Majority of parents say video games are a positive part of their child's life

New report from the Entertainment Software Association also reveals that 181.3 million Americans play games and the average gamer age is 31.

The Entertainment Software Association--the group that represents the video game industry's interests in Washington D.C.--today released its annual "Essential Facts" report that reveals a number of interesting statistics about the business.

One of the most interesting findings from the report is that 56 percent of parents say video games are a positive part of their child's life. Other notable facts include statistics like 59 percent of all Americans playing games, the average gamer age (31), and the average age of the most frequent game purchaser (35).

The report, 2014 Essential Facts About the Computer and Video Game Industry, is available in full through this PDF link. Below are some of the highlights from the findings.

Who Is Playing?:

  • 59 percent of Americans play games.
  • 181.3 million Americans play games.
  • Average gamer age is 31.
  • 51 percent of Americans own a dedicated game console, and those that do own an average of two.
  • 52 percent of U.S. gamers are male, and 48 percent are female.
  • Women aged 18 or over make up a much larger percentage of the gamer population (36 percent) than boys 18 or younger (17 percent).
  • The average number of years gamers have been playing video games is 14.

Who Is Buying?:

  • Average age of the most frequent game purchaser is 35.
  • Of the most frequent game purchasers, 50 percent are male and 50 percent are female.
  • 44 percent of gamers said video games give them the most value for their money, compared to DVDs, music, or going out to the movies.

At Play:

  • 88 percent of parents whose children play games believe the ESRB rating system is either very or somewhat helpful in choosing games for their children.
  • 85 percent of parents are aware of the ESRB system.
  • 87 percent of parents believe that the parental controls available in video game consoles are useful. In addition, parents impose time usage limits on video games more than any other form of entertainment. 83 percent for games, 80 percent of Internet usage, 76 percent TV viewing, and 70 percent movie viewing.
  • Of the games rated by the ESRB in 2013, 46 percent were rated E, 19 percent were rated E10+, 23 percent were rated T, and 12 percent were rated M.
  • 91 percent of parents whose children play video games are present when games are purchased or rented.
  • 82 percent of children ask for their parents' permission before purchasing or renting a game.
  • 95 percent of parents say they pay attention to the content of the games their children play.
  • 56 percent of parents say video games are a positive part of their child's life.

Bottom Line:

  • The "action" category was the best-selling console video game genre in 2013, making up 31.9 percent of all games sold last year. The next closest category was the "shooter" category at 20 percent.
  • For PC, strategy games took the lion's share, with 38.4 percent of all sales. The next closest category was "casual" at 28.3 percent.
  • The best-selling console game of 2013 was Grand Theft Auto V, followed by Call of Duty: Ghosts.
  • On PC, StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm was the best-seller, followed by SimCity.
  • In all, gamers spent $21.53 billion on all video game content in 2013.

The ESA's Essential Facts report was conducted by research firm Ipsos MediaCT, based on data gathered from more than 2,200 "nationally representative" households.

Eddie Makuch is a news editor at GameSpot, and you can follow him on Twitter @EddieMakuch
Got a news tip or want to contact us directly? Email news@gamespot.com

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Discussion

121 comments
Creed02
Creed02

I bet these parents are aged from 24-27..

so_hai
so_hai

OK parents, then stop voting for ultra-conservatives who deplore video games...

hystavito
hystavito

That 56 percent isn't very high, especially when the study is from a pro-gaming organization.

roguebot
roguebot

The average age is 31? Unfortunately, at 29 I'm the only person among my friends who still plays games with any regularity.

edward-snowden
edward-snowden

Nice, there is finally an organization out there not shitting about video games!

Securator
Securator

"59 percent of Americans play games."


And yet here i do not have a single friend who plays video games.

unaminous
unaminous

Ah, gamers. When someone attacks the industry, it's "We're being entirely misrepresented!" When someone provides good news about the industry, it's "MOBILE? WE'RE BEING ENTIRELY MISREPRESENTED!" FFS, guys. You all suck.

Matchews
Matchews

For statistics like this to even matter they need to properly define gaming. Some people would define gaming as spending more time gaming then any other activity. Apparently this article defines gaming as sitting down in front of a device with a screen and touching it for any time longer then 1 second.

---Cipher---
---Cipher---

Gaming isn't anything good! We need to follow Yee's example and start selling illegal weapons! HE had it right!

cratecruncher
cratecruncher

Game industry lobby does an annual "random" survey of 2,200 households and says 51% of 307 million Americans have a gaming console.  That's a sample rate of 0.0007%.  I'm skeptical of all of these findings.

thorn3000
thorn3000

lol no matter how much people ranted about simcity, there you have it, second most sold game on the PC...

DamnILoveGames
DamnILoveGames

Thank god, some news about gaming affecting people that isn't actually negative. Videogames really helped fuel my imagination and lexicon, they helped give me ideas for music, and artistic ideas which is good given how I enjoy writing, making music and drawing. They've inspired my creative side in helping to entertain and make people happy, not fuelled my lust for stabbing grannies and throwing petrol bombs at orphanages.

broncosfan
broncosfan

As a father and a gamer I do think I want to make sure my sons game more moderately than I did as a kid, but at the same time I'd much rather them play games than watch TV. I can obviously screen either one, but I think the interactivity is better for the brain than just watching mindless television where you don't really have to think or react all that much. That being said, I think a heavy dose of get outside and actually do stuff than just playing a game is probably good for us all.

Thanatos2k
Thanatos2k

.....Did they count mobile?


....I think they counted mobile.

