Historically, the term "gamer" usually referred to someone who played role-playing game and wargames. Since they became very popular, the term has included players of video game. While the term nominally includes those who do not necessarily consider themselves to be gamers (i.e., casual gamer), it is commonly used to identify those who spend much of their leisure time playing or learning about games.
There are many gamer communities around the world. Many of these take the form of discussion forums and other virtual communities, as well as college or university social clubs. Stores specializing in games often serve as a meeting place to organize groups of players . Prior to the emergence of the Internet, many play-by-mail game developed communities resembling those surrounding today's online game .
In October 2006, the Entertainment Consumers Association (ECA) was established as the first non-profit membership organization formed to represent American computer and video game consumers. The ECA was formed, in part, in response to the seemingly imbalanced representation of the games industry (e.g., the ESA, IGDA and others) in comparison to game consumers in the United States Congress.
In the United States, the average video game player is 35 and has been playing video games for over 12 years. In the UK, the average video game player is over 23 years old, has played video games for over 10 years, and spends around 12.6 hours a week playing video games. The term "gamer" is composed of several subgroups.
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