Who is the average gamer?

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Frank Underwood plays Killzone

We joke around a lot on this site about console gamers compared to the PC master race, as well as calling everyone old and loveless. However, the stats are out and the average gamer might not be quite as you imagined.

The Entertainment Software Association (ESA) has released their 2014 sales, demographic and usage data (that actually reflects the information from 2013, of course). It gives all sorts of information about gamers, although the data is from the US of A and may not be the same in different regions and countries. Still, it makes me happy to see the proportions of people playing games – makes sense why it’s such a huge industry.

Who’s Playing Games

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According to the data, 59% of Americans play video games. The average US household has at least one dedicated game console, PC or smartphone and two gamers in said household. Of those houses that have a gaming console, 51% own an average of two; 68% of American gamers play games on a console. The average gamer is 31 years old as age distribution is fairly even: 29% are under 18, 32% are between 18 and 35 and 39% of gamers are over the age of 35. Within that, 52% of gamers are male, and the number of female gamers aged 50 and over increased by 32% since last year. As we already learned last year, women age 18 or over are a significantly greater portion of the game playing population than boys 18 or younger – the ladies are 36% while the boys are 17%.

I’m not too surprised by this. We knew that female gamers were a growing population. With the average gamer having played video games for 14 years, it also makes sense that the population of gamers is getting older. Men and women may not always be drawn to the same games, but they are both getting entertainment in this medium.

How We Play

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Playing games has also changed the way we consume other media. Gamers who are playing more video games than they did three years ago, are spending less time watching TV (48%), going to the movies (47%) and watching movies at home (47%). That said, 50% of gamers who own console use them to watch movies, with 26% using it to watch TV shows.

Top selling Video Game genres are Action (31.9%) Shooters (20%) and Sports (12.7%); RPGs (7%), Adventure (6.9%) and Strategy (3.4%) pale in comparison. Of course, things look very different if we just look at the Computer game genres: here, 38.4% are Strategy games and 28.3% are Casual. Wait, does that make the PC master race… “filthy casuals”?

What I find particularly striking is how we spend our money. The total consumer spend on the games industry in 2013 was $21.53 billion, of which almost 75% was on content. Even with the launch of new generation consoles (and their impressive sales numbers), just less than 20% of the total spending was on hardware. In actual fact, as much as we might debate about consoles and PCs, the reality is that most of us focus on the games themselves, and that’s where most of our money goes, too.

I guess we knew it all along – it’s all about the games, regardless of genre, platform, gender or age.

Last Updated: April 25, 2014

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