nielsen
    Your Voice Panel”. (

    So the people who were questioned for the study had already signed up for an online panel – They were ready and willing to take part in online surveys. I’d say that already skews the sample towards the digitally literate. Well, not only literate, I’d say the digitally enthusiastic, so these numbers about participation are all going to be way too high.

    I think these kinds of surveys get trotted out far too often where everyone goes “yay, old people play games too” when in fact it’s just not true in the real world. It would mean more if they’d been door to door conducting surveys, but that would make it an expensive study.

    • You make a good point about participants already being digitally enthusiastic, but the results include mobile game so it’s not out of the question that many in the 65+ bracket play video games. My mother-in-law, who is 70, plays Candy Crush a lot and I’m sure she’s not the only one in that demographic that plays games like that.

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