A new Ipsos MediaCT survey for game review Web site IGN Entertainment suggests that the usual stereotype of the computer gaming fan may be out of sync with reality. That is, the majority of gamers aren’t ‘loners’ or ‘losers’.

In fact, the study shows that people who play video games are generally more social and have higher incomes than those who don’t.

Among the study’s specific findings: The average age of U.S. computer gamers is 40 and the gaming population is pretty evenly split between men and women. More than half of them are married and almost half of those have children. Tellingly, almost two out of three of gamers who have kids say they regularly play computer games with their children.

“Families are getting very involved and parents are becoming more supportive about gaming,” notes Judit Nagy, Vice-President of Consumer Insights with Fox Interactive, IGN’s parent company. “It’s fun and interactive and a nice way to play with mom and dad.”

“[Parents] who grew up playing games have taken that into their adult lives and are now embracing that as a way to spend time with their kids,” suggests Nicole Helsburg of the Entertainment Software Association of Canada.

This upbeat news about modern computer gaming culture comes in the shadow of the Brandon Crisp case. The Barrie, Ontario (Canada) 15-year-old apparently ran away from home this past October 13 following a dispute with his parents over what they deemed excessive time spent playing online multiplayer hit Call of Duty 4.

The IGN survey showed that four out of five players spend at least 7 hours per week engrossed in computer games.

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