Conflict simulation, peacebuilding, and development

2019 PAXsims readers’ survey results


The results of our 2019 PAXsims reader’s survey are now in. Many thanks to those who took the time to answer our questions.

Half (51.2%) of respondents report that they visit PAXsims daily or weekly, while 52.5% report that they visit monthly. Only 6.3% visit less frequently.

Most of our readers are middle-aged and—overwhelmingly—male. We are only reaching a much smaller proportion of those in their teens or twenties who might be interested in, or entering, the field of serious gaming.

Age Percentage
1-17 0.6%
18-25 4.8%
26-35 14.3%
36-64 70.8%
65 or older 9.5%

Although the proportion of non-male readers has increased since our last survey a few years ago (when it was a mere 1%), there’s still much room for improvement. Women make up half of my POLI 452 (Conflict Simulation) course at McGill this term, so there’s no shortage of women interested in the topic. However, this demographic is not particularly accessible through the 98% male wargaming hobby, which has often been rather unwelcoming. Instead, an interest in gaming as social science or policy analysis might be the better hook to introduce a new and more diverse generation to the art and science of serious gaming.

Gender Percentage
Male 93.9%
Female 4.3%
Non-binary/other 1.8%

We wll be further discussing this issue of “expanding the community” at this year’s Connections North interdisciplinary wargaming conference in Montréal on 15 February 2020.

In terms of occupation, about a quarter of our readers are in education (as teachers or students), and another quarter are in or directly support the military.

Occupation Percentage
Educator (post-secondary) 16.3%
Educator (K-12) 3.1%
Students (post-secondary) 3.6%
Students (K-12) 0.5%
Military (active/reserve) 11.7%
Military (contractor) 11.2%
Intelligence community 3.6%
Diplomacy 0.5%
Other government employees 8.2%
Humanitarian assistance/development 1.5%
Journalism 1.5%
Professional game designers 12.2%
Other 26.0%

A majority of out visitors seem to be hobby gamers, as well as serious gamers. Slightly more use serious games for education/training compared to analysis.

  Use serious games for education. Use serious games for analysis. Play games for fun.
Often 29.6% 20.0% 57.9%
Sometimes 36.5% 31.6% 33.3%
Rarely 19.5% 27.7% 8.8%
Never 14.5% 20.7% 0%

Slightly over half of respondents (51%) prefer manual games, 11% prefer digital games, and the remainder like both equally (38%).

Among gaming conference attended, hobby gaming conferences come first, followed by the various Connections professional wargaming conferences, and the Military Operations Research Society annual symposium. I/ITSEC and the major social science academic conferences place lower.

Finally, what our readers you like to see more of? Pretty much what we have been doing, it seems. In order of popularity:

  1. professional wargaming
  2. teaching with games and simulations
  3. other serious games
  4. professional development
  5. gaming hobby
  6. game reviews
  7. not-so-serious gaming articles

And so it is, onwards into 2020!

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