RPS Asks: you to take our 2017 reader survey, please

Every so often we arrive at your door, clipboard in hand, hoping you’ll help us out by asking some questions. Like clockwork, here we are again with 2017’s iteration of our reader survey. Do you have fifteen minutes to fill it in? We’d appreciate it a lot.

The questionnaire is full of straightforward questions such as, ‘What websites do you read?’, ‘How often do you read them?’ and ‘Tick any box if RPS is the best one.’ We’d also like to know about your gaming habits, like whether you ever plan on buying a VR headset. The answers to these questions help us in two ways: by giving us guidance in shaping our editorial, so we know how much to write about eg. VR headsets; and by hopefully improving our advertising, by making it more relevant to you and making sure we can get enough of it to keep Brendan fed with the bread and eggs that sustain him.

You’ll notice that some of the questions aren’t directly relevant to a PC games site, which is because the survey is being run across all Gamer Network sites. This lets us do things like work out exactly how much more handsome we are than Eurogamer, and how much taller we are than GamesIndustry.biz.

None of your answers require personally identifying information and if you do accidentally write out your name and address in the field asking you what game events you go to, we won’t share that information with any third parties.

Here’s the survey link again – thanks!


  1. ColonelFlanders says:


    (Filled it out gladly)

  2. Andrew says:

    3. Are you male or female?

    Diversity, you say.

    • fiendling says:

      You can still pick the one you identify with, regardless of your birth gender.

    • ColonelFlanders says:

      There are so few boths in this world, and I’d wager none that identify as both. What’s the problem?

      • Robert The Rebuilder says:

        The non-binary (NB) community is larger than you think. A third option of N/A would have helped.

        • ColonelFlanders says:

          Fair enough :)

        • Crane says:

          I came back to complain about exactly this point.
          They certainly *should* have had an ‘other’ or ‘N/A’ option, but I’ll give them this: they let me go by without checking either box. Which is shit, because it lumps non-binary folks in with ‘prefer not to say’, but is still better than obliging people to choose one or the other.

    • Donkeyfumbler says:

      You do realise that shoe-horning this into every single thing, all the bloody time is now serving to alienate people who would otherwise be sympathetic to the whole sex\gender\identity thing.

      (See also Mass Effect Andromeda, where a trans character was included but supposedly not very well – which is of course because Bioware aren’t taking it seriously, rather than it being the same for all the other characters in the game).

      I’m a liberal grauniad-subscriber, happy to let people live their lives as they please (as long as that doesn’t impose on anyone else) and yet I’m thoroughly fed up of not being able to go anywhere online without seeing this topic dragged into absolutely anything, no matter how tenuous the link might be. Save your battles for the big stuff because this constant drip drip drip approach is, in my experience, counter-productive and having the opposite effect to the one you’re after.

      • Snowskeeper says:

        It’s not shoe-horning.

        There were two options. The commenter would have preferred a third, since they feel some individuals are not properly represented by those two, on this survey meant to determine the demographics of this network. That is a reasonable complaint to make, and it will not be seen if it is not made.

        • Donkeyfumbler says:

          No, good point – shoe-horn was a bad choice of words as I agree the point is a fair one (choice being good and all). “Bring up at every possible opportunity ” would have been more what I was trying to say.

          • Carcer says:

            “What’s your gender? Male or female?”
            “Well, actually, I don’t identify as either of-”
            “God, why do you have to keep bringing up your gender!?”

          • napoleonic says:

            We didn’t bring our gender up – the survey asked for it.

      • JB says:

        It’s hardly shoe-horning. It’s easily solved. If you’re making a survey, add a third option. Done.

        • skeletortoise says:

          Until someone decides that you’re not respecting their fourth option. Have some sympathy for the survey makers.

          • Snowskeeper says:

            Not if the third option is “other (please specify).”

          • skeletortoise says:

            I can very easily imagine people being upset that their specific circumstance has been lumped in to a big pile of various Other and see it as a questioning their legitimacy. Someone in this comment chain actually pointed out that checking neither is basically the equivalent of Other, and someone else didn’t like that that would just lump them in with “would rather not say”.

          • Snowskeeper says:

            Their point was that it was making it equivalent to “prefer not to say.” Other is not equivalent to “prefer not to say.” And while I don’t doubt that some people would continue to be offended, the majority of people just want the opportunity to actually describe their gender identity themselves. Giving them the option to type it into a text box would allow them to do that.

