Video games are becoming increasingly popular, especially on college campuses.
In a 2003 study conducted by the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project, 70 percent of college students surveyed said they played video games “at least once in a while.”
This popularity can also be seen at TCU.
“I don’t see who doesn’t play video games on a college campus,” junior finance major Christian Nobles said.
“In class all you can hear about is the new ‘Grand Theft Auto’ game, and on twitter all the people I follow are talking about that ‘Grand Theft Auto’ game,” he said.
The fifth Grand Theft Auto title (GTA) was released on Sept. 17 and has already surpassed the total sales figures of its predecessor, Grand Theft Auto IV.
According to Take-Two Interactive, the developer of the game, sales of GTA V garnered over $1 billion in revenue during its first three days on the market, which they said was “thefastest any entertainment property, including video games and feature films, has reached this significant milestone.”
Michael Martz, a junior nursing major, said he knows many students at TCU who bought GTA V as well as new sports games such as FIFA 14 or NBA 2K14.
“Most of my friends – just about all my friends – play video games,” Martz said. “That’s just what people do.”
Martz works as an intramural supervisor at the University Recreation Center, where a sports video game tournament has been held the past three semesters.
He said students played FIFA 13 last fall, followed by a Madden 13 tournament in spring 2013. This semester, the Rec Center held an NBA 2K14 event.
Tournament winners received a T-shirt, a gift card to GameStop and a copy of the featured game.
James Creange, a freshman film, television and digital media major who won the recent NBA 2K14 tournament, said he was excited to win a copy of the new game since sports games are his favorite.
“I like to vicariously live through the animated characters,” Creange said. “I like to pretend that I’m a good athlete, and so I like to control someone doing crazy stuff.”
Nobles also said he likes the way video games allow him to take on the personas of different characters and athletes.
“’I’m not as good as NBA players are in real life, so it’s kind of fun to get that experience when you’re playing it virtually instead of on the court,” he said.
Nobles said he normally plays video games at least once a day for one or two hours, but that he is currently without a gaming system.
“I actually sold my Xbox 360 awhile back to preorder the Xbox One,” he said. “As soon as my Xbox One comes in, I already have NBA 2K14 reserved, and then we’ll have to wait and see for the other games.”
The Xbox One, Microsoft’s forthcoming gaming system, is scheduled for release on Nov. 22. The new platform faces direct competition from Sony’s PlayStation 4 (PS4), which is scheduled for release one week earlier, on Nov. 15.
Nobles has chosen the Xbox One, but the PS4 may end up being the more popular system with shoppers.
A Reuters/Ipsos online survey of over 400 consumers under the age of 40, conducted from Sept. 23-27, found that 41 percent said they were likely to purchase the PS4, versus 27 percent who said they were likely to purchase the Xbox One.
For a comparison between the two upcoming gaming systems click here.
Despite the release of these new systems and games, and contrary to popular belief, many students said they believe video games do not distract them from their studies.
“As long as you manage your time wisely, I don’t believe video games take away from your schoolwork,” first-year business major Jordan Sheppard said. “Maybe some people have a problem with that, but as long as you know how to manage your time, I would say it’s not a problem.”
For Sheppard, video games are simply a way to relax and compete with his friends.
“I like to play against other guys and see who’s the best. It’s really fun to have the bragging rights against your friends,” Sheppard said. “It’s definitely a great way to unwind and hang out with friends.”