More than Half of American Households Play Video Games Regularly

New report highlights growth of virtual and augmented reality, expanding influence of video games

Gamers are a part of 60 percent of American homes, according to new data released today by the Entertainment Software Association (ESA). The report, 2016 Essential Facts About the Computer and Video Game Industry, also reveals that the most frequent video game player is 38 years old, on average, and has been playing video games for about 13 years.

Other key findings highlight gamers’ excitement for new technologies such as augmented and virtual reality. According to the report, more than half of the most frequent video game players are familiar with virtual reality, with 40 percent saying they will likely purchase their own VR headsets within the next year.

“This report illustrates how powerful storytelling, innovative hardware, and compelling design join together to fuel our industry’s growth and fan excitement. We are consistently upending traditional conceptions of entertainment and how consumers interact with media,” said Michael D. Gallagher, president and CEO of the ESA, which represents the U.S. video game industry. “These advancements provide new opportunities for audience engagement, and have established this industry as the leader in groundbreaking entertainment and high-tech development.”

The report underscores another rising global trend spurred by the video game industry: eSports. Half of the most frequent gamers surveyed say they are familiar with professional video game competitions. Of those respondents, 45 percent follow eSports on social media, 40 percent follow coverage on cable TV, and 38 percent stream coverage live.

The 2016 Essential Facts provides statistics on gamer demographics, the genres of games played and platforms used, the top-selling video games and other industry sales information. Additional notable findings from this year’s survey include:

  • Fifty-four percent of the most frequent video game players report playing video games with others, demonstrating the social nature of game play;
  • Women age 18 or older represent a significantly greater portion of the game-playing population (31 percent) than boys age 18 or younger (17 percent);
  • The majority of parents (86 percent) are aware of the ESRB rating system. Among them, 97 percent believe the rating system is accurate;
  • Thirty-six percent of the most frequent gamers play on their smartphones;
  • Thirty-eight percent of the most frequent gamers play puzzle, card or board games most often;
  • Consumers spent more than $23.5 billion on game content, hardware and accessories in 2015, compared to $22.4 billion in 2014.

Data from the 2016 Essential Facts are available here.

Essential Facts About the Computer and Video Game Industry is the most in-depth and targeted annual survey of its kind. It is conducted for ESA by Ipsos MediaCT, which surveyed more than 4,000 American households.

ESA offers a wide range of services to interactive entertainment software publishers, including conducting business and consumer research, providing legal and policy analysis and advocacy on First Amendment, intellectual property and technology/e-commerce issues, managing a global content protection program, owning and operating E3 and representing video game industry interests in federal and state government relations. For more information, visit ESA’s website or follow us on Twitter at @RichatESA or @ESAGovAffairs.






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