MakeoverMonday: Adults v Teens, Video Games

How do Americans play their games

I have a confession. The source for this week’s makeover left me confused. I tried to understand it but couldn’t. This is an example of an infographic put together to generate clickbait with almost no thought to meaning. Read on to see why, but stick around for the real shocker at the end.

Let’s look at the original.

53 percent

What’s a “gamer”? I play the occasional game on my iPad and cell-phone. Does that make me a gamer? Or is a gamer someone who is more hardcore and dedicated? I have no idea: I am not told what the definition is.

Next section:

Use of gaming device

So 73% of adults use a desktop or laptop. To play games? How often? And is the 53% of adults using a game console the same as the headline 53%? I suspect it maybe, in which case the headline 53% is totally arbitrary.

Let’s move on.

Parents and nonparents

Oh dear. This is terrible, for at least 3 reasons:

  1. Radial bars, even when well implemented, make it hard to compare categories. But this one goes beyond bad by starting each bar at an apparently random position. Also, the lack of alignment doesn’t help. Is this meant to be a visual metaphor to a gaming trope? If so, I don’t know what it is.
  2. I don’t trust the data. Apparently parents use all forms of gaming device more than non-parents. As a parent of two, I simple don’t believe that.
  3. Look again at the infographic’s title: “Adults vs Teens”. If this is about adults and teens why are we even comparing Parents and Non-Parents? What does that have to do with Teens?

Being left with a distrust of this data, I only spent a little while on this week’s makeover. Without an understanding of what the percentages actually represent, I found it impossible to come up with a coherent new approach.

I also turned to the source for this data: Pew Research’s Gaming and Gamers report. That’s the source for this information.

And here’s the real clanger: the numbers used in this infographic are are entirely different to Pew’s. Only 10% of Americans consider themselves gamers:

This video is very informative, and trashes pretty much every number Forbes used:



Add Yours →

I like that you were as confused as me when reading the data. It that sense, I think you did a great makeover as you are doing your best to avoid confusing the viewer even more.

(PS: the second comment might not be what you meant :))


Nice makeover and right critique to the forbes infographic.

Just a minor comment, in your graph you say that “Over 50% of teen use all forms of gaming device.”. That is not correct, unless you have more precise data available: It is fairly possible that a large amount of those using a portable gaming device is _not_ using also a mobile device.

HI Marco – you’re probably right about my statement. With the data to hand, I think almost any kind of claim is difficult to make.

The Forbes article is really short on clarity. What they mean is that 53% of adults play games. Of that 53%, 73% (or 39% of adults) use a desktop or laptop. This is somewhat clearer in the Pew study that they pulled their data from. In the “devices people use” sections, the percentages don’t add up 100%, since people use multiple devices.

The data comes from the 2008 Pew report “Adults and Video Games;” not the 2015 “Gaming and Gamers Report.” There’s a link to the “Adults and Video Games” report at the bottom of the Forbes article.

The updated graph is awesome, except for “In all categories a higher percentage of non-parents use a game console than parents do. Really?”

It appears that it’s actually parents who play games more than non-parents on every platform (not just console). Also “all categories” and “game console” are in conflict. “Game Console” is one of the game platform categories.

And the addition of “Really?” is confusing to me. Is the author questioning the results or acting surprised that parents game more frequently than non-parents?

A more accurate and clearer comment/caption would be “Parents play more than non-parents on every gaming platform.”

Thanks for the comments Kevin. My use of “Really” is because I am questioning the results. I simply do not believe the data being portrayed in this Makeover. If you watch the Pew Research video in the post and go look at the source data, it seems to reach a totally different point.

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