The Entertainment Software Association (ESA) has released its "2012 Essential Facts About the Computer and Video Game Industry" report, calling the industry "one of the strongest and most cutting-edge sectors in the American economy".
Released at the opening of E3 this week, the report states that 49% of all American households play games of some form, with the number of people using smartphones and wireless device for gaming on the rise. Smartphone gaming is reportedly up from 20% last year to 30% this year, while gaming on wireless devices has increased from 13% to 25%.
For households that own a game console, PC, smartphone, handheld system or wireless device, those some figures are even higher. Nearly 40% reported using their smartphone for gaming, while 26% stated that they used wireless devices for gaming purposes.
The report, which is based on survey data collected from more than "2,000 nationally representative households" during the spring of 2012, states that 49% of American households own a dedicated videogame console, with an average of two consoles per gaming household.
The report also claims that the average age of a gamer now sits at 30 years old, with 37% of all gamers over the age of 36.
The results speak highly of the influence of the ESRB rating system, with 98% of all parents surveyed stating the system is "very" or "somewhat" helpful in selecting games for their children. Further, 73% are said to believe that the optional parental controls contained within gaming consoles are useful. 66% of parents claimed that games were a means of providing positive mental stimulation for their children. 40% of parents stated that they played videogames with their children at least once a week.
33% of gamers said that they play social games and 62% play games with others in-person or online, with 15% choosing to pay to play online games. In comparison to other forms of media, 40% of gamers stated that gaming was the best value for money.
Finally, the report states that nearly $25 billion was spent on game content, hardware and accessories by consumers in 2011.