ESA research shows 68% of Americans play games

By Stephany Nunneley
10 June 2009 14:48 GMT


The ESA handed out its annual handbook of Essential Facts About the Computer and Video Game Industry at E3 this year.

It’s a nice little book that details the demographics, facts, figures, and what customers purchased in 2008.

Here are just some of the numbers. Parenting and content data is posted after the break courtesy of GamePolitics.

Who Plays:

  • 68  percent of Americans play computer or video games
  • The average game player age is 35 (again, how is this defined?)
  • 25 percent of game players are under 18
  • 25 percent of game players are over 50
  • 60 percent are male, 40% female
  • on average, adult gamers have been playing for 12 years
  • 42  percent of U.S. homes have a game console

Who Buys:

  • Average age of most frequent purchaser is 39
  • 52  percent of purchasers are male, 48 percent  female
  • 92 percent of time a parent is present during purchase
  • 83 percent of time kids receive parental permission before purchasing
  • 43 percent of Americans have purchased or plan to buy one or more games in 2009


  • 94 percent of parents report monitoring their kids’ games “always or sometimes”
  • 77  percent of parents believe parental control features in consoles are useful (although the more relevant number might be how many parents are aware of such controls and use them)
  • 79 percent of parents impose time limits on gaming (that’s a higher percentage than TV viewing, movie viewing and Internet usage)
  • 78 percent of parents game with kids because it’s a good opportunity to socialize with their child
  • 63  percent of parents game in order to monitor content


  • 57 percent of games sold in 2008 were rated E or E10+
  • 16 percent were rated M (17 and older)
  • Among Top 20 best-selling console games of 2008, 6 were rated M (GTA IV 360, GTA IV PS3, CoD WaW, GoW2, CoD4 MW, Fable II)
  • Among Top 20 best-selling PC games of 2008, 5 were rated M (Age of Conan, CoD4 MW, Fallout 3, CoD WaW, Crysis)
  • 37 percent of Americans play on wireless devices such as mobile phones and PDAs

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