Last week, a Pew Research Center released a results of a consult on American device ownership. Much of it was intuitive. A flourishing series of adults have a smartphone, yet there are disparities opposite age groups and income levels. Over 90 percent have some kind of cellphone, and tenure of laptops and gaming consoles stays steady. But there was one item that stranded out. According to Pew, a incomparable percent of women possess video diversion consoles than men.

Research from a Entertainment Software Alliance and other groups has reliable that a vast series of women play games of all kinds, even if a percentages for opposite genres vary. But a latest Pew consult is a treacherous square of justification — and not indispensably something we should be citing when we speak about gaming’s gender gap.

First, a numbers. In 2015, Pew surveyed around 1,900 adults, about a third of them over landline phones and two-thirds over cellphones. Among other questions, it asked respondents: “Please tell me if we occur to have any of a following items, or not. Do we have a diversion console like Xbox or PlayStation?” According to a results, 40 percent of adults answered yes. When we pennyless down a information further, 37 percent of group pronounced they did, and 42 percent of women. That’s a change from 2010, when researchers asked a same question and found that 45 percent of group and 40 percent of women had a console.

The problem occurs when we try to generalize this to a suggestive amicable trend. Unlike cellphones or laptops, diversion consoles aren’t unequivocally personal electronic devices. They’re closer to televisions. So if one chairman in a domicile buys an Xbox or PlayStation, it’s sincerely expected that another adult in that residence will news “having” a item, either or not they purchased it or use it. If Pew calls a single-gender domicile or a chairman vital alone, a information splits adult neatly. But as of 2012, usually around 15 percent of American households were women vital alone, and 12 percent were group vital alone. (Married couples, with or but children, done adult around 48 percent.)

Pew gives us a good tender series for altogether console prevalence, and things like competition and income turn tend to be common in a household. But a gender information doesn’t utterly answer a doubt we’re seeking by proxy: whether a incomparable suit of women than group are shopping and personification console games. we asked Pew’s investigate group about a breakdown, and a response was neutral — they’re capturing numbers, after all, not doing sociological analysis. “We essay to write a questions in candid denunciation so that people can simply answer them,” review a response. “In some cases like this, there competence be interpretation left to a respondent. If they consider they ‘own’ a diversion console, either or not they bought it, afterwards we constraint them as diversion console owners.”

A consult focused privately on this could have enclosed some-more specific followup questions. Further bursting adult a information — counting usually single-person households, for instance — could produce engaging formula even but some-more information. Unfortunately, Pew wasn’t means to give me anything some-more specific than a sum that it published final week.

It’s probable that Pew’s numbers solidly simulate who is meddlesome in console gaming, even if “a larger commission of women” means something somewhat opposite than “more women.” Whether they’re accurate or not, it’s a good jumping-off indicate for serve research. But there’s adequate ambiguity that it’s a frail factoid to be flitting around, and one that competence not indeed tell us most about men, women, and games.

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