214 million Americans play video games according to 2020 ESA study

214 million Americans play video games according to 2020 ESA study
I wonder how many millions will tune into E3... if and or when that happens.

ESA CEO credits COVID-19 for increased video game sales

According to the 2020 Essential Facts About the Video Game Industry report published by the Entertainment Software Association, the organization behind the E3 Electronics Expo, over 214 million Americans play video games on at least a semi-regular basis.

The report also claims that three-quarters of all US households have at least one person who plays video games – 64% of all adults in the United States, which equals a little over 163.3 million. This vast majority also translates to minors, with 70% of all children under 18 years of age playing video games regularly.

Despite video games being associated with younger demographics, at least in the eyes of the public and many gamers themselves, the average video game players are between 35 and 44 years old. This may come as a shock to some who believe video games are only relegated to nine-year-old’s screeching racist epithets in Fortnite and college kids hosting FIFA tourneys out of their dorms.

Many would argue that video games are a male-dominated space and that females simply don’t enjoy video games as much as men do. This could not be further from the truth. According to the report, 41% of all gamers are female. So, while it’s not quite half-and-half, the number is much higher than one might believe.

“But Jose,” some of you reading might decry clutching at your pearls, “I play X-Title on Y-console all the time, and I seldom encounter Z-demographic!” Well, that may be true, but that doesn’t they aren’t there. Object-permanence dictates that perception isn’t always reality.

Though many would be quick to object, “real gamers” (as far as the ESA is concerned) aren’t only those who play AAA-titles on PC or any of the Nintendo/Microsoft/Sony platforms. As per the report: Mobile (aka smartphone) players are gamers too. Among all adult video game players, 61% play some sort of game on their smartphones – ranging from Fortnite and PUBG all the way to Candy Crush and Clash of Clans.

On top of that, the ESA’s report also claims “casual games,” such as the latter two previously listed, are the most popular game genre, with 71% of all gamers of all ages enjoying them in one way or another. Although to be fair, the report does acknowledge that the older the demographic of players, the more “casual” the games they play.

And as to why we play video games? Well, according to the ESA, because we’re bored – 80% of players say video games provide substantial mental stimulation while almost the same amount say they provide relaxation and stress relief. With so many people stuck inside, near the end of their 15th or so binge of The Office, it isn’t hard to imagine why someone would be inclined to try gaming when they would otherwise seek different avenues of entertainment.

In the report’s foreword, president and CEO of the ESA Stanley Pierre-Louis recognized that the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has greatly attributed to a spike in the sale and distribution of video games.

So, while physical events like E3 and Gamescom suffer postponement and/or cancellation, the strict quarantine and social-distancing guidelines have contributed to a 34% and 63% increase in sales of video games and video game hardware, respectively – according to the NPD Research Group.

Even after the lifting of quarantine and a gradual return to somewhat-normalcy, enjoyment of video games and the sales thereof will have reached heights most likely unattainable without the nation-(and globe) wide shutting-in with nothing better to do.

You can download the ESA’s report in its entirety right here.

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Jose is a left-handed techno-mancer with an affinity for IPAs, big dogs, and black-and-white movies. Rebels are scum, Empire for life.
Gamer Since: 2004
Favorite Genre: RTS
Currently Playing: Wargame: Red Dragon, Battlefield V
Top 3 Favorite Games:Wargame: Red Dragon, Metro: Last Light, Battlefield 4

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