Gaming has shed its geeky image to become a ‘cool’ hobby

Windows 10 gamer

A new survey on gaming carried out by Dell (the firm which makes Alienware machines) has found that the pastime is no longer the domain of geeks, and is now considered to be a ‘cool’ pursuit – and one that can develop useful real-life skills.

Gone are the days when the gamer was typically considered to be a loner teenager locked in his or her bedroom, and the very label ‘gamer’ was tied closely to the concept of geekery.

The global survey (which encompassed nearly 6,000 videogame players across 11 countries) showed that gamers are now your co-workers, siblings or friends, and that fewer than 10% of respondents felt embarrassed, judged or guilty of some childish crime to be called a ‘gamer’.

Indeed, gamer is now considered a positive term, with 35% of respondents equating it to ‘fun’, 29% considering it to be ‘cool’ in terms of a hobby, and 26% labelling it ‘exciting’.

The popularity of esports and social media is helping to spread the word about how enjoyable gaming can be, and gamers are now less shy about sharing their passion with others, with a quarter of respondents having introduced five or more people to the hobby.

Developing diversity

Diversity is also becoming a stronger suit for gamers, with the research pointing to a sharp increase in the numbers of female players in recent times – 47% of respondents had a female friend who games.

And, 86% of those surveyed said the gender of those who they were matched up against in online play was of no consequence (you may well expect this to be higher, of course, but let’s face it, there’s always a toxic element when it comes to online gaming).

When it came to online match-ups, the principal concern was the opponent’s skill level, with 40% of respondents saying this was important. The ethnicity, political views and sexual orientation of opponents were inconsequential to most folks, as you would hope, only being a concern to 8%, 7% and 6% respectively (the toxic minority strikes again).

Another interesting point is that gaming isn’t just regarded as fun, but also a way of honing skills, with 37% believing it improved their hand-eye coordination, and 36% thinking it made their reaction times better.

Gaming isn’t just about reactions and twitch skills, though, and can also sharpen the mind. In fact, the largest percentage – 39% – said it made them more strategic thinkers, and 27% said it enhanced their teamwork skills.

Darren is a freelancer writing news and features for TechRadar (and occasionally T3) across a broad range of computing topics including CPUs, GPUs, various other hardware, VPNs, antivirus and more. He has written about tech for the best part of three decades, and writes books in his spare time (his debut novel - 'I Know What You Did Last Supper' - was published by Hachette UK in 2013).