I spent several years of my career as a video game journalist. I wrote for national publications, covered multi-million dollar events and attended red carpet premieres. And as fun as it was, perhaps the most important thing I gained from that time was a better understanding of the people associated with the industry: developers, marketers and most notably, the fans.

Now that I’ve parted ways with the fast-paced industry, I often find myself scratching my head over the way content marketers try to reach video game fans. Even more surprising: The way video game fans are viewed by marketers.

Here’s a little insight into the misconceptions, lessons and must-have strategies for reaching the gamer demographic, and why content marketers should go after them.

Who Is the ‘Average’ Gamer?

“Video games are for kids.”

Wrong. Games aren’t just for teens. In fact, the average American video game player is 30 years old and has played for over 13 years. Why is this important? It means that many fans don’t treat games as a hobby, but as a lifestyle.

“Gamers are almost always men.”

Nope. Audience breakdown in this demographic is almost equally split between males and females (55 percent and 45 percent, respectively). In fact, women over the age of 18 represent a significantly greater portion of the game-playing population than boys 17 or younger.

Everyone who plays games is sitting in front of a TV.”

Not every gamer out there is an affluent first-person shooter fan playing on their Xbox or PlayStation. Casual gamers make up a significant portion of the market, with mobile gaming accounting for 36 percent of gamers everywhere. In other words, you can reach gamers on their lunch break or during their morning commute.

“Gamers are lone rangers, so it’s hard to reach them in large numbers.”

There was a time when gaming was perceived as a lonesome, singular activity. However, gamers are now more integrated than ever before. More than 60 percent of gamers play with others, either in-person or online. That translates to copious amounts of live chat, instant messaging and YouTube channel views, such as the infamous PewDiePie with their 35+ million subscribers.

Gamers who connect online or engage in the forums are looking for ways to connect – and not just about games. Think of these play sessions and community discussions as conversations you’d have in a coffee shop: They talk about current affairs, trends and world issues.

Show Me the Marketing Money

Despite the disparity in much of the video game fan demographic, the audience does have a few things in common. First, they’re always looking for new forms of entertainment and technological breakthroughs. This makes them willing to listen to messages that are applicable and well thought out.

Also (and pay particular attention to this one, content marketers), purchasing power and willingness to spend are very high within this demographic. Considering the average gamer is 30 years old and has a steady income, there’s a fair amount of expendable cash floating around.

Gaming consoles alone will set you back $400 or more. Standard games range from $50 to $60 a pop, while collector editions are upwards of $100. And while this may seem excessive to non-video game fans, brand loyalty runs deep among this group. You’ll find plenty of consumers willing to go above and beyond a “normal” price range to get the best experience.

Still need more proof that you should consider video game fans in your content marketing and platform strategy? Consider this: Grand Theft Auto V is in the Guinness Book of World Records for its record-breaking sales. It broke six world records, including the “highest revenue generated by an entertainment product in 24 hours” and the “fastest entertainment property to gross $1 billion.”

Doing It Well

Heads turned when Mercedes-Benz announced a partnership with the family-friendly (and comparatively inexpensive) Nintendo Wii U on a race-inspired Mario Kart 8 game add-on. The free downloadable pack gave players a chance to race the luxury automaker’s iconic cars with their favorite characters in the driver’s seat.

Then there’s Mountain Dew, which targets gamers often. They have presence at most major video game events, though what ultimately appeals most to gamers is Mountain Dew’s eagerness to associate with major game brands. For example, Mountain Dew created a hugely successful campaign with Halo: The game’s primary protagonist was plastered all over bottles and cans. Furthermore, select bottles offered prizes and downloadable content through codes under the screw cap.

Just keep this in mind: While a bold advertising campaign can certainly make a statement to video game fans, gamers are sensitive and can easily pick up on advertising that exploits their hobby. As with almost all content marketing strategies, you must get to know your audience on an intrinsic level.