This suggests that there may be an underserved population of video game players in public libraries. This report aimed to examine how public library staff in Aotearoa, New Zealand (NZ) interact with video games and video game services. Video game players seem to think more positively about video games and are more aware of their impact on individuals than non-players.
This revealed a potentially underserved population (video game players aged 46 – 84) for NZ public libraries providing video game services.
Who plays video games?
Video games in public libraries
- The value of video games
- Video game services
- Age of target audiences
- Challenges of providing video game services
Video games and related materials have the potential to be used in career education and scholarly activities. Price has been shown to have a major influence on the decision to purchase video games (ESA, 2019). Since these studies were conducted (they are both over ten years old), the current circulation of video games in libraries will have changed due to various factors.
Despite evidence that the average video game player is an adult, most video game literature in public libraries specifically mentions attractive children and teenagers, especially boys.
- Population and sample
- Data collection
- Ethical considerations
- Data analysis
The remainder of the questionnaire was qualitative and required written responses to questions that required more in-depth responses. Informed consent was obtained from respondents through a question at the beginning of the questionnaire (see Appendix A) and from organizations through a signed. Also due to the nature of the data, Fisher's exact test was used to test for
Fisher's exact test was used instead of the Chi-square test because the assumptions of the Chi-square test were not met by the data.
As a follow-up to "Do you think video games have a place in public libraries?". The majority of respondents who play video games play at least once a week (83%), with almost half playing once a day or several times a day (47%). There is no statistical evidence that playing video games and the indicated age groups are related.
Only 3% of respondents (6) indicated that all age groups are included in the main target audience for video games. There is very strong evidence that playing video games and thinking they have a place are related. Video game players appear to be more likely to think that video games have a place than non-gamers (P-Value = 5.695 x 10-5).
Type of position held Video games take place in public libraries Percentage (number) of respondents. The reasons why respondents think video games have a place in public libraries are shown in Figure 11. The reasons why respondents think video games do not have a place in public libraries are shown in Figure 12.
There is no statistical evidence that playing video games and confidence in explaining classification labels are related. There is very strong evidence that playing video games and confidence in running video game-related programs and events are related (P-value = 3.339 x 10-12). There is very strong evidence that playing video games and running related events are related (P value.
There is no statistical evidence that video game playing and responses are related for statements 6 and 7.
Not surprisingly, NZ public library staff appear to be a representative subset of the NZ population in terms of age and video game playing. The main reasons given by respondents for playing video games are to have fun, to relax, to socialize and to pass the time. According to Brand et al. 2019), the top three reasons New Zealanders sign up for playing video games are to have fun, pass the time and relax/destress.
The main reasons respondents gave for not playing video games are a lack of interest or time, or a preference for other activities, rather than a negative view of video games. Even fewer indicated that they perceive video games as a waste of time, and this contrasts with the higher percentage of gamers who indicated that they play specifically to pass the time. However, while only 19% of NZ households have gamers who have used a virtual reality (VR) headset, 43% of public library staff appear to have used one.
A greater proportion of public library staff also appear to have experience with handheld consoles compared to NZ households (41% compared to 8%), but it is unclear why this is the case. Depth of experience cannot be inferred from these results, but they demonstrate that most public library staff appear to have been exposed to gaming on multiple types of hardware, even if they do not play video games. Those who play video games seem to have a greater experience with the hardware.
Most of the public library staff who play video games seem to be into it often and deeply. A third of gamers reported that they consider themselves a "gamer", which, although an abstract term, suggests that they associate part of their identity with playing video games.
Of all respondents, 18% mentioned children, teenagers or young adults in their response to whether video games have a place in public libraries. On average, respondents indicated that the impact of video games on society is neutral, but video game players seem to perceive a more positive impact than non-players. They seem to agree more that video games support literacy, can increase general knowledge and skills, have a social aspect, and that familiarity with video game technology can be beneficial.
They seem to disagree more that violent video games result in an increase in violent behavior. This indicates that video game players may be more aware of the influence of video games on individuals. There was no statistical significance between the responses of gamers and non-gamers to the statement that someone playing video games on a public computer should give up the computer to allow someone else to print important documents.
There was also no statistical significance between gamers' and non-gamers' responses to the statement that the target audience for video games is typically teenage boys. Playing video games does not appear to be related to the age groups indicated. Only 3% of respondents indicated that all age groups are included in the main target audience for video games.
There appears to be a mismatch between the primary perceived target audience for video games and those who play them for ages 46+. There is also the possibility that older age groups are interested in different types of video games to younger age groups.
Respondents to this survey indicated a variety of types, timings, and frequencies of video game-related programs and events. It appears that older audiences are not usually targeted alone, possibly indicating that they are underserved by video game services due to the discrepancy found in perceived main target audience for video games described earlier. Respondents were asked to indicate whether they could confidently explain commonly used video game classification labels to customers.
Playing video games did not appear to be related to confidence in explaining classification labels. However, it appears to be related to the level of confidence in discussing video games with customers and managing video game-related programs and events. In both cases, video game players seem to have more confidence and seem more likely to be the ones running video game related events.
This suggests that encouraging engagement with video games can increase staff confidence in the provision of video game services. The most common type of interaction was a request or suggestion for new or existing video game services. The main barriers described were financial, such as theft, damage and the high cost of video games and equipment, which is further exacerbated by their rapid obsolescence.
Another major potential barrier to providing video game services in libraries is the changing distribution model for video games. An increase in the popularity of video game subscription services (eg Xbox Game Pass) (Statt, 2021) may indicate an opportunity for this to change.
In addition to financial barriers, logistical barriers also exist, such as intensive demands on staff, lack of staff knowledge and insufficient space. Digital distribution can help remove some of the previously mentioned barriers, such as preventing theft and damage to physical games.
The video game industry is bracing for the Netflix and Spotify moment. https://www.protocol.com/gaming-subscriptions-xbox-game-pass. http://nzdotstat.stats.govt.nz/wbos/Index.aspx?DataSetCode=TABLECODE7979. Video Game: Any electronic game played on a device with a screen, including but not limited to computers, consoles and mobile devices. Note: The definition of a video game is any electronic game played on a device with a screen, including but not limited to computers, consoles and mobile devices.
Please indicate if you have experience playing video games with the following types of hardware:. Read or watch video game walkthroughs - Watch videos or live streams of gameplay - Post videos of or stream your own gameplay - Create Machinima (videos with game animation) - Create video games. Which of these groups do you think belong to the most important target group of video games?
Have you ever received a comment or suggestion from a customer about video game services? Video games can improve general knowledge and develop skills such as leadership, teamwork and problem solving. If someone is playing video games on a public computer, they should leave the computer to allow the other person to print important documents.
This project aims to investigate how public library staff engage with video games and video game services. Your participation will support this research by providing an understanding of how New Zealand public library staff perceive video games, the experiences they have with them, and what video game services are offered in New Zealand public libraries today. An email address will only be collected for those who wish to enter the prize draw and/or receive a summary of the results of this research.
This includes whether their workplace has a video game loan collection, what video game-related programs and events are offered at their workplace, the city or region where they are located, and the type of position they hold in libraries.