Debates over what makes someone a true "gamer" boil up quite frequently in and around the video game industry, especially on certain Internet message boards. Now, a new survey of US adults from the Pew Research Center shows that people who apply the "gamer" label to themselves are quite different from the wider population that plays games, both demographically and in terms of opinions about the medium. Those self-described gamers are much more likely to be young, male, non-white, and poor when compared to "non-gamer" game players.

Pew's survey shows that video games are growing as a mainstream leisure time activity across the country. A full 49 percent of Americans now report that they "ever" play video games on a computer, game console, or portable device like a cell phone. While gaming still isn't nearly as universally enjoyed as more mass-market entertainment like TV and movies, that's a big increase from the medium's generally child-focused niche a couple of decades ago.

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