E3 2011: ESA Release Their Annual 'Essential Facts' Study On Gamers

By Paul Hunter

The Entertainment Software Association continued their E3 tradition of releasing a new “Essential Facts” gamer demographic study highlighting key trends within the industry. An important takeaway from this year’s study is the increasingly diverse consumer base that is consuming video game content across a wide range of platforms.

The report had some surprising findings such as:

• The average gamer is 37 years old and has been playing video games games for 12 years

• 29% of gamers are 50+ years old

• The average age of the most frequent game purchaser is 41

• Females now comprise 42% of the total gamer population

• 33% of gamers say that playing video games is their favourite entertainment activity

• Top reasons why gamers purchase games is for an interesting storyline, the quality of game graphics, a sequel to their favourite game, and word of mouth

• Puzzle/Boardgame/Game Show/Trivia/Card Games represent the most popular online games

• 55% of gamers play games on their mobile or handheld devices

• Parents are present during the purchasing or renting of video games 91% of the time

• 68% of parents feel that video games provide mental stimulation or education, 57% of parents believe video games helps the family spend time together, and 54% of parents believe video games helps to connect with friends

• 45% of parents play computer and video games with their children at least weekly (up from 36% last year)

• Parents say they play video games with their kids because: they are asked to (85%), it’s fun for the entire family (84%), it’s a good opportunity to socialize with their kids (81%), and it’s a good opportunity to monitor video game content (57%)

• The best selling video game genre is Action (21.7% of total sales), followed by sports (16.3%), shooter (15.9%), and family entertainment (9.1%)

• 44% of games sold last year were rated E for everyone, 24% of games sales were rated M for mature

• The top five best selling video games of 2010 were Call of Duty: Black Ops, Madden NFL 11, Halo: Reach, New Super Mario Bros. Wii, and Red Dead Redemption

• Total consumer spending on video games content, hardware and accessories in 2010 was $25.1 billion

• 24% of video game purchases are now digital downloads

“Our industry’s innovative titles are reaching new consumers in broader, deeper and more-engaging ways,” said Michael D. Gallagher, president and CEO of the ESA. “Technological advancements and terrific entertainment experiences in our industry make it possible for people of all ages to enjoy games at home or on the go, and the creativity of our developers and publishers leads to an ever-expanding variety of video games to choose from in both digital and physical formats.”

To see the full study, entitled 2011 Essential Facts About the Computer and Video Game Industry, visit the ESA website here.