ESA study finds parents playing games

Gaming industry trade group says 35 percent of those polled can be considered "gamer parents."

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Though it sometimes feels like gaming in the US is a hobby by and for young, white, single males, the industry trade group Entertainment Software Association is doing its best to present research that suggests the contrary. Today the group released a summary of its latest such research, a look into the prevalence of American parents who game.

"This first-ever study of 'gamer parents' dramatizes the increasing and positive role that video games play in American family entertainment," ESA president Douglas Lowenstein said in a statement. "The data provide further evidence dispelling the myth that game playing is dominated by teens and single 20-somethings."

Out of 501 parents with children between the ages of 2 and 17, the ESA found that 35 percent of those polled played computer or video games beyond desktop card games or children's titles. Of that sample, 80 percent said they played games with their children, and 66 percent said playing games has brought their families closer together.

In addition to portraying gamers in a more diverse light, the study also touched on another of the ESA's main agendas: fighting game regulation. According to the research, 73 percent of gamer parents also vote regularly, with 36 percent of those going Democrat, and 35 percent skewing Republican. Of the parents who did vote, whether they gamed or not, 85 percent said that parents were most responsible for keeping inappropriate games out of the hands of minors, while 60 percent said it wasn't the government's role to do so through the regulation of game sales.

And just in case the ESA's message wasn't clear enough, Lowenstein spelled it out for politicians. "This research suggests that proposals to regulate video games may backfire with American voters who, unlike some elected officials, appear to fully understand that they should control the entertainment that comes into their homes," he said.

The original survey was conducted for the ESA in November 2005 by Peter D. Hart Research Associates, Inc.

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