          • skeletortoise says:

            I understood their point, I know it’s not the same. Just pointing out there’s no pleasing everyone. I think you might be surprised how many people want their own check boxes after they’re had Other for a while. Regardless, I do agree that Other (specify) is the best option.

      • Sin Vega says:

        If wanting an option on a survey would turn someone from “otherwise sympathetic”, they were never sympathetic to begin with.

        • Donkeyfumbler says:

          Ah, the good old “you don’t agree with everything I say, therefore that means you must disagree with everything I say”. It’s perfectly possible to be sympathetic towards a point of view while not always agreeing with the way that point of view is expressed.

          • ColonelFlanders says:

            It’s highly unlike Sin to be entirely contrarian in all of his or her comments.

          • Sin Vega says:

            Ah, the good old “you don’t agree with everything I say, therefore that means you must disagree with everything I say”

            Please don’t put words in my mouth. It does neither of us any favours.

            It’s perfectly possible to be sympathetic towards a point of view while not always agreeing with the way that point of view is expressed.

            Agreed. But if wanting an extra box on a form is so outrageous that it puts someone’s back up, I question how sincere their sympathy was to begin with.

          • Donkeyfumbler says:

            I’m not sure how deliberately misconstruing the point I was making is really any different than ‘putting words in your mouth’ but whatever – at least I only did it the once.

          • Sin Vega says:

            I didn’t intend to misconstrue your point, but I can see how I was focusing on one specific part of it, ignoring the rest, and that was a bit unfair.

          • Donkeyfumbler says:

            Thanks. I am sympathetic to this point of view, as I am to anyone who just wants to live the life they choose, free from interference and prejudice, and of course a single post isn’t going to change my opinion (or anyone elses who feels the same way) but I can’t help feeling that there is a real danger here that the message is going to be lost in all the sound and fury. Maybe I’m wrong though and the best way to change opinions is to shout as loudly and as often as possible – wouldn’t be the first time.

    • Anvilfolk says:

      Hear, hear. I definitely don’t know what to put in. Guess I’m gonna do what someone else did and not fill anything in.

    • John Walker says:

      I agree that there should have been a non-binary option. We didn’t write the survey, but it would have been better if we’d spotted it before publication. However, I believe that the option to leave it blank is there, which is a (not ideal) solution.

      • Andrew says:

        It’s not a first survey you (well, your network) did, and this question was presented before, and was rightfully pointed at before, too (by me, among others, iirc).

        And it easily solved by not including it. Who cares? Or do you really have advertiser that want to sell pink videocards or something? Third option “other” is bad, too, but how about blank textfield, then? Machine can parse them without too much hassle. Yes, you gonna get a bunch of “jedi” and “pony” or something, but overall picture would be mostly the same (you can lie in a survey anyway, so): majority of your readers are male, who would like to buy pink videocards every day.

        You not bad people, I know that. And I love all commentators here. Yes, all. You guys created a very good community, I give you that. It’s just, well, you know, you can do better.

    • Premium User Badge

      phuzz says:

      Apparently how much money I’m currently getting paid is more personal than my gender.

  3. Syt says:

    “How many AAA games did you buy in 2016?”
    “How many games in total did you buy in 2016?”

    DON’T JUDGE ME! :-(

    • Treners says:

      Also; hell if I can remember how many games I bought in 2016. And do we include ones I returned after 20 minutes?

      • Rikard Peterson says:

        I actually searched my mail for order confirmations from Steam, Gog to give somewhat accurate answers…

        I ended up slightly surprised by the AAA count, though I may have counted more games in that column than many others. Surely Dragon Age Origins counts as AAA, even if it’s a couple of years old by now, but what about Jade Empire which I also finally bought in 2016?

        • Ragnar says:

          They’re still AAA. I only bought two AAA games that were released last year, but I bought a lot of older ones.

          I also bought a lot of indie games, but 90% of them were via bundles and will likely never be played.

        • Robertej92 says:

          I found it really difficult in general defining what was or wasn’t AAA, e.g. do telltale games, FM17, endless legend count as AAA, they’re not quite as clear cut as stuff like The Witcher and GTA V

          • Rikard Peterson says:

            I did not count Telltale games as AAA in my answer, but I did count Jade Empire even though it is from 2005. (I don’t remember which category I put System Shock 2 in.)

