SEATTLE, June 11 /PRNewswire/ -- Tens of millions of disabled consumers
have gravitated to "casual" video games as a source of relief or
distraction from their infirmities, as well as a sense of accomplishment or
belonging, according to a new survey conducted by Information Solutions
Group on behalf of PopCap Games. According to the survey, more than one in
five (20.5%) players of casual video games have a physical, mental or
developmental disability; this compares to 15.1% of the American population
overall who are disabled, according to the latest U.S. Census data. Over
three quarters of the more than 2,700 disabled consumers who participated
in the study described their disabilities as "moderate" or "severe," and
the benefits to, and methods of play by, disabled gamers vary considerably
from those of non-disabled casual gamers.
Compared to the casual gamer population as a whole (which industry
estimates peg at 300 million to 400 million players worldwide), those with
disabilities play more frequently, for more hours per week, and for longer
periods of time per gaming session. They also report that they experience
more significant benefits from playing and view their game-playing activity
as a more important factor in their lives than do non-disabled consumers.
Profile of Respondents
A total of 13,296 casual game players responded to the survey, with
2,728 respondents (20.5%) identifying themselves as "mildly" (22%),
"moderately" (54%) or "severely" (24%) disabled. Of those, 46% indicated
that their primary disability was physical, 29% said it was mental, and 25%
stated they had a developmental or learning disability. Over two thirds
(69%) of disabled respondents were female, and a third (35%) of all
respondents had another person -- parent, adult offspring, spouse, guardian
or caregiver -- assist them in taking the survey.
The most common types of disabilities and medical conditions cited by
respondents, by category, were:
-- Physical: Rheumatoid Arthritis/Osteoarthritis (14%); Fibromyalgia
(11%); Multiple Sclerosis (7%).
-- Mental: Moderate/Severe Depression (41%); Bipolar Disorder (16%);
Anxiety Disorder (15%).
-- Developmental/Learning: ADD/ADHD (46%); Autism (15%); Dyslexia (11%).
The majority (61%) of those survey respondents with a physical
disability are age 50 or older, while slightly more than half (52%) of
those with a developmental/learning disability are under 18 years of age.
Perceived Benefits of Play
Fully 94% of disabled players of casual games said they believe playing
casual games "provides physical or mental benefits" -- compared to 80% of
casual game players overall. The most common benefits cited by disabled
gamers (when asked to choose as many as applied) were stress relief (81%),
mood lifting (69%), distraction from issues related to disability (66%),
improved concentration (59%) and mental workouts (58%). Interestingly, the
top benefits varied significantly based on the type of disability; the top
three benefits by disability type were:
-- Physical: Stress relief (84%) and distraction from issues related to
-- Mental: Stress relief (87%) and mood-lifting (78%)
-- Developmental/Learning: Improved concentration (79%) and improved
coordination/manual dexterity (73%)
Those with developmental/learning disabilities cited learning (pattern
recognition, spelling, typing skills) far more often (61%) than those with
disabilities that were mental (26%) or physical (23%).
Furthermore, 77% of disabled players said playing casual games provides
them with "additional benefits over and above what a typical non-disabled
player might experience."
Of the "additional benefits," responses were numerous and varied, often
citing deeper sensations of achievement and "belonging," or distraction
from loneliness and/or chronic pain. As one respondent put it, "Our son
with Attention Deficit Disorder does not really remember he has a
disability when he is playing." Dr. Carl Arinoldo, a Stony Brook, New
York-based psychologist of 25 years' experience who has treated patients
with a range of physical and mental disabilities, agrees: "With some forms
of depression, a person may be very focused on something that clearly
amounts to a misperception of reality. So the chance to distance themselves
from the perceived negative situation and relax may allow them to think
more clearly and consider the situation later in a more realistic manner."
Gary Robinson, a 58-year-old North Carolina resident with severe
physical disabilities, states "Games like Bejeweled and Peggle, with simple
controls that are also mentally challenging and engaging are ideal for me,
because my mind moves as quickly as the next guy's but I type with a
mouth-stick. In some ways, games like these are the greatest thing that's
appeared on the computer scene for people like me."
Among all disabled gamers, nearly two thirds (64%) said they play
casual games every day, and an additional 28% play several times per week.
