If G4tv.com's commentors are to be believed, many of the 4% of players categorized as "extreme gamers" by the NPD Group reside on this website. To be an "extreme gamer," you need to play a lot. 48.5 hours per week. A host of gamers admitted to falling under the "extreme" category after the story posted, but two individuals had personal stories that stuck out. I wanted to share them.
Meet (on the right) 28-year-old Jason Fisher and 22-year-old Chelsie Chatelain. Both were more than happy to own up to their "extreme gamer" status.
"Sadly I fall into that category, for the age and time played part specifically, not so much for the number of games purchased," said Fisher in his first e-mail to me. "[In the] past 3 months I have bought 6 games."
"Extreme gamers" were found to be in the lowest average household income but purchased in abundance, likely used. That's not the case for Fisher, a disabled combat veteran who served in Iraq and Afghanistan and has unable to find work the past three years.
"As far as what takes up my time the most," he said, "well [it] depends on what games [are] getting my attention; usually has to do with what has the most current dlc [downloadable content], or what just came out, or I'm playing World of Warcraft or Star Wars Galaxies."
Right now, he's playing Red Dead Redemption and a game he calls "Modern Glitchfare 2."
"A lot of the guys I play multiplayer with...we were all in Iraq or Afghanistan together"
Fisher said he's only "somewhat" of a hardcore achievement guy, with some time taken up by playing games to contribute to online walkthroughs and more time when friends show up online.
"A lot of the guys I play [multiplayer with]...with we were all in Iraq and Afghanistan together," he told me. "Some of them, I was even their lieutenant. But I do find myself staying on for a few more hours if I have a group of friends or friends of friends who stayed to play more."
But remember, while "extreme gamers" only represents 4% of the total gaming populous, not all of them are male. The NPD Group told me that while 66% are male, 34% of "extreme gamers" are actually women. That number has increased over the past few years, from just 27% in 2008.
One member of that 34% is Chelsie Chatelain. Don't believe her? Check her gamertag. So far, Chatelain has accumulated nearly 60,000 points and admits to playing over 50 hours per week.
"I just have A LOT of free time," she said. "Going to college, unemployed. And rather [than] go and spend a bunch of money I would rather just buy a game and chill at my house. Been playing games since i was like 2, so pretty much addicted, lol. Started with a NES, havent stopped since."
Even 34% of the "extreme gamer" population is fascinating. I wondered whether Chatelain had encountered any pushback from friends, family or fellow gamers for investing so much in games.
"Does what bother me?" she said, asked about the girl question. "People always saying that games are a "Mans" thing? Yeah, sometimes...but they usually shut up when i wax them in cod [Call of Duty], or gears [Gears of War], or pretty much anything."
Unlike Fisher, however, Chatelain is open, if mildly insecure, about her personal achievements obsession, openly spending hours upon hours chasing after just a few extra points to pad her huge gamerscore. Insecure, perhaps, because games manage to capture her attention more than anything else.
"To be completely honest, I don't really know why I love games so much," she confessed. "Like, I have a hard time finishing things, being it school work...house work...etc..but for some reason putting in dozens of hours just to get a 5g achievement doesn't seem out of the question. And, i guess i have always been very competitive, and online gaming allows me to compete on a world wide level. its just so engaging. nothing i've found can keep my interest like games can."
Like others, the competitive mentality fuels much of her desire to keep playing. She admitted to racking up roughly 50+ days of gametime in Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare, after a long stint where she was spending hours online with every day, often under multiple gamertags. She claims to have achieved a 182 win streak once, which means she won an unbelievable 182 games in a row.
"Does what bother me? People always saying that games are a "Mans" thing? They usually shut up when i wax them in Call of Duty"
I wanted to share Chatelain and Fisher's reasons, motivations and situations that have landed themselves being branded "extreme gamers" in a demographic study partially because they fall outside the study's average findings. Chatelain isn't 29-years-old, she's 22. Fisher isn't buying dozens of used games, he's spending more of this time with MMOs, online shooters and open world games. Both of them are unemployed, giving them an unusually large amount of free time for games.
The biggest reason to play for both, however, simply seems to be a love for games. They just have more time than the rest of us do to indulge in a favorite habit. That's a difficult one to argue against.