65% of American adults play games, ESA finds

Trade group releases new research profiling US gaming audience

About 65% of American adults, or 164 million people, play games according to new research published by the Entertainment Software Association (ESA).

Its 2019 Essential Facts report is based on Ipsos research collected from over 4,000 participants, and includes data supplied by the Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) and The NPD Group.

54% of adult players are male and 46% are female, with an average age of 33-years-old, the report states.

Unsurprisingly smartphones were found to be the most commonly used devices for gaming, ahead of PC and consoles.

52% of players are college educated and 59% say they’ll vote in the next presidential election, the report said.

57% of players who are parents said they play games with their children on a weekly basis, while 74% of parents believe games are educational.

The research found game players were more likely to have a creative hobby, play a musical instrument, meditate regularly or be vegetarian than non-players.

It also showed there’s a high awareness of trust in ESRB game ratings — 87% know what they are and 98% said they were confident the classifications were accurate.

Of the 2,768 physical and downloadable console games assigned ratings by the ESRB in 2018, 42% received an E for Everyone rating and 9% received a M for Mature rating.

2018 was a record-breaking year for the US games industry, with total sales surpassing $43.4 billion, up 18% from 2017.

ESA acting CEO and president Stan Pierre-Louis said of the report: “For the first time, we at the Entertainment Software Association have taken a comprehensive look at the individual Americans who enjoy video games and their lifestyles in order to better understand their profiles and interests.

“The resulting data speaks for itself. Video game players represent a diverse cross-section of the American population spanning every age, gender, and ethnicity. They live healthy lives, are civically engaged, and are socially active.

“The 2019 Essential Facts simply illustrates what we in the industry already know to be true: we are living in the golden age of video games, and video game players are thriving.”