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.

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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.

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