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68% of U.S. Households Play Computer or Video Games

Three Percent Increase in Gamer Households Illustrates the Growing Use of Entertainment Software Across All Demographics

Sixty-eight percent of American households play computer or video games, according to new research from the Entertainment Software Association (ESA), which represents U.S. computer and video game publishers. The number of households playing games increased three percent over 2008, illustrating the expanding use of entertainment software across all demographics. The ESA released these findings as part of its Essential Facts About the Computer and Video Game Industry 2009 report during the E3 Expo, the computer and video game industry’s annual trade show.

“This is the new golden age of entertainment software. Our products are now being enjoyed by over two-thirds of Americans,” said Michael D. Gallagher, CEO of the ESA. “As the findings of the 2009 Essential Facts illustrate, more and more Americans across all demographics are now embracing the interactive entertainment experience that computer and video games provide.”

Other findings of the survey include:

  • Forty-two percent of American homes have a video game console;
  • Adult gamers have been playing for 12 years on average, a decrease from 2008, an indication that more Americans are picking up video game controllers for the first time;
  • The average game player is 35 years old;
  • Seventy-seven percent of parents believe that the parental controls available in all recent video game consoles are useful;
  • Almost half of all games sold (45 percent) are rated ‘E’ for Everyone by the Entertainment Software Rating Board; and,
  • Forty-three percent of online game players are female.

In addition, the report includes statistics about the high level of parental involvement in video game play. Sixty-three percent of parents who have children under 18 with a gaming console in the home believe games are a positive part of their children’s lives. Those parents are present when games are purchased or rented 92 percent of the time and report always or sometimes monitoring the games their children play 91 percent of the time.

The research for Essential Facts About the Computer and Video Game Industry 2009 was conducted by Ipsos MediaCT and is the most in-depth and targeted survey of its kind, gathering data from almost 1,200 nationally representative households that have been identified as owning either or both a video game console or a personal computer used to run entertainment software.

The Entertainment Software Association is the U.S. association dedicated to serving the business and public affairs needs of companies publishing interactive games for video game consoles, handheld devices, personal computers, and the Internet. The ESA offers services to interactive entertainment software publishers including a global anti-piracy program, owning the E3 Expo, business and consumer research, federal and state government relations, First Amendment and intellectual property protection efforts.

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