Adult women represent a significantly greater portion of the video game-playing population than boys age 17 or younger, and nearly half of all video game players are women, according to new research released by the Entertainment Software Association (ESA).
The report, 2013 Essential Facts About the Computer and Video Game Industry, found that women comprise 31 percent of the video game-playing population, while boys 17 and under represent only 19 percent of game players. Women are 45 percent of the entire game playing population and 46 percent of the time are the most frequent game purchasers.
“This new data underscores the remarkable upward trajectory for video games. It is an entertainment form enjoyed by hundreds of millions of consumers worldwide,” said Michael D. Gallagher, president and CEO of ESA, the trade association that represents the U.S. video game industry. “A diverse and energized consumer base, remarkable new hardware, and outstanding software all combine to foster growth for our industry.”
In addition to changing demographics, the report shows that parents are closely monitoring what their children are playing. According to Essential Facts, parents are present when games are purchased or rented 89 percent of the time, and children receive their parents’ permission before purchasing or renting a game 80 percent of the time. More than a third of parents report playing video games with their children at least once a week.
Parents continue to rely on the Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) video game rating system and parental controls to make purchasing decisions and monitor game play. Nearly 90 percent of parents said the ESRB rating system is either very or somewhat helpful in choosing games for their children, and 86 percent said parental controls available on all video game consoles are useful – a sharp increase from 73 percent in 2012.
“Our industry takes seriously our partnership with parents and our responsibility to provide families with tools to help them make educated entertainment choices. We are encouraged to see parents use these resources and take an active interest in their children’s game play,” Gallagher said.
The 2013 Essential Facts provides statistics on industry demographics; the types of games played and game platforms used; how parents monitor and engage with their children around game play; the top-selling computer and video games; and overall sales information for the industry. Notable findings include:
- 58 percent of Americans play video games;
- 51 percent of U.S. households own a dedicated game console, and those that do own an average of two;
- The average game player is 30 years old, and 36 percent of game players – the largest age segment – are 36 or older;
- 43 percent of game players believe that computer and video games give them the most value for their money, compared to DVDs, music or going out to the movies;
- 62 percent of gamers play games with others, either in-person or online; and,
- Consumers spent nearly $21 billion on game content, hardware, and accessories in 2012.
Ipsos MediaCT conducted the research for Essential Facts, which is the most in-depth and targeted survey of its kind, gathering data from more than 2,000 nationally representative households.