You like to play video games?
You’re in good company, according to the 2022 Video Game Industry Essential Facts report, just released, which says that roughly two-thirds of Americans, more than 215 million people, play games regularly.
While this may not be surprising to many, three-quarters of gamers are over the age of 18, contradicting the common stereotype of a medium dominated by kids, tweens, and teens.
In fact, the average age of a video game player today is 33, according to the report commissioned by the Entertainment Software Association (ESA), the Washington, DC-based organization that acts as the voice and advocate for video games. US video game industry.
“The fact that we see more people over 45 playing than under 18 just speaks to the growth and adoption of the game and how people, even later in life, continue to gravitate towards gaming,” says Stanley Pierre. -Louis, President and CEO of ESA, in a telephone interview with USA TODAY. “We find every gaming demographic, whether it’s on PC, console or mobile, and there’s something for everyone.”
In other words, whether you’re a daily Wordle player or killing enemies in a fantasy RPG like Elden Ring, a player is a player.
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Find players on their phones and consoles
The most popular gaming platform? The smartphone, according to 70% of those surveyed in this study as the “preferred” device for gaming, followed by a game console (52%), personal computer (43%), tablet/iPad (26%) and virtual reality headset (7%). About 60% of those surveyed say they like to play games on multiple devices.
Puzzles happen to be the most popular
At 65%, puzzle games were the most popular genre.
More gamers over the age of 65 say they play to “use my brain” than any other age group (68%). For men, two-thirds also play for fun (67%) and to pass the time (66%), a similar number as women also play to pass the time (70%) and to rest and relax (66%).
“Just as interesting, perhaps, is the fact that 48% of gamers identify as female and 52% identify as male, and thus a nearly equal gender split,” adds Pierre-Louis, hinting at the popular misconception that gamers are mostly men.
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because we play
The 2022 Video Game Industry Essentials report is not just about who plays, but also why people play.
The most popular reasons are that video games bring joy (93%), provide mental stimulation (91%), and relieve stress (89%).
“One area that we were encouraged to look at is the area of mental health,” says Pierre-Louis. “Particularly with the isolation caused by the pandemic, people connected through games and enjoyed shared experiences.”
“In 2020, 65% of people said they play together, which jumped to 77% in 2021 and is now an incredible 83% who play together,” she adds. “Gaming has become a great way to meet people socially and connect with family and friends, as well as the global community.”
Additionally, families also see 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 offer connection and joy,” continues Pierre-Louis. “More generally, 97% of Americans agree that video games have positive benefits.”
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Diversity and inclusion
Pierre-Louis says he’s also happy to see much more inclusion in games, both among developers and players, compared to previous years: “What we’ve seen in recent years is the encouragement to create opportunities for people of underrepresented communities to add their voice to the gaming community, so now they’re seeing more games from different perspectives, sometimes along racial, gender, LGBTQ+, and physically challenged lines.”
(Pierre-Louis also cites the Xbox Adaptive Controller as a “wonderful tool” for those with gaming dexterity issues, literally “leveling the playing field.”)
E3 “will return in full force” in 2023
Normally hosted by the ESA every June in Los Angeles, Expo E3 2022 has been canceled preemptively during Omicron’s wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, but will be back in full force next year.
“We are excited to return in 2023 with both a digital and face-to-face 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 in person, see each other and talk. about what makes games great.”
At last year’s digital-only E3, diversity, fairness and inclusion were key themes, including the ESA’s announced $1 million partnership with Black Girls Code to help educate and support girls interested in technology and an interactive panel that discussed a Gerald A. Lawson endowment fund at the University of Southern California (USC), to support Black and Native American students pursuing undergraduate or graduate degrees in video game design and computer science.