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A study was done by analyst firm, Piper Jaffray, regarding teens and their preferences regarding different kinds of video games. The poll involved a survey taken by 5,600 high school students and the results were interesting, yet very much expected. The conclusion of the survey showed that gamers are leaning more towards the social/mobile world rather than the “traditional” console games because of the “need to feel connected.”

According to the survey takers, traditional console games don’t have that social feel to them in order to keep them engaged in playing the game. In fact, 65.9% of the student surveyors said they were losing interest in playing console titles which is up from 63.5% last year. What’s more surprising is 66.2% of them said they would be happy playing on a mobile device, which is up from a 34.4% last year. Part of the reason is the growth of popularity in owning a smart phones and using a social networking service, especially amongst teenagers and young adults.

So what does this mean for gaming? It’s becoming more mainstream. In fact, it’s becoming very mainstream. Once upon a time, new consoles helped boom the gamer population and today, mobile gaming is further increasing our numbers. It’s a somewhat new thing and also easily accessible by most, so why not? I find it to be a sort of… transition, and gaming companies will always cater to the people who put money in their wallets.

Of course, mobile and social gaming isn’t just for the kids. They’re extremely popular, if not more popular, among adults and people who really aren’t hardcore gaming enthusiasts. With an increased population in the “casual” gamer, will publishers slowly lose sight of the hardcore gamers and cater more towards sequels to Farmville? We’ll just have to wait and see.

As far as blockbuster console titles go, sometimes socializing makes the game more engaging for gamers. Due to the typical gaming stereotypes such as how “only 9 year olds play Call of Duty”, the amount of gamers playing while in private party chat have gone up in order to avoid the potential immaturity they think they’ll find in a typical shooter lobby. Every now and then, I’ll pop in a gaming lobby and listen for people talking and more often than not… it’s dead silent. They’re all chatting with their friends who most likely aren’t even playing the same game as them. I guess this isn’t really helping the social factor of gaming now, is it? However, the very few random people I do get a chance to talk to are usually very nice which breaks every social stereotype I come across.

Though, one thing that strikes my natural curiosity is the true validity of this survey. There will always be a piece of the population that plays video games a lot, much like myself and a good number of people I know. But there have always been people who don’t really play video games ever. More often than not, those people own a smart phone and a computer that allows them to browse Facebook and Twitter whenever they want. That’s pretty much everyone at this point, right? Obviously those people enjoy digital socializing. So let’s take what’s already there and add a game to it. E-gad! Genius! Once you introduce little games to them, much like Angry Bird or Farmville chances are, they’re going to enjoy it.

So what does that mean for survey numbers? I don’t believe it means the amount of hardcore gamers went down at all, chances are they went up. But when you add “more” to a study, and in this case, gamers (or people who play games), the numbers can definitely fluctuate in favor of one side, and in this case, the popular mobile gamers. I believe this survey just proves there are now more gamers in the world. Whether they enjoy major blockbuster titles like Call of Duty or prefer games like Words with Friends is completely up to them.

So are hardcore gamers doomed to be forced onto the world of mobile/social games? Probably not since gaming is a multi-billion dollar industry, but it’s still really neat to know that more and more people play video games now. Hey, at least I share some sort of interest with everyone now.

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