The Entertainment Software Association releasing the results of its annual gamer demographic study is an important E3 tradition. With the entire industry gathered in Los Angeles, The ESA's "2011 Essential Facts About the Computer and Video Game Industry" revealed the following somewhat surprising facts:
- The average gamer is 37 years old, and has been playing games for 12 years. (Wow! I don't feel like such a grandpa now!)
- The average game buyer is 41 years old.
- In 2011, 29 percent of Americans over the age of 50 play video games, an increase from nine percent in 1999.
- 72 percent of American households play video games. (100 percent of my household plays games.)
- 42 percent of gamers are women.
- Adult women represent a greater portion of the game-playing population (37 percent) than boys age 17 or younger (13 percent).
- Seventy-six percent of all games sold in 2010 were rated "E" for Everyone, "T" for Teen, or "E10+" for Everyone 10+.
- In total, the video game industry generated around $5.9 billion in revenue in 2010.
- Forty-five percent of parents reported playing video games with their children on a weekly basis,
- nine out of ten parents saying they pay attention to the content of the games their children play
- 68 percent of parents believe that games provide mental stimulation or education value
- 57 percent believe games encourage their family to spend time together.
- 54 percent believe that games helps their children connect with friends.
- 65 percent of gamers play games with other gamers in person.
- 55 percent of gamers play games on their phones or handheld devices
- 86 percent know of the ESRB and 98 percent are confident in its accuracy and recommendations.
- Consumers spent $25.1 billion on game content, hardware and accessories in 2010.
Now that we have all this demographic data, I'm sure the tired stereotype of gamer as acne-pocked adolescent will end... actually, I'm sure it won't. Stereotypes die pretty hard, but still, eventually, gamers will be taken seriously and understood as the large demographic force they actually represent.