By Matthew Henry

SYDNEY: The stereotype of pimple-faced teenage gamers is in need of an update, according to Pioneer Australia, which has claimed that the average gamer is now a male in their mid-30s and interested in a bigger experience of gaming.

According to US statistics quoted by Pioneer at its Xbox 360 surround sound system launch at Eastern Creek in Sydney this week, the average age of a gamer is now 33 years old and the stereotypical young, geeky male gamer is no longer the prime target for product marketing.

“Young male gamers are actually in the minority, even outnumbered by older female gamers. It is clear that modern day gaming has reached mainstream society,” said Pioneer Australia category manager – audio, Tony Trent.

The company gave a synopsis of the gaming market during the launch of its new HTP-GS1 home theatre system (RRP $699) – a product which the brand argues is viable given the rising average age of gamers and the multimedia capabilities of next generation consoles like Microsoft’s Xbox 360.

The Xbox 360 features high definition video and 5.1 channel surround sound games, as well as DVD movie playback.

With games costing tens of millions of dollars and requiring up to four years to develop, Trent said there is as much need of high quality audio in gaming systems as with DVD home theatre systems.

“The gaming industry is becoming the new Hollywood,” he said.

“Games need to connect with their users, and audio is the key to doing this. 5.1 channel surround plays an integral role in the game experience.”

The new GS1 is designed specifically for the Xbox 360, and features styling and a colour scheme matched to the aesthetics of the console. Users can connect their Xbox 360 directly to the console with an optical cable for digital surround sound, and the GS1’s remote will also control all operations of the original Xbox 360 remote.

The GS1 also features Pioneer’s MCACC automatic calibration system, which sets up the relay times and levels for a coherent surround sound image.