    • Sakkura says:

      “How many games did you get in Humble monthly and/or bundles and never even played?”

      • caff says:

        Or “How many games have you started, looked at the intro screen, fiddled with the options for a few minutes, then closed thinking you’ll play Rocket League for a bit. Then three months later you realise it’s still in your Steam list and you don’t know what it is, so you uninstall it.”

    • Daiz says:

      This was definitely the hardest question to answer accurately, and I was actually really surprised at the results after digging through my e-mails for receipts – I bought 6 AAA games (3 at launch, 1 somewhat discounted after launch, 2 older ones heavily discounted) in 2016, but the other games (indie games, basically) count was 40+! Sure, at least half of those came from various bundles (that I usually bought because of 1-3 interesting titles in them) and the rest was usually bought at at least some level of discount… But that’s still quite a lot of games, especially when you’re trying to be conscious about what you buy, what with already having a huge amount of completely untouched games in your Steam library.

      At the same time though I think it’s awesome that the digital market for games is so good these days and buying things is really convenient and simple, and while there’s a lot of crap in the sea of games that come out there’s a lot of really good stuff as well. On the whole I definitely end up playing more indie games than AAA games myself (though that’s not a big surprise considering I play a lot of roguelites, which is a genre pretty much completely dominated by indie titles).

      • Gitsi says:

        Just to tack on to your comment, I’m finding the distinction is getting rather nebulous as well. Totally a recency bias thing, but I was seriously stumped deciding if I considered Nier: Automata a AAA game. I mean it released from a big publisher at a standard AAA retail price. But, it feels to me like it has a lot more in common with indie RPG’s than squeenixes other big JRPG release. The budget was clearly not massive and it’s one of the few games that feels worthy of being called the product of an auteur, which seems antithetical to the typical sterility of the average AAA release.

    • tigerfort says:

      “How many AAA games did you buy in 2016?”

      Well, several, but… none that were released in 2016. I don’t think any of them were released in 2015, either, for that matter. So I’m guessing that for the actual purposes of the question the answer (in my case) is “none”. 2016’s AAA games will get considered a few years from now, when bundles or discounts bring them into my price range.

    • Det. Bullock says:

      I left it blank because after counting the games I’ve effectively bought (so excluding giveaways, sales bonuses etc) I couldn’t be hassled to check them again to make sure.
      But considering that probably by triple A they mean in the latest two years or so (I mean technically Star wars: Shadows of The Empire is triple A too, but I doubt it counts in their intent) I essentially bought none.

    • napoleonic says:

      I found that a bit weird. Who decides whether a game is AAA?

  4. geldonyetich says:

    I have taken your survey.

    Why do you play indie games? Check all that apply.

    Rather telling that, “Originality” was not an option.

    • Premium User Badge

      Dios says:

      Content/Gameplay was, if memory serves…

    • Snowskeeper says:

      It was multiple choice. Check all the areas you look for originality in.

    • Skabooga says:

      I thought “style” might be a trap, so I left it unchecked. Even if, in my heart of hearts, it might be true. I am a bad survey-taker.

      • anon459 says:

        That’s the only one I checked, but hell if I’m certain what it actually means.

  5. SuicideKing says:

    “How many AAA games did you buy in 2016?”
    I wanted to select 0, but there was no option…

    • Zenicetus says:

      There were a few like that, without a zero option. Like going out to see a movie. Haven’t done that in years.

      Also what is a “high street store”? (okay, as a USAian I can guess, but it was still funny to see that).

    • Barberetti says:

      Yeah, I just left it blank.

  6. Axyl says:

    Done. Happy to help out. :)

  7. DantronLesotho says:

    Do you ever do a survey of steam profiles?

  8. Gomer_Pyle says:

    … to keep Brendan fed with the bread and eggs that sustain him …

    If you get enough feedback, will he be getting some bacon as well?

    • Barberetti says:

      They might even get around to putting his name at the bottom of the site!

    • sairas says:

      unless Brendan would consider changing his diet to bread and beans, I can not in good conscience abide to this request.

      • Unclepauly says:

        Bread and beans? I feel sorry for the intestines of whoever goes that route.

  9. Premium User Badge

    Drib says:

    The usual method by which I get movies to watch at home was not listed.

    But this survey did highlight how narrowly focused I am re: games coverage. I basically only read RPS. I guess that could be viewed as a bit silly.

