What is the first thing that springs to mind when you think of gaming? If consoles like Xbox or PlayStation popped into head, you are probably in the majority.
However, that would undoubtedly do a huge disservice to the millions of people who spend endless hours gaming on personal computers every week.
PCs are often an afterthought in discussions about games consoles, but they are an integral part of the modern gaming scene.
However, according to recent research by casino operators Betway, PC gamers have plenty of questions to answer when it comes to cleanliness.
The study analysed 12 sets of randomly selected Xbox, PlayStation, Nintendo Switch and computers, along with a kitchen table and toilet seat.
The PC returned some particularly gruesome results, with the mouse found to be the filthiest of all the elements tested.
A median mouse swab showed 247.5 colony-forming units, almost 200 more than the tally found on the Nintendo Switch triggers.
It was a similar story on the power button, with the median of 115 colony-forming units per swab significantly ahead of the 83 found on Xbox handles.
Keyboards were also found to be a haven for bacteria with a median of 165 per swab, although that figure was slightly les than the 190 found on PlayStation buttons and joysticks.
Of the devices tested, the Nintendo Switch offers the cleanest version of gaming with a median of just 55 colony-forming units per swab.
This is still more than double than you would find on a toilet seat, although the figure was fewer than the tally returned by the Xbox and PlayStation.
In terms of the bacteria, there were three main types found to grow on gaming devices – Bacillus SPP, Staphylococcus SPP/Micrococcus SPP and mould.
In each case, all of the bacteria can be harmful to someone’s health, highlighting why it is imperative to keep your gaming devices as clean as possible.
The experts who conducted the study recommended that gamers should include their devices in the normal weekly household cleaning routine.
A plastic-friendly cleaning solution and a damp cloth is ideal for wiping carefully around the controllers, or the keyboard and mouse if using a PC.
Make sure to also thoroughly wipe the surface underneath your device, to ensure that the dust is removed from there.
For keyboards, get specialised cleaning solutions such deep-reaching gel or a spray that goes between the keys.
These allow better access to hard-to-reach spots and may also be useful for the buttons of peripheral items such as games controllers.
With germs and viruses becoming a massive talking point over the past year, the research results may be a worry to some gamers.
However, regular cleaning can help to significantly reduce the amount of bacteria in the devices and give you peace of mind that they are as hygienic as they can be.
Whether that message would get through to modern-day teenagers is probably debatable, although using the phrase ‘dirtier than a toilet seat’ will probably focus their minds!