Concordia University communications professor Mia Consalvo conducted a study to find the correlation between sports video game fans and their media consumption. The results of that study were recently published in Convergence: The International Journal of Research into New Media Technologies. Working with Abe Stein and Konstantin Mitgutsch from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Consalvo (who also holds a Canada Research Chair in Game Studies and Design) conducted an online survey of 1,718 respondents to track the demographics, habits, attitudes and activities of sports video game players.
Ultimately researchers found that the majority of those who play sports video games are male (98.4 percent), white (80 percent) and in their mid-20s (average of 26 years). The survey results also showed that the sports gamers are drawn from a more traditional demographic of game players, at least when it comes to console and certain personal computer-based video games. "Perhaps one of the biggest findings to emerge from this study is unsurprising, but finally documented," said Consalvo. "The overwhelming majority of sports gamers' — 93.3 percent — self-identify as sports fans. That identity pushes beyond the playing of sports-themed video games. Attending sporting events, watching them on television, participating in those activities themselves as well as following certain teams or sports were regular parts of their daily lives."
Consalvo says that she still hopes to discover more about why there is so little diversity in player demographics, and why female players seem to be in the minority.
"While this study provides new insights into who sports video game players are and what they play and why, we still lack knowledge on how these players relate their passion for video games to their sports fandom in general."
Consalvo will investigate those and other trends as she conducts further research for a book called "Sports Videogames," which she is co-authoring with Stein and Mitsgutsch.
You can learn more about Consalvo's research at con.sagepub.com