    • freedomispopular says:

      Nothing silly about it. RPS is pretty much the only gaming website I visit as well. There’s only so much time in my day, and I’d rather spend it in an environment that’s relatively toxic-free.

    • Frank says:

      Nah, not silly. Same here. If I want more games news, like once a month, I’ll glance at the front pages of Eurogamer, PC Gamer, Shacknews or something.

    • Premium User Badge

      MajorLag says:

      RPS is basically the only game site worth reading. In fact, I never regularly read a game site until this one.

  10. Premium User Badge

    johannsebastianbach says:

    You want me to count all the Indie games I got in Steam Spring/Summer/Fall/Winter Sale, and Humble Spring/Summer/Fall/Winter Sale, and GOG Spring/Summer/Fall/Winter Sale, and other Sales all around the world? Hmm – do you have all evening or do you have places to go?
    (Kinda relieved they didn’t ask how many of them I got around playing just once – it would’ve been kind of depressing)

    • Person of Interest says:

      The survey had this problem last year, too.

      Since I didn’t see a “survey feedback” field at the end, I’ll leave it here: please offer some guidance on this question w.r.t. bundles, or bulk purchases. Or don’t beat around the bush and just ask how many €/£/$ we spent last year on games.

  11. Premium User Badge

    subdog says:

    More feedback: You should be asking about podcasts and streamers/youtubers.

    I don’t know what questions you should ask, but I was surprised it wasn’t mentioned much.

  12. aircool says:

    How do you watch your movies…

    …erm, streaming I guess…

  13. CAMN says:

    14. How long do you spend gaming each week?

    There should be an “I would rather not say” option in there…

    I don’t feel comfortable counting how much of my life I dedicate to what I can only describe as a hobby, because I’m pretty sure it is way more than I dedicate to actually meaningful things.

    • DantronLesotho says:

      Hobbies are meaningful.

      • ColonelFlanders says:

        Time that one enjoys wasting is arguably not time wasted.

        • Unclepauly says:

          I printed this out, laminated it, then put it in a plaque which was then tossed at my girlfriends head. It missed and shattered. Quite telling

    • Zenicetus says:

      Us older gamers have an easy excuse for all those hours spent gaming: “it’s keeping my brain active so it doesn’t turn to mush.” Whether that’s true or not doesn’t matter, it’s hard to refute.

      • teije says:

        Perfect. That’s going to be my public rationale from now on in.

    • Darth Gangrel says:

      For me that varies a lot. I’ve spent 36,8 h according to Steam the last two weeks (don’t know which date they’re counting from) trying to finish yet another backlogged game, Darksiders 2. Before that, 0 h for several weeks. Having uninstalled DS2 and installed FEAR, I’ll probably play a few hours this week at least.

  14. lglethal says:

    What type of Gaming device do you have?
    Gaming Mac

    Come on we all know that’s not a real thing…

    That’s like asking what sort of Sports Car someone drives and then offering them the option to answer “a Beetle”!

    ;) :P

    • demicanadian says:

      I guess that’s because there’s also no “non-gaming pc” option.

    • dahools says:

      My daughter and I each have a “Gaming Mac”

      We generally zip them up and pull the hood over and see how many puddles we can dodge when running back into the house to play on the “Gaming PC”.

    • Rikard Peterson says:

      Or a Mini? (The Italian Job)

  15. Barberetti says:

    37. How often do you go to the cinema?

    Where’s the “Once every 5 years and that’s only if someone else pays for me and takes me there” option?

  16. CyborgHobbit says:

    I wasn’t sure how to answer the Hardware section. My wife and two daughters each have their own gaming PCs as well. We try to do hand-me-downs when it comes to things like GPU upgrades, but I still buy more components than I would all alone.

  17. Darth Gangrel says:

    RPS incessantly insists on never preordering games and there is NO OPTION to choose “0 games preordered under 2016”. Raaarrrggghhh!

    • caff says:

      They’re testing you. This is not a survey, it’s a psychoanalytical interrogation.

  18. Premium User Badge

    calcifer says:

    This survey is yet another reminder of how RPS is a pristine oasis in a sea of toxic sludge. Never change.

  19. Tachanka says:

    That is a poorly designed survey

    • Catterbatter says:

      It could have been better optimized, but the gameplay and art direction are solid.

    • napoleonic says:

      It’s Survey Monkey. It’s almost impossible to write a well-designed survey in Survey Monkey.

  20. caff says:

    I was hoping for some probing questions, e.g.:

    – “How many pieces of hardware have you damaged with your blundering fingers?”

    – “How many games did you refund on Steam, then end up buying again by accident a few months later because you’d forgotten?”.

  21. teije says:

    The age question is funny for an oldie like me.

    1 option for each year from 19-40.
    Option for 41-45
    Option for 46-50
    Then 50+

    Since at 50+ you’re clearly so close to death, it doesn’t really matter whether you’re 50 or 89.

    • Snowskeeper says:

      To be fair, the population of people above 50 is also much smaller. Might have been better to go with a number line or something, though.

      • napoleonic says:

        The population aged 50-59 is a very similar size to the population in younger age bands in most Western countries. Take the UK, for example, ten year age bands to the nearest million in 2014:

        0-9: 7m
        10-19: 8m
        20-29: 9m
        30-39: 8m
        40-49: 9m
        50-59: 8m
        60-69: 7m
        70-79: 4m
        80-89: 2m
        90+: 0m

        As you can see, it’s only when people reach their mid to late 60s that the population starts dropping off.

        • Robertej92 says:

          I assumed they meant in terms of gaming population, though given that people in their 50s would have been kids/teenagers when the Atari 2600 came out and have therefore spent most of their lives around gaming I think that demographic is probably a fair bit bigger than in past generations.

          • Premium User Badge

            kfix says:

            100% of the 45+ individuals in my household play games. Statistics sorted.

  22. Rainshine says:

    Humble Bundle and various Steam DLC sales inflate my numbers. For AAA, I only counted games I bought that are less than a year old, so one (WoW: Legion).
    The hardware upgrade questions make me grin though; I’m still using the same computer I built back at the start of the decade. I swapped the OS drive for a bigger SSD a couple years ago, but all the other original components are still in there. Keep contemplating doing a GFX/Monitor upgrade, but trying to ensure mb compatibility scares me, honestly.

  23. LearningToSmile says:

    I don’t really feel all that poor, and I can consider around 30% of my post-taxes salary “disposable income”, but apparently in the eyes of the marketers who wrote this survey, I classify in the “0+” bracket.

    Eye-opening, really.

    • Snowskeeper says:

      For comparison’s sake, the USA’s federal minimum annual wage is $15,080; Canada’s is C$21,736, which equates to $16,246.96 in USD. The UK’s minimum wage is $16,348.57 in American dollars.

      To qualify for the first bracket, you’d have to be earning dramatically less than what is considered minimum wage in all three of those countries. That qualifies you for the 0+ bracket, I think.

    • RaunakS says:

      The salary thing is funny really, if you’re in India. I’m considerably more well-off than my family & friends and yet I earn less than the first tier of incomes. So 0+ it is.

  24. Ragnar says:

    Glad to help. There was some room for improvement in the survey, however.

    The “Which gaming sites do you read?” section was really poorly formatted on mobile (phone, Android, Chrome browser). I had to rotate my phone to landscape and scroll to get to the entry fields when they’re was clearly enough space even in portrait.

    Also, many (all?) binary choices could have used an “Other” option, and some quantitative questions could have used a “0”/”None” option.

  25. Premium User Badge

    particlese says:

    I find the lack of music as a purchase motivation disturbing.

    The specificity of the age question, too, but in a different way.

    • Premium User Badge

      kfix says:

      Heh yeah, once we’re over 40 we’re lumped together a bit more broadly. But I don’t doubt that this is valid in the context of looking for broader trends, so I’ll suck up yet another reminder of my impending death without further complaint :)

      • Premium User Badge

        particlese says:

        Heh! I was actually just having a half-hearted micro-rant about privacy regarding the one-year resolution of most of the options, but now that you mention it, that hill is coming up mighty fast… o_o’

        Better get my wagon spiffed up!

  26. Xipheas says:

    “How long have you been a reader of the site?”

    1 year+ options up to 6 years+, followed by since inception.

    If I tick 1 year+, I might have been reading it 5 years.

  27. Biggus_Dikkus says:

    what i won’t do for you guys

  28. Premium User Badge

    Gnarl says:

    Hah! I can’t use Battle.net anymore as it doesn’t exist. This survey was clearly written over a week ago and so is irrelevant.