More than four in five (82 percent) UK web users aged between eight and 65 consider themselves (82 percent) gamers, says the Internet Advertising Bureau UK (IAB).

The Gaming Britain: A Nation United by Digital Play report, which saw 4,000 web users surveyed by the IAB, revealed those aged 25 to 45 make up 44 percent of these gamers, while a third are aged 45 to 65 and just under a quarter are in the 16 to 24 age bracket.

Just over half (51 percent) are men and seven in ten of those aged 16 to 65 admit the use a gaming device, such as a PlayStation Portable, at least three times week.

Those that play consoles such as the Xbox or Nintendo Wii view it as a social activity with 81 percent of those that use consoles saying they play with friends and family.

Furthermore, consoles are not just used for playing games. More than two in five (41 percent) browse the web from a console, while 39 percent watch TV through catch-up services like BBC iPlayer and 35 percent social network from the device.

Puzzle and quiz games were named as the most popular type of game, with nearly half (49 percent) saying they play these types of games, while social networking games were the second most popular, played by nearly a third (30 percent).

PCs games were more popular with adults when it came to playing games, while youngsters said they preferred smartphone and tablet PC games such as Angry Birds.

"Our Gaming Britain research is fascinating because it blasts many people's preconceptions about the video game playing audience out of the water. It categorically proves that while very few would consider themselves an avid 'gamer', in fact almost 33 million people do play video games and do so frequently," said the IAB.

"This makes playing games far too mainstream an activity to be classified as a niche audience, in fact, non-game players are the niche.In fact, playing games is such an incredibly engrained behaviour within the UK that contrary to antisocial stereotype, games help build and maintain friendships and family."