ESA Reports Rising Game Popularity

Forty-nine percent of all American homes have a video game console according to new research released today at E3 2012 by the Entertainment Software Association (ESA), the trade association that represents the U.S. video game industry. Matching this historically high install base, more Americans than ever are playing video games on smartphones, tablets and handheld devices and changing the way consumers enjoy computer and video games. More than 30 percent said they play games on their smartphones, compared to 20 percent last year. One quarter of gamers said they play games on wireless devices, up from 13 percent in 2011.

‘Games have evolved from a thing you buy to an experience enjoyed by a wide and diverse population everywhere, anytime, on any screen. This research reflects that new reality,’ said Michael D. Gallagher, president and CEO of ESA. ‘The creativity of our developers and publishers produces an ever-expanding variety of games in different formats and across all platforms. Their innovations drive consumer demand for our products, solidifying our industry’s position as one of the strongest and most cutting-edge sectors in the American economy.’

The report, 2012 Essential Facts About the Computer and Video Game Industry, found 33 percent of gamers said they play social games and 15 percent said they pay to play online games. More broadly, the report found that among U.S. households that own a game console, PC, smartphone, handheld system or wireless device, nearly 40 percent play games on their smartphone and 26 percent play them on their wireless device.
The Essential Facts report showed continued support for the Entertainment Software Rating Board’s (ESRB) rating system, as parents continue to rely on the ratings system to make purchasing decisions. In fact, 98 percent of parents feel the ESRB rating system is either very or somewhat helpful in choosing games for their children, the report found, and 73 percent said they believe the parental controls available in all video game consoles are useful.

Parents remain involved in their children’s video game play, with 40 percent saying that they play computer and video games with their children at least once a week. They also recognize the benefits of video and computer games; 66 percent of parents said such games provide positive mental stimulation for their children.

Other survey findings include:

49% 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 37 percent of game players are older than 36.

42% 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% of gamers play games with others, either in-person or online.

Consumers spent nearly $25 billion on game content, hardware and accessories in 2011.

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 during the spring of 2012.

The Entertainment Software Association is the U.S. association dedicated to serving the business and public affairs needs of companies publishing interactive games for video game consoles, handheld devices, personal computers, and the Internet. ESA offers 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 anti-piracy program, owning and operating E3, and representing video game industry interests in federal and state government relations. For more information, please visit

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