The average gamer is a 35 year old, 13-year-long gaming veteran

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ESA age gender 2015

It’s that time of year again. The ESA (Entertainment Software Association) has released their essential facts about the computer and video game industry. While they focus on America, they give some helpful insight into the gaming industry in general. Plus, pretty infographics are easy to digest.

According to the facts, 51% of US households own a dedicated game console (which may or may not be used for Netflix as well) while 42% of Americans play video game regularly, defined by 3 hours or more per week. Additionally, the trend towards women playing more games continues with women aged 18 or older representing 33% of the gaming population. That stereotype of boys aged 18 or younger? They’re only 15% of the gaming population.

As for the spending power, the most frequent game purchaser is 37 years old while 39% of the most frequent gamers play social games. What are the top 3 types of video games that the most frequent gamers play most often? 31% social games, 30% action and 30% puzzle/board game/card game/game shows. I totally blame Hearthstone for that last stat. However, 56% of the most frequent games play with other people; 54% play multiplayer mode at least weekly. That’s a lot of COD.

Those who are playing more than they did three years ago have found that extra time by watching less TV, going to the movies or watching movies at home. Maybe they’re also switching to Twitch based on the rest of this pretty infographic.

Essential Facts 2015 Infographic

At least there’s been progress in parents’ awareness about the ESRB rating system and 91% of parents say that they control what their kids play. A similar 91% of parents are present when games are purchased or rented and require their children to get permission before buying or renting a game. I’m always glad when I hear about parents being responsible. Even better? 63% of parents say video games are a positive part of their child’s life. At last! So nice to hear that parents aren’t moaning about gaming and seeing it as a problem hobby. I suppose they can’t seeing as 59% of them play games with their kids at least weekly.

The total consumer spend on gaming in the US was $22.41 billion in 2014. $15.4 billion was on content with “only” $5.08 billion on hardware. Obviously, it really is all about the games. Those games are continuing the trend towards digital as well; for the first time, 2014 saw more digital sales than physical. Farewell brick and mortar retail.

I’m so glad the ESA does this sort of research. I think we all have preconceived notions of what the average gamer is like, and these always seem to turn everything on its head.

Last Updated: April 15, 2015

Zoe Hawkins

Wielding my lasso of truth, I am the combination of nerd passion and grammar nazi. I delve into all things awesome and geek-tastic. You can read more of my words over at www.borngeek.co.za, or just follow me on all the social networks to get the true range of my sarcasm and wit.

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