Report: Gaming Increase Here To Stay
Stay-at-home orders during the COVID pandemic appear to have altered consumer behavior for years to come when it comes to video gaming.
As part of the annual report released Tuesday by the trade group Entertainment Software Association (ESA), it estimates that there are now a total 226.6 million video game players in the U.S. of all ages, up 6% on last year and 30% on 2019. That means around 69% of the population engages in video games.
Around 55% of U.S. video gamers say they’ve played more during the pandemic, and 90% say they will likely to continue playing even after social distancing is no longer required.
In addition, the study indicates not only is the gaming audience growing larger, it’s also growing more diverse. The male/female split is now 55%/45% (vs. 59%/41% last year), and the adults dominate with 80% of players aged over 18.
The biggest demographic by far are the millennials with 38% of all gamers aged 18-34, easily the single biggest category next to under 18s (20%), 35-44s (14%), 45-54s (12%), 55-64s (9%) and over 65s (7%). The average age of a gamer in 2021 is 31.
77% of gamers play with others online or in-person at least weekly (up from 65% last year), much of that being families with 74% of parents playing games with their children at least weekly (up from 55% last year).
During the pandemic, 55% of respondents said they turned to video games as a welcome source of stress relief with 48% using them as a “distraction”. Gen Z consumers in the U.S. rank games as their No. 1 entertainment activity with film and TV down in fifth place.
The study also revealed some ESRB rating data with 49% receiving an (Everyone) rating, 16% an E10+ (Everyone 10+) rating, 21% a T (Teen) rating and 14% an M (Mature) rating.