By the numbers: teens and video games

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Playing video games in almost universal – that’s the finding of a new Pew Internet & American Life Project study on how teenagers experience interactive games. The main headline: Gamers are a pretty social bunch.

"It didn’t find that those who very frequently played games were more socially isolated or less likely to participate in civic activities," write Amanda Paulson in her story for the Monitor. "Those who played games with a civic component to them were actually more likely to engage in such activities."

While the full story drills into the Pew study for some analysis, here are some raw numbers mined from the 76-page report. (All the numbers relate to Americans ages 12 to 17.)

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97 percent of teens play video games. There's a slight gender divide: 99 percent of boys compared to 94 percent of girls.

50 percent of the teens in the report said they played a game "yesterday."

86 percent play video games on consoles, such as Xbox and PlayStation, making it the most popular way to play. 73 percent play on computers; 60 percent used portable gaming devices (PSP, DS, etc.); and 48 percent use cell phones.

No. 1 game among teens was "Guitar Hero," followed by "Halo 3," the Madden NFL series, solitaire, and "Dance Dance Revolution."

74 percent of teens play racing games, making it the most popular genre, followed by puzzles (72 percent), sports (68 percent), action (67 percent), and adventure (66 percent).

10 percent said they play "virtual worlds" games, such as Second Life, making it the least popular genre on the survey. And while more than 10 million people subscribe to "World of Warcraft," the massively-multiplayer-online genre was second from the bottom with just 21 percent.

1/4 of teens who play online games with others do so with people they first met online (27 percent). While almost half play online with people they know offline (47 percent).

1/3 of surveyed teenagers reported that at least one of their three favorite games is rated Mature or Adult Only (32 percent). This also breaks down along gender lines, with 79 percent of boys favoring them, compared to 21 percent of girls.

One of the most interesting findings in the Pew study is that "playing games with others in person was related to civic and political outcomes, but playing with others online was not." Among kids who plays video games with others:

64 percent have raised money for charity, compared to 55% of those who do not.
64 percent are committed to civic participation, compared to 59% of those who do not.
26 percent have tried to persuade others how to vote in an election, compared to 19% of those who do not.

Also check out:
‘Loner’ image out: For teens, video games often social
Violent video games – the myths and the facts
By the numbers: Social networks
By the numbers: Arrested bloggers

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