July 6, 2003

Let the games begin: Gaming technology and college students

Gaming technology and entertainment among college students

  • While the last few years have seen tremendous growth in gaming, for one segment of the population, college students, gaming is virtually a commonplace. Computer, video and online games are woven into the fabric of everyday life for college students. And, they are more of a social/socializing activity than most suspected.
  • All of those surveyed reported to have played a video, computer or online game at one time or another. Seventy percent (70%) of college students reported playing video, computer or online games at least once in a while. Some 65% of college students reported being regular or occasional game players.
  • Students cited gaming as a way to spend more time with friends. One out of every five (20%) gaming students felt moderately or strongly that gaming helped them make new friends as well as improve existing friendships.
  • Gaming also appears to play a surrogate role for some gamers when friends are unavailable. Nearly two-thirds (60%) of students surveyed agreed that gaming, either moderately or strongly, helped them spend time when friends were not available.
  • Two-thirds of respondents (65%) said gaming has little to no influence in taking away time they might spend with friends and family.
  • Students integrate gaming into their day, taking time between classes to play a game, play a game while visiting with friends or instant messaging, or play games as a brief distraction from writing papers or doing other work.
  • Gaming is integrated into leisure time and placed alongside other entertainment forms in their residence, and that it forms part of a larger multitasking setting in which college students play games, listen to music and interact with others in the room.
  • Most college student gamers seem to associate positive feelings with gaming, such as “pleasant” (36%), “exciting”(34%), and “challenging” (45%). Fewer students reported feeling frustrated (12%), bored (11%), or stressed (6%) by gaming.
  • Close to half (48%) of college student gamers agreed that gaming keeps them from studying “some” or “a lot.” In addition, about one in ten (9%) admitted that their main motivation for playing games was to avoid studying.
  • College student gamers’ reported hours studying per week match up closely with those reported by college students in general, with about two-thirds (62%) reporting that they study for classes no more than 7 hours per week, and 15% reported studying 12 or more hours per week.
  • One third (32%) of students surveyed admitted playing games that were not part of the instructional activities during classes.