Dilandau88
Dilandau88

This article is inaccurate. There are no such thing as female gamers. #myth

tom2750
tom2750

and of those female gamers most play mobile or tablet games or play games like call of duty or grand theft auto and sport games for a couple of hours every week or 2 sorry but its true be butthurt all you wan't but when it come to properly being into games it is by far male dominated there is an army of women complaining about guys playing video games no guys complaining about girls playing games

blackblazerwolf
blackblazerwolf

this is a positive view for video games,this is great :)

PeterDuck
PeterDuck

Nintendo: "Raising your kids since 1980's....You're welcome"

billlabowski
billlabowski

Of course they're going to say that. It's cheaper than a babysitter.

jako998
jako998

WoW this is really  a surprise that many Female gamers lol ?

hystavito
hystavito

@roguebot  I'm 35 and was in the same situation, but the weird thing is a couple friends have recently started playing again.  Oddly enough, I think what might be behind that is having kids.  Although children take up time, it also means parents stay home a lot more than they used to.

---Cipher---
---Cipher---

@Securator If you count angry birds and bejeweled, then yes you do! Even my mom is a gamer in that respect...

thorn3000
thorn3000

@Thanatos2k absolutely, otherwise there would not be such a high percentage of female gamers (48% of all gamers female)...

PumpkinBoogie
PumpkinBoogie

@Dilandau88  Article may not accurate, but fuck if you ain't wrong about 'no such thing' shit....<_<


Sincerely,


#realfemalegamer

thorn3000
thorn3000

@Dilandau88 ou there are if you count mobile and facebook games...many girls play farmville and the like all the time...if you count mobile and browser games as games (which the report definitely counts) you might get 48% of gaming population being female

Daian
Daian

@Dilandau88  There are tons, sadly they're everywhere else but my country apparently.

deviant205
deviant205

@tom2750  While I agree that the majority of the time that's true, it's not in every case. My husband got really pissed at me one day when I played Assassin's Creed 2 for 5 hours straight lol. So there is at least one guy out there that complained about a woman playing games.  


I realize though that "real" girl gamers are rare and that these statistics are way off. I am the only girl gamer that I know lol. 

thorn3000
thorn3000

@tom2750 well they need to make a statistics based on playtime...if we take 52% are males, 48% females...then or example they should have asked question to allow such a categorization - in category of 5+ hours weekly played, 60% are males, 40% females, in category 20+ hours played weekly, 85% are males, 15% are females, etc.

Lach0121
Lach0121

@jako998  Im not really that surprised.  I met my gf (of 6 years) gaming. 


We do quite a bit of gaming together, and we are even about to save up so we can build some new rigs.


My sister did, and still does a decent bit of gaming.  My mom casually games on the pc, actually I know so many moms that do.

Komissar33188
Komissar33188

@jako998  Read the comments on any gender-oriented thread on this site. Lady gamers are either at best a unicorn, or at worst a unicorn with cooties.

PumpkinBoogie
PumpkinBoogie

@thorn3000 @Thanatos2k  NOOOO.....and here I was 'bout get hype on shouting out for my gamer chicas reppin' it w/ them numbers.


Dammit, but most them be the 'fake' female gamers. u_u


Well, well I'ma still real female gamers out there, anywayz!! lol

SphinxDemon
SphinxDemon

Lol wtf I dont know any moms that do

spartanx169x
spartanx169x

@Komissar33188 @jako998 I would be more inclined to trust their numbers if they were not lumping mobile(smartphones and wireless devices) in with the stats.

spartanx169x
spartanx169x

@Komissar33188 @jako998  I know 2 girls that game on a regular basis on console out of about 200 and I'm not exaggerating the numbers. out of the 200. maybe 20 have a WII and they only play them when they have parties or go to parties.

Hurvl
Hurvl

@Komissar33188 @jako998Gaming sites are so representative of the overall gamer population and there is nothing that would keep female gamers from revealing to the internet that they are female. That was sarcasm.

Lach0121
Lach0121

@feylief @SphinxDemon  lol, I see I repeated myself there, I meant to say, she will probably live to be a great great grandma.

Lach0121
Lach0121

@feylief @SphinxDemon  

Yep my mom isn't young either, she is actually a great grandma. Will probably live to be a great grandma as well.  She likes playing card games, and bejeweled and other games like those, but they still count.

feylief
feylief

@SphinxDemon plants and zombies is a game. my stepmom plays it a lot on her ipad. lots and lots more than i, my sister or brother do. like 3 hrs per day. and she's not young either. she's a grandma

Komissar33188
Komissar33188

@teske4444 @Komissar33188 @IncinX @spartanx169x @jako998  Sure. File it under "firewater sports".


But seriously? I wouldn't call them hardcore "gamers," but a game is a game. Thumbsticks not required.

IncinX
IncinX

@spartanx169x @Komissar33188 @jako998  Gaming on mobile devices is still gaming.  They may not require the dexterity that the PC and consoles demand but it is still gaming.  Don't be so pretentious.

PumpkinBoogie
PumpkinBoogie

@Komissar33188 @Hurvl @jako998  Ha, that's generally the reception I get at for well over the past several years of being a GS member, lol. It's so funny to correct guys that assume I'm a dude, at times. Matter of fact, I'm sure there's still ppl on there that assume I am still a male gamer if they haven't known me long enough on here. 


I don't have the time to game as much as used to, but until the death of me I will always stand tall as the few, the proud, real female gamer crowd! lol 


It is funny to always see the comments sections though when surveys like these come out; as it really gives a genuine look and understanding of how small-minded some 'boys' still are about the true existence of honest female gamers.