By comparison, 57% of casual game players overall say they play daily. In
terms of time spent playing, disabled gamers are more "avid consumers" than
the average casual game player:
-- 60% of disabled gamers play casual games for five or more hours per
week, (vs. 52% of casual gamers overall)
-- 40% of disabled gamers play for 10 or more hours per week (vs. 29% of
overall casual gamers)
-- 24% of disabled gamers play for 16 or more hours per week (vs. 13% of
overall casual gamers)
Gary Robinson estimates he spends four or more hours each day playing
casual games. "Let's just say that playing the games helps my whole
well-being; sometimes they give me a direct and immediate purpose in life,
and that's an important sensation to have every so often."
When asked to choose the single most frequent time for playing casual
games, 26% of survey respondents with physical disabilities, and 29% of
those with mental disabilities, indicated "late at night, before bed,"
compared to just 11% of those with developmental/learning disabilities. The
latter group indicated weekends (30%) was the time they played most often.
This is presumed to be due to the large number of children in the category.
Almost half (44%) of all disabled gamers indicated that they had
recommended playing casual games to others with significant disabilities,
and more than a tenth of respondents (11%) said that a "physician,
psychiatrist, physical therapist or other medical professional had
prescribed or recommended playing casual games as part of the treatment"
for their disability.
As for solitary versus companion game play, 44% of disabled gamers said
they played casual games with other people at least part of the time. Of
those, more than one in four (28%) said they played casual games with other
disabled individuals. Among respondents with developmental/learning
disabilities specifically, 60% said they played casual games with other
When asked to pick their favorite categories of casual games, disabled
gamers' choices closely mirrored those of non-disabled players, with
"puzzle" (84%), "word and trivia" (61%) and "arcade" (59%) being the three
most-cited genres. "Card" (54%) and "hidden object" (51%) games rounded out
the top five categories among disabled gamers.
Casual Vs. Hardcore
Only 26% of disabled casual gamers said they also play traditional,
"hardcore" video games; among those respondents with physical disabilities
specifically, that figure dropped to 18%. Among all disabled gamers who
also play hardcore games, 25% said they played hardcore games on a daily
basis -- compared to 64% who play casual games daily.
This international research was conducted by Information Solutions
Group (ISG; http://www.infosolutionsgroup.com) for PopCap Games. These
results are based on online surveys completed by 2,728 respondents randomly
selected between April 2 and April 17, 2008. In theory, in 19 cases out of
20, the results will differ by no more than 1.9 percentage points from what
would have been obtained by seeking out and polling all PopCap.com users.
Survey subjects were presented with exhaustive lists of various types of
disabilities by category in order to assist in accurately categorizing
themselves. For the purpose of this survey, a disabled person is defined as
one who has a significant medical condition or a physical, mental,
developmental or learning impairment/disability. This includes, but is not
limited to, medical conditions that affect mobility, vision, hearing and
learning. It also includes chronic diseases, such as multiple sclerosis and
chronic fatigue syndrome; mental disorders, such as depression or anxiety;
and developmental disabilities, such as ADD/ADHD (recently re-diagnosed as
AD/HD -- Predominantly Inattentive Type), dyslexia and autism.
PopCap Games (http://www.popcap.com) is the leading multi-platform
provider of "casual games" -- fun, easy-to-learn, captivating computer
games that appeal to everyone from age 6 to 106. Based in Seattle,
Washington, PopCap was founded in 2000 and has a worldwide staff of over
200 people in Seattle, San Francisco, Chicago, Vancouver, B.C. and Dublin.
Its games have been downloaded more than 1 billion times by consumers
worldwide, and its flagship title, Bejeweled(R), has sold more than 10
million units across all platforms. Constantly acclaimed by consumers and
critics, PopCap's games are played on the Web, desktop computers, myriad
mobile devices (cell phones, smartphones, PDAs, Pocket PCs, iPod and more),
popular game consoles (such as Xbox), and in-flight entertainment systems.
PopCap is the only casual games developer with leading market share across
all major sales channels, including Web portals, retail stores, mobile
operators and developers, and game device manufacturers.
The PopCap logo and all other trademarks used herein that are listed at
http://www.popcap.com/trademarks are owned by PopCap Games, Inc. or its
licensors and may be registered in some countries. Other company and
product names used herein may be trademarks of their respective owners and
are used for the benefit of those owners.
SOURCE Information Solutions Group