Before firmly cementing itself in the mainstream, there was a time when the term “gaming” was associated with lonely nerds sitting in front of a TV in the dark. Gaming was seen as a pastime for the awkward and stunted, or as an electronic babysitter for an unruly child. But gaming has grown from this negative stigma, with triple A games regularly selling millions of units and broadcasts of video games being played making their way to sports networks such as ESPN. Gaming has evolved from a negative hobby to a full-blown phenomenon.
Gaming has become such a staple that a recent study conducted by the Entertainment Software Association revealed that a whopping 50% of the U.S. population plays video games. The study, entitled “2015 Essential Facts About the Computer and Video Game Industry,” is the culmination of thorough research by the ESA into America’s gaming habits. In addition to polling the population on its gaming habits, the report delves into gender in gaming, the typical age of gamers, and who is playing what.
The study found that 155 million Americans play video games, with 4 out of 5 U.S. households possessing a device used to play video games. Furthermore, 51% of the 155 million Americans that play games own a dedicated game console. While this percentage is certainly high, it illustrates that more and more gamers are turning to PC for gaming, with 62% of gaming Americans relying upon their PC to game. Time spent gaming erred toward not playing too long, with only 42% of gaming Americans devoting over 3 hours a day to playing video games.
Mobile games were also found to be on the rise, with 31% of Americans reporting regularly using their phones to game. Gamers who use their phones to game primarily play social games (39%), with action games (31%) clocking in right behind it.
The study also found that the average age of the American gamer is 35, with 30% of gamers being between 18-35. Gaming remains popular with children, with the study finding that 26% of kids under 18 played video games regularly. In a positive finding, the ESA revealed that female gaming is on the rise, with 44% of American gamers being female, and 33% of women under 18 reporting gaming regularly. While men still have the majority (56%), this increase is an optimistic sign of gaming becoming more female friendly.
Gaming is a part of our culture. Whether it’s Minecraft, Madden, or Call of Duty, everyone is turning to video games as a way to expand their horizons, connect with friends, and unwind. Michael D. Gallagher, president and CEO of the ESA, anticipates that gaming will only continue on an upward trajectory, and it’s hard to argue with these numbers.