“Gamers,” as a demographic group, exist in a different way than “readers” or “TV viewers.” Mostly that’s because everybody reads or watches TV to some extent, and it’s not terribly useful to talk about a section of the population if that section is the population.
Increasingly, though, the same thing is happening with gaming. BBC research indicates that 60% of people in the UK, of all ages, play video games. I’d say it’s safe to assume the proportion is similar in the rest of the post-industrial world. The proportion of youth identified as gamers is even higher than this, and they’re not stopping as they get older. So this proportion is going to go up.
It’s a sign of the maturity of the medium, and part of what’s driving it is that games can do more now. Not just action, not just adventure, not just pyew-pyew-pyew oh-look-at-the-body-parts blast’ems.
Ian Bogost has a good article on this in Edge:
When we acknowledge videogames as a medium, the notion of a monolithic games industry, which creates a few kinds of games for a few kinds of players, stops making any sense. As does the idea of a demographic category called “gamers” who are the ones who play these games.
The point is not whether games qualify as art or not. Nor whether games are useful tools or not. Rather, the point is that there are lots of other things people can and do accomplish with videogames. Some are well-established, like entertainment, and some are emerging, like meditation. No matter, all of those uses taken together make the medium stronger and give it greater longevity.