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White-Collar Workers Revealed as Big Gamers

Tens of millions of "white-collar" workers play casual video games, many while on the job, according to a survey released by leading multi-platform games provider PopCap Games. While white-collar workers' consumption of casual games at home mirrored the overall casual gamer audience fairly closely, the survey revealed some surprising facts about the playing of casual games in the workplace -- and the motives behind the activity. With conservative estimates pegging the casual games market at over 200 million people, the survey's representative sample suggests that as many as 80 million white-collar workers play casual games, with nearly a quarter of respondents saying they play "at work." Moreover, fully 35% of CEOs, CFOs and other senior executives said they play while on the job.

The survey identified 2,842 of the respondents as white-collar workers -- employed in management, executive management, sales, accounting, medical, technical, consulting or administrative capacities. Of these, 98% said they played casual games at home and 24% said they played during work hours. Of all white-collar casual gamers, 65% indicated they earn $50,000 or more in annual income (compared to 53% of casual game players overall), 22% said they earned $100,000 or more per year, and 58% indicated they had a college degree (compared to 46% overall). 91% of white-collar gamers are age 30 or older, 68% are 40 or older, and 39% are 50 or older.

Of those who said they played during work hours:

* 14% admitted they had played casual games during business meetings or conference calls, with two thirds (65%) of those saying they did so a least once a month.* 61% said they play during lunch or other official break periods.* 52% said they play "during my work day, when I need a short break."* 19% said they play "at the end of my work day, to unwind."*11% said they play "at the beginning of my work day before I get started."

In addition, those who said they played during work hours said they do so with considerable frequency:

* 53% said they play at work at least once a day.* 79% said they play at work several times a week or more.* 84% said they play casual games at work for between 15 and 60 minutes each day, on average.* 11% said they played casual games at work for an hour or more each day

As to the effects of playing casual games at work, 84% said they felt "more relaxed and less stressed out," and 52% said they felt more confident, more energetic, more productive and/or more mentally focused.

Compared to white-collar gamers overall, those identified as senior executives indicated a considerably higher frequency of play, including playing at work:* 35% of senior executives said they play casual games at work, vs. 23% of other white collar gamers.* 70% said they play "during work, when I need a short break" -- vs. 49% of other white collar gamers.* 61% said they play once a day or more frequently during each work day, vs. 51% of other white collar gamers.* 71% said their typical game-play session at work lasts 15 minutes or longer, vs. 62% of other white collar gamers.

Among all white-collar gamers (not just those who play at work), when asked to choose the single most important reason for playing casual games, 72% chose a reason related to improving their mental state, while 24% chose "entertainment." As Cynthia Whitehead, a lawyer from Oakland, California, puts it, "After a long day of writing laws for formerly communist countries, the siren song of BEJEWELED will beckon and I'll find myself unwinding with a few levels of gem-swapping."