Stardew Valley: the Who, What, Where & Why
May 24, 2019 11:07 am,
Stardew Valley hit stores over three years ago and has since sold millions of copies. With versions available in over five languages, it’s become a global phenomenon and it’s only expanding. With so much playtime under its belt, it’s time to see how Stardew Valley lines up as a gaming experience.
We’re going to explore the who, what, where and why or the game, looking at demographics engaged, the experience of different consoles and how it all stacks up against other popular games and in our lives as a whole.
This comprehensive report on Stardew Valley will give insights into just why we all love developing granddad’s farm and exploring the valley – alone or with friends!
Stardew Valley & the Current Gaming Landscape
Today, Fornite stands as the most popular game amongst players worldwide. The average user spends 6-10 hours a week, which nearly 70% spending an average of $84.67 on in-app purchases. So how does this clear recipe for success translate to Stardew Valley? Though the games are very different, some notable similarities exist.
Both Stardew Valley and Fornite fall into the RPG category, though the latter is officially classed as an action RPG. Even more similar is the Battle Royalley mod –created by Ilyaki – that allows Valley farmer’s to fight to the death in true Fortnite style.
The popularity of RPG’s has been attributed to a number of factors. The immersive nature of the experience is an attractive form of escapism for most users. Similarly, the perceived freedom, social aspects and well-structured excitement and mystery have all been cited as reasons for success.
Who’s Playing in the Valley?
The gaming industry has a surprisingly equal spread when it comes to gender. According to independent reports, 45% of the community and female and 55% male. However, Stardew Valley has been praised for its in-game diversity and accessibility to both genders. Perhaps because of this feminist twist, the demographics skew slightly from the average. A Quantic Foundry report discovered that farm simulation games have 69% female users.
Stardew Valley also skews the average when it comes to age range of players. Statistics show that the average age of gamers is 34 – falling at 32 and 36, for male and female respectively.
However, an independent poll from Playstarbound unveiled that a massive 50% of Stardew Valley players fall into the 20-30 year old age range. Only 19.4% were 30-40 span, which is where the general average for gamers falls. It’s also interesting to note that the game attracts players of all ages. 16.7% are 10-20 years old, while 4.2% are in the 60-70 range. The width of this set of results is a true testimony to the diversity and inclusivity of the game.
Consoles, Tablets, PCs – Oh My!
One major advantage of Stardew Valley is that it’s supported on multiple consoles, so you won’t have to buy any new hardware to play the game. Currently, it’s available on Windows, macOS, Linux, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation Vita, iOS and Android.
Statistics show that these platforms are by far the most popular with games. Currently 66% of gaming occurs on PCs; 38% on mobile devices like iPads and smartphones; 31% on PS4 and 28% on Xbox consoles; 20% on Mac and 18% on Switch.
From this data, it’s clear that Stardew Valley is accessible to almost everyone in the gaming community, thanks to its wide range of compatibility. It’s also notable that the game works full controller support to match your gaming set-up. You can use Xbox One and Xbox 360 controllers on the PC, as well as the dedicated controllers for other consoles.
RPG’s Role in Mental Health & Wellbeing
So, just why do people love Stardew Valley so much? What is there to gain from indulging in this imaginary world? Video games get a lot of criticism for their role in mental health, but many reports actually show an alternate narrative. In a survey of frequent gamers, 55% said that gaming helped them connect and stay close with friends – which is hardly surprising when you consider that 56% of gamers will play multiplayer for 7 hours a week.
In our busy world, it’s become harder than ever to meet up with friends for a quit chat. Instead, immersive games serve at a platform where you can connect and catch up, without the time and expenses of having to leave your house.
In fact, RPG’s can actually be used as a form of therapy. Adam Davis (M.Ed from the University of Seattle,) and Adam Johns (MSc Family Therapy) have recently created the Wheelhouse Workshop project, which aims to use tabletop RPG’s to improve mental health. The power of storytelling, combined with the community element has seen impressive results so far.
Play Stardew Valley Now
Stardew Valley is available now on all the platforms mentioned above. You can buy physical copies in most major gaming stores, and it’s also available on Steam. If you want the game on a mobile device, it can be downloaded directly from the App store or Google Play store.
There are also merch and expansion packs from independent retailers, including our onsite store.