Over the years playing video games has turned from a so-called “nerdy” hobby to a respectable pastime. Yes, there are those who still hate animated adventures, but these are typically the same people who spend hours with their eyes glazed over watching TV.
So, video games, at least in some form and fashion, are here to stay. We’re glad, because most of the Movoto bloggers play some sort of digital games. (Right now, yours truly is crushing on Temple Run 2.)
Our video game habits, in fact, are a regular discussion around our water cooler—or the closest thing we have to a water cooler in our tech-friendly, casual vibe office. Hell, one of us is getting a Triforce tattoo in April, so we feel we are pretty comfortable talking about video games.
One thing that has come up on a regular basis in our smack-talking sessions is if San Francisco, Movoto’s home base, is a good city for gamers. Of course, we think it is. But we live here. We’re biased. Deal with it.
One thing led to another, and we decided to actually figure out what city is the best for video gamers.
What’d we find?
It’s Atlanta, of course. Like we all didn’t see that coming. (No, really. When we’re thinking of gamin’, Atlanta is nowhere near the mark—unless you count video slot machines. We’re down with video slot machines.)
Here’s our full list of top gamer cities:
- Atlanta, GA
- Seattle, WA
- Denver, CO
- Portland, OR
- San Francisco, CA
- Long Beach, CA
- Sacramento, CA
- Mesa, AZ
- Kansas City, MO
- San Jose, CA
Don’t believe us? Like all the best strategy games, we have the stats to prove it.
How’d We Do It?
Before we could celebrate saving the princess, we first needed an idea of what makes a city great for video gamers. It turns out that this question is harder to answer than trying to take down Onyxia in Vanilla WoW. (Freaking whelps!)
Why? The definition of a “gamer” is all over the place. There are casual gamers, hardcore gamers, PC and console gamers, and, lest you forget, smartphone-tapping gamers.
In fact, a recent study found that 211 million people in the United States play some type of video games.
With this in mind, we decided to include everyone in our definition, and then brainstormed the types of things people need to have a good gaming experience. This led us to these five categories:
- Arcades per person
- Internet service providers per person
- Game stores per person
- A city’s demographics
- Membership in the Entertainment Consumers Association
Like our previous analyses of cities, we ranked each cosmo and then took the average score of our five criteria. The city with the lowest score (it’s like Wii golf, duh), in this case Atlanta, took home the top prize as most video game–friendly city.
If You Never Played X-Men in an Arcade, Go Home
Take a moment to lament the death of America’s arcades; once, these loud fun houses filled America’s strip-mall landscape. Now they’re all but gone, and so is a piece of our childhood. Yes, there are large sanitized arcades that still exist such as Dave and Buster’s, but these just don’t have the same appeal as a grimy hole-in-the-wall that took actual quarters.
We picked arcades because there is a thriving community of gamers who still flock to these diamond-in-the-rough establishments. If there’s an arcade, and we mean a good arcade, in your area, chances are there will be a group of gamers ready to grab a joystick and button mash.
We used Yelp to figure out the number of arcades in each city.
This should be a no-brainer. Gamers need video games and video game accessories. (This sentence should be read in Hank Hill’s voice. Get with the program people.)
We used Yelp to find the number of video game establishments in a city. Think Gamestop and your local mom-and-pop stores.
Not everyone enjoys the rush of gathering 25 random people together to destroy an undead king made of pixels. But we have a strong idea of who plays video games. And no, it isn’t just guys living in their mom’s basement or crashing on their friend’s couch.
According to the Entertainment Software Association, the average video game player is 30 years old and male. (Maybe ESA ignored all the 13-year-old kids playing shooters.) We weren’t entirely surprised by these figures, but we were surprised by some stats when we dug into the research.
It turns out that 53 percent of gamers are male. By default 47 percent are female. And no, the ladies aren’t just playing “Hello Kitty’s Island Adventure.” Take that, stereotypes!
To come up with this figure, we looked at the demographics of each city and found the percentage of the population between 18 and 34 years old.
Entertainment Consumer Association
It’s not all about playing games. Sometimes it’s about defending your favorite game. This is where the Entertainment Consumer Association comes in. ECA is a not-for-profit organization that helps consumers in the United States and Canada advocate for a wide variety of gaming issues.
While not having an ECA chapter in your community probably won’t hurt you, we did give a slight bump to those cities with an existing ECA chapter, or one close-by. For example, in San Francisco’s case there is a chapter around the corner in Emeryville.
Internet Service Providers
We hate lag. We, hate, hate, hate lag. But we love the Internet—probably more than we love our moms. And there can be no Internet without lag.
We chose Internet service providers because social gaming is a big deal. Running around shooting your friends is what makes most games fun.
We looked at Yelp and figured out the number of Internet service providers per person in each city. We wanted to make sure our hardcore gamers had a choice of which Internet company to use when looking to frag some pals.
Atlanta is Better than Seattle
After the scores were tallied, Atlanta came out on top. Just stick with your hipsters, Seattle. Atlanta gamers, feel free to start tea-bagging.
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Who is Movoto Real Estate, you might ask? Movoto is an online real estate brokerage based in San Mateo, CA. Our blog has been recognized for its unique approach to city-based research by major news organizations around the world such as Forbes and CBS News.