In 2020, the video game industry broke all records with a turnover of 5.3 billion euros, up 11.3%, according to the annual report of the Syndicate of Leisure Software Publishers ( Sell), published in March. Containment obviously has something to do with it. Deprived of outings and social relations, the French “escaped” by playing massively, of all ages. Children, teens, parents… Everyone got into it.
“Family play is one of the major trends for 2020, notes Nicolas Vignolles, general delegate of Sell. Thus, 66% of parents have played at least occasionally with their children. And 55% did so to share activities. “ The PédaGoJeux advisory site makes the same observation and notes a more frequent participation of fathers. Especially “Among 35-45 year olds who already had a video game culture”, remarks Olivier Gérard, spokesperson for the collective.
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Sandra, 41, an employee of the Post Office in Paris, went to the console during the first confinement for ” to please ” to his children and “Because there wasn’t much else to do”. ” Since, she says, I play from time to time at games tennis or dance and we have a good laugh, even if I prefer board games. ” Her husband, him, dribbles on the virtual soccer fields with their son Mathieu, who “Ask again” : “I like playing with my parents, he smiles behind his mask. It’s fun and it allows me to spend a little more time with my dad, who I don’t see much of because of his job. “
One in two teens play every day
Frédéric, 41, an engineer at the CNRS did not wait for confinement to play with his children. Passionate about video games since adolescence just like his ex-partner, he initiated them from an early age, taking care to select suitable games.. “When the kids were little we used to play to share a moment, but now everyone enjoys it, especially with strategy games. ” Since their separation, Frédéric and Blandine, who each have custody of a child, organize online parties on weekends to allow the whole family to meet by screen. Quentin, 11, and Chloé, 10, also play together and each also shares play time with the parents.
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Like many young people, they also play “A little more often” alone since the start of the health crisis and the successive confinements. According to the Sell, in November 2020, 94% of 10-17 year olds played video games, one in two did so every day. A third do it online. This last practice, which consists of playing with friends or strangers at a distance, “Has intensified because it allows us to maintain a sociability, emphasizes Olivier Gérard. We ourselves have advised parents to let go of the ballast during these moments of isolation, especially with teenagers. But we will have to be vigilant so that these new habits do not set in when we have returned to a normal life. “
Sensations that crush everything
The new confinement should not facilitate this backtracking, especially since video games have become very common among young people in recent years. “The digital space has replaced the streets for teenagers because parents let them go out less and less, observes Vincent Berry, sociologist and author of The end of the game (1). Video games appeal to them all the more because they now offer a wide range of experiences, often inspired by cinema. ” Varied experiences, of course, but also “Sensations so strong that they crush everything”, worries Olivier Phan, child psychiatrist and addictologist at the French Student Health Foundation. “If you put Disneyland in the children’s room, most will take advantage of it for a while and come out, but the most fragile will see it as an ultimate refuge. I receive teenagers in consultation who want to quit school to become video game pros. It is quite rare with other activities. “
From 5 to 10% of young people suffer, according to Olivier Phan, from “Disorder related to the use of video games”. A pathology favored by games such as ““ Battle royale ”, which rely on excessive competition, with a system of rewards and frustrations which makes them very attractive”. Not only are these games “Catchy”, But “They increase reactivity to frustration”, analyzes the addictologist.
Judith doesn’t really know what games her 13-year-old is playing but she finds it “Too excited”. “During the first confinement, he played a lot and had trouble controlling himself”, confides this 47-year-old mother, openly “anti-games”. “If it were up to me, he wouldn’t play, she assures, but it is his father who offers them to him. “ Beside him, Sacha recognizes, with a laughing eye, that some “Stress him a little” but above all finds that this hobby gives him ” trust “.
“The only objective is to kill everyone”
At Frédéric and Blandine, it’s the parents who choose. Their son Quentin wanted to try Fortnite, the “battle royale” that is all the rage among teens, but after a month of use, his father, where he lives, decided to uninstall it. “I didn’t like the concept, he justifies. A game whose only objective is killing everyone to be the last survivor doesn’t seem interesting to me. “
If the blockbusters of this kind are often the most profitable, they sometimes end up tarnishing, in the eyes of the general public, the image of a hobby recently celebrated by the Minister of Culture as “A major cultural expression”. “We forget that the world of video games has diversified a lot, recalls Marion Haza, psychologist, expert at the Observatory of parenting and digital education (Open). There are very beautiful things, real artistic objects, which can touch all audiences. But it is essential to question the uses and place of this activity in order to better frame it. “
The French and video games
71% of French people play video games, at least occasionally.
94% of 10-17 year olds play, of which 96% of boys and 93% of girls.
The four major player profiles. The “casuals”, that is to say occasional, (33%), the “convivial” (29%), the “committed active” (19%) and the “tech-savvy” (19%).
A social practice highlighted during the first confinement. 52% of gamers consider that playing video games helps create social ties. This is particularly the case with young people.