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ESA Dispenses The Facts About Video Games & Gamers

by Matthew Kato on Apr 14, 2015 at 05:32 AM

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The Entertainment Software Association (ESA) has released its 2015 Essential Facts report covering myriad facets of our favorite pastime in the U.S.

The research is based on a targeted survey by Ipsos MediaCT of more than 4,000 households, surveying heads of households and "the most frequent gamers" at that household.

The results aren't truly surprising, showing an overall industry and medium that is growing and expanding in definition and size. 

The Basics

  • 155 million Americans play video games, and consumers spent $22.41 billion on content, hardware, and accessories in 2014 according to the NPD.
  • Digital sales of content such as full games, DLC, subscriptions, mobile apps, and more is increasing. In 2013, total digital-format sales (vs. physical format) represented 47 percent of sales according to NPD. In 2014 that went up to 52 percent.
  • 51 percent of households own a dedicated game console, with 42 percent playing games more than 3 hours a week.

Top Games


  • Players surveyed are 56 percent male and 44 percent female, with the most frequent female player averaging 43 years of age, and the male players 35.
  • 18-35 year olds are the highest age block at 30 percent, with those 50+ making the next largest segment at 27 percent.


  • The top three genres the most frequent gamers play according to the research are: Social Games (31 percent), Action (30 percent), and Puzzle/Board/Card Game/Game Shows (30 percent).
  • The top three best-selling console "super genres" in 2014 according to the NPD by units sold are: Action (28.2 percent), Shooter (21.7 percent), and Sports (13.3 percent).
  • The top three best-selling PC "super genres" in 2014 according to the NPD by units sold are: Strategy (37.7