Gamers: Who are they and what do they play?

The videogames industry has grown from a relatively small pastime to a multi-billion dollar entertainment industry to surpass Hollywood in only a short few decades. And as the reach of the medium has grown, the audience it courts has diversified. Today the Entertainment Software Association (ESA) published the findings of a survey carried out by Ipsos MediaCT. The survey sample is from “more than” 2,200 US households. The survey suggests that:

  • 51% of households have a dedicated games console
  • 68% of those game on home consoles
  • The average gamer is 31 years old
  • The average game purchaser is 35 years old
  • The male/female divide between gamers is 52%/48%
  • The male/female divide between game purchasers is an equal 50/50 split

The survey notes that the number of female gamers has increased in select age ranges, but doesn’t give a clear indication of the ratio of male : female ratio within the same age-range. Ascertaining this is difficult as no raw data is provided.

For example: “Women over the age of 18 or older represent a significantly greater portion of the game playing population (36%) than boys age 18 or younger (17%)”.  The apples and oranges approach to presenting the data makes makes direct comparison of figures difficult, but presents an overall picture of gender parity.

The study also had a lot to say about social games. Ipsos MediaCT’s findings state that:

  • Casual/Social games have increased in popularity by 55% from 2012 to 2013
  • Casual/Social games are the most played genre of online games (30%)
  • Casual/Social games are the most played genre of mobile games (46%)

Interestingly, and perhaps surprisingly to industry cynics, the FPS was not the top selling genre on home consoles (as tracked by the NPD), but it came close. The most prominent genres were:

  • Action – 39%
  • Shooter – 20%
  • Sports games – 12.7%
  • Role-Playing – 7%
  • Adventure – 6.9%
  • Family Entertainment – 5.5%
  • Racing – 4.6%
  • Fighting – 3.9%
  • Strategy – 3.4%
  • Casual – 2.3%

Take that, Jack Thompson.

The survey also suggests that the way gamers consume games has also changed over the years. In 2010 there was a 71%/29% split between physical and retail purchases – but now the trend has steadily shifted in favor of digital with a 47%/53% split in 2013.

The full report can be found here and it makes for very interesting reading. While history has shown that anti-gaming advocates are determined to ignore the facts and continue to blame the medium for society’s ills, we sincerely hope that this study will convince a few people of the benefits that gaming can bring, while dispelling some of the unpleasant falsehoods that have dogged the industry over the years. And yes, we’re looking at Jack Thompson and Fox News when we say that.

Shehzaan Abdulla

Shehzaan Abdulla

Shehzaan grew up playing SEGA consoles and has a soft spot for retro games seeing as he was playing the Master System his parents bought him when all his friends had Playstations (this was also around the same time he realized he was probably adopted).
Shehzaan Abdulla

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