Entertainment | Video Games

Almost all of Aotearoa is gaming

One of Aotearoa’s fastest-growing industries, online gaming, is more commonly played than many people realise. In fact, 79% of New Zealanders play video games, with Māori more likely to play and own more gaming devices than any other demographic, according to recently released research by IGEA and Bond University (Queensland).

This is six percentage points up from 73% last year. “Video games are played by almost everyone, particularly if you are in a Māori household. Some 99% of the 148 participants in a Māori household said they have a device to play video games on,” Bond University professor Dr Jeffrey Brand says.

And while video games are often vilified in political discourse, Brand says New Zealanders have a positive outlook towards them. ”They recognise they can be really good for socialising, really good for mental health, really good for ageing well,” he says.

“In families, children and parents play together,” says Brand. “Also, mums play as much as dads and 48% of all video game players in New Zealand are women.”

More than 50% of parents who responded to the survey were Māori. Their average age was 36.6 years and 100% of them said they played video games.

A family activity

“That means you are bringing your family together through play, and we think that’s really powerful,” Brand says.

Of the 809 participants responding to the survey (representing their household), 148 identified as Māori. Of these, 147 (99%) lived in households in which games were played by at least one person. Including others in those homes, 85% played video games.

The report also breaks the stereotype of gaming being an antisocial activity, says Brand, with four out of five people saying they play video games with someone else.

“One of the things we could turn our attention to in New Zealnd is building games for older adults to socialise because that’s an area where there will be a real demand in coming years,” he says.