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More women playing video games

Women have overtaken men as the most prolific gamers in Britain for the first time, according to a new report.

The Internet Advertising Bureau UK said the change has been driven by 25 to 44-year-old women downloading free puzzle and trivia game apps on their mobiles and tablets.

Steve Chester, a director at the bureau, said : "The internet and mobile devices have changed the gaming landscape forever."

The Gaming Revolution study, carried out by independent research agency Populus, found females accounted for 52% of people who played any form of video games in the last six months, compared to 49% three years ago.

It also found that older people play more video games than children and teenagers, with 44-year-olds and over accounting for 27% of the gamer population compared to children and teenagers who make up 22%.

A third of 65 to 74-year-olds also revealed they had played a video in the last six months along with 44% of 55 to 64-year-olds and just over half of 45 to 54-year-olds.

Mr Chester added: "They (internet and mobile devices) have brought down the barriers to entry, making gaming far more accessible and opened it up to a whole new audience.

"In the past you needed to go out and buy an expensive console and the discs on top to get a decent experience, now you can just download a free app."

Apps are now the most popular gaming format, with a quarter of the population playing on their mobile every day.

One third of respondents said trivia and puzzles were their favourite game genre but this rises to more than half for women aged at least 45 years old.

The average Briton spends six hours per week playing games, the same amount of time spent using social media and slightly less than listening to music.

The gamer audience has now hit 33.5 million Britons - 69% of the population.

The poll surveyed 4,058 British people online aged eight to 74 in June, supported by 30-minute face-to-face interviews with 22 gamers and four industry experts. Video games in arcades were not included in the questions.

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From Belfast Telegraph