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Graphics Not Among the Top Reasons People Buy Games, New Report Says

The ESA's new Essential Facts report sheds light on the top factors that influence buying behavior.

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A recent Nielsen study outlined why people buy video game consoles, saying graphics were a top driving factor for PlayStation 4, brand loyalty for Xbox One, and the fun factor for Wii U. But why do people buy games? The Entertainment Software Association has released its own study--the 2015 Essential Facts report--that offers an answer to that question and sheds light on other industry topics and trends.

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As you can see in the chart above, "Interesting Story/Premise" was the top factor that influenced purchasing decisions, according to The ESA's survey of more than 4,000 American households. Twenty-two percent said this was their top overall factor when deciding if they would buy a particular game.

Although the topic of resolution and frame rate is a much-discussed talking point, it's not one of the leading factors in overall purchasing behavior, according to the new study.

The next closest influencing factors behind Interesting Story/Premise were Price (15 percent), Word of Mouth (11 percent), Product is a Continuation of a Favorite Game Series (10 percent), Product is Familiar to Me from Past Experiences (8 percent), and Quality of the Graphics (7 percent).

GameSpot spoke with a representative for The ESA today and confirmed that this data represents games all up--including PC, console, and mobile.

The 2015 Essential Facts report also reveals plenty of interesting video game industry trends, some of which are listed out below. Be sure to read the full report online to see everything it has to offer. You can also see some additional data points through the images at the bottom of this post.

The ESA is an organization that represents the video game industry's interests on Capitol Hill and organizes E3 every summer. The group has some of gaming's biggest names among its ranks, including Microsoft, Sony, Electronic Arts, Take-Two, Nintendo, and Ubisoft.

It also recently made headlines for sparring with the Electronic Frontier Foundation over how video games should be preserved for the next generation of gamers.

Noteworthy Takeaways from the Essential Facts Report:

Note: these results include mobile games.

  • 155 million Americans play video games
  • The average gamer is 35 years old
  • 56 percent of gamers are male; 44 percent are female
  • Women age 18 or older represent a significantly greater portion of the game-playing population (33 percent) than boys age 18 or younger (15 percent)
  • On average, gamers have been playing for 13 years
  • 69 percent of parents check a game's ESRB rating before they make a purchase
  • 63 percent of parents say video games are a positive part of their child's life
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