New research released today by the Entertainment Software Association (ESA) shatters myths about the profile of typical American video game players, revealing that they regularly volunteer, exercise, and attend religious services.
According to a survey conducted by Peter D. Hart Research Associates, computer and video game players spend more than three times the amount of time exercising or playing sports, volunteering in the community, reading, or engaging in religious, creative, and cultural activities than they do playing video games. In total, gamers spend 23.4 hours per week on these activities, compared to 6.8 hours per week playing games. Avid gamers – those who play games 11 or more hours per week – spend 34.5 hours per week on the activities mentioned above.
"Gamers are everywhere and they're everyone. They are your friends, neighbors, co-workers, relatives, and kids, they lead responsible and caring lives, balancing their enjoyment of interactive entertainment with many other activities important to a well-rounded lifestyle," said Douglas Lowenstein, president of the ESA, the trade association representing U.S. computer and video game publishers. "Indeed, those who continue to portray the game population as single-minded loafers are living in their own fantasy world."
Equally striking at a time when anti-video game groups are attempting to blame games for contributing to obesity, the Hart research found that 79 percent of all game players report exercising or playing sports at an average of 20 hours a month.
"Obesity is a serious national problem with no easy answers," said Lowenstein. "But it is good to know that so many gamers exercise and are involved in sports, and that their love for games has not made them sedentary."
Detailed survey findings are as follows.
Forty-five percent of gamers volunteer at an average 5.4 hours per month.
Sixty-one percent of game players engage in some type of religious activity for several hours each month.
Ninety-three percent of game players read books or daily newspapers, while sixty-two percent often attend cultural events, such as concerts, museums, or the theater.
Fifty percent spend time painting, writing, or playing an instrument.
Ninety-four percent follow news and current events, and 78 percent report that they vote in most of the elections for which they are eligible.
The poll was conducted in September, 2004, for the ESA by Peter D. Hart Research Associates, Inc., and surveyed a random national sample of 802 adults.
The ESA is the U.S. association dedicated to serving the business and public affairs needs of the companies publishing interactive games for video game consoles, handheld devices, personal computers, and the Internet. ESA members collectively account for more than 90 percent of the $7 billion in entertainment software sales in the U.S. in 2003, and billions more in export sales of American-made entertainment software. The ESA offers services to interactive entertainment software publishers including a global anti-piracy program, owning the Electronic Entertainment Expo trade show, business and consumer research, government relations and First Amendment and intellectual property protection efforts. For more information, please visit www.theESA.com.