Do you like to play video games?
You’re in good company, according to the just-released 2022 Essential Facts about the Video Game Industry report, which states that about two-thirds of Americans — more than 215 million people — play games regularly.
While this may not come as a surprise to many, three quarters of the players are over the age of 18, which contradicts the common stereotype of a medium dominated by kids, tweens and young teens.
According to the report commissioned by the Entertainment Software Association (ESA), the Washington, DC-based organization that serves as the voice and advocate of the American video game, the average age of a video game player today is 33 years. industry.
“The fact that we see more people over the age of 45 playing than under 18 just speaks to the growth and adoption of gameplay and how people are still drawn to games even later in life,” said Stanley Pierre-Louis, president and CEO of the ESA, in a telephone interview with USA TODAY. “We’ve found all the demographics of games whether it’s on PC, console or mobile device and there’s something for everyone.”
In other words, whether you’re a daily Wordle player or defeat enemies in fantasy role-playing game like Elden Ring, a gamer is a gamer.
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Find gamers on their phones and consoles
The most popular gaming platform? The smartphone, according to 70% of respondents in this survey as the “preferred” device for playing, followed by a video game console (52%), personal computer (43%), tablet/iPad (26%), and virtual reality headset (7%). About 60% of respondents say they enjoy playing on multiple devices.
Puzzles turn out to be the most popular
At 65%, puzzle games were the most popular genre.
More people over 65 say they play to “use my brain” than any other age group (68%). For men, two-thirds also play to have fun (67%) and pass time (66%), a similar number of women also play to kill time (70%) and relax and unwind (66%).
“Perhaps equally interesting is the fact that 48% of players identify as female and 52% identify as male and thus have almost an even gender distribution,” adds Pierre-Louis, citing the popular misconception that gamers are primarily male.
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Why do we play?
The 2022 Essential Facts about the Video Game Industry report is not just about who plays games, but also why people play.
The popular reasons are that video games bring joy (93%), mental stimulation (91%) and stress relief (89%).
“One area that we encouraged to see is in the field of mental health,” says Pierre-Louis. “Especially with the isolation caused by the pandemic, people connected through games and enjoyed shared experiences.”
“In 2020, 65% of people said they played together, that rose to 77% in 2021 and now it’s a whopping 83% playing together,” he adds. “Games have become a great way to socialize with people and connect with family and friends and the global community.”
In addition, families are also seeing the benefits of playing video games together, the ESA found, with 77% of parents regularly playing video games with their children.
“Our research confirms that video games contribute to positive mental well-being, help develop important life skills and provide connection and fun,” continues Pierre-Louis. “More broadly, 97% of Americans agree that video games have positive benefits.”
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Pierre-Louis says he is also happy to see much more inclusiveness in games – both among game developers and gamers – compared to the past few years: “What we’ve seen in recent years is the encouragement to create opportunities for people from the underrepresented communities to add their voice to the gameplay community and so now you see more games from different perspectives, sometimes along racial lines, gender lines, of the LGTBQ+ community and with people with physical disabilities.”
(Pierre-Louis also calls the Xbox Adaptive Controller a “wonderful tool” for those with dexterity challenges to enjoy games, which “levels the playing field,” quite literally.)
E3 will be ‘back to full force’ in 2023
The 2022 E3 Expo, usually hosted by ESA in Los Angeles in June, was preemptively canceled during the Omicron wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, but will be back in full effect next year.
“We are excited to come back in 2023 with both a digital and in-person event,” confirms Pierre-Louis. “As much as we love these digital events and as much as they reach people and we want that global reach, we also know that there is a very strong desire for people to come together – to be able to connect personally and see each other and talking about what makes games so great.”
At last year’s digital E3, diversity, equality and inclusion were key themes, including the ESA’s announced $1 million partnership with Black Girls Code to educate and support girls interested in technology, and an interactive panel featuring a Gerald A. Lawson Endowment Fund. at the University of Southern California (USC), to support black and Indigenous students seeking bachelor’s or master’s degrees in video game design and computer science.