Video games: girls go for Candy Crush; guys prefer FIFA 17
An original study has been analysing attitudes towards video games among Spaniards aged between 16 and 35

91% of the age bracket 16 to 35 have played video games at some point. However, there are clear differences between male and female tastes: for women the top game is Candy Crush (29%), followed by The Sims (8%) and the Mario Bros. saga (5%); for men the number one game is FIFA 17 (21%), followed by the Call of Duty saga (13%) and then Grand Theft Auto V (8%). These and other results are part of the first report from a UOC study titled Jvenes y juego digital. Hbitos de uso y percepciones de los jvenes sobre la imagen de los videojuegos en los medios de comunicacin (Young people and electronic gaming. Usage habits and perceptions on the image of video games in the media).

This research has been led by GAME, a UOC research group that focuses on learning, the media and entertainment. An interview sample of over 1,000 people living in Spain showed that, on average, men spend more money on this type of entertainment than women, 65 euros a month compared to 48. "The younger the survey participant, the more they say they spent", explains Daniel Aranda, who led the study.

As regards the devices used, 25% of this age bracket prefer to play on their mobiles or tablets. In contrast, computers were bottom of the list, as the first preference for 12% of the participants. "Within this age group, those who play video games most in their free time are the youngest, those between 16 and 24”, specifies Aranda, who is also a professor in the UOC's Faculty of Information and Communication Sciences.

This study is the first of its kind in Spain, analysing young people's perceptions of both social opinions of video games and the media's attitude towards this form of entertainment. In terms of the widespread negative beliefs about video games, the statements that participants agreed with most was that "video games create addiction", followed closely by the fact that "they lead to players becoming isolated". The negative beliefs they agreed with least were that "they are a waste of time" and that "they are violent".

As for opinions about the their positive effects, participants agreed most strongly with the idea that "they stimulate memory and attention" and, secondly, that "they help develop skills related to problem-solving and strategic thinking". The statement they agreed with least was that "what is learned can be applied to daily or professional life". Aranda adds that "young women, as well as playing less, have more negative opinions than men about the risks associated with video games".

And when it comes to the participants' perceptions about the media's attitudes towards this topic, 51% agreed that when talking about video games the media highlight the risk of social isolation, compared with 30% who disagreed. Furthermore, 64% of those interviewed thought that the media also highlight the creation of addiction by video games, compared with 29.3% who though the opposite. Meanwhile, 62% of people in this age bracket have the impression that the media fail to highlight how video games can also help people to socialize.

A second report with results from the project will be published when the research concludes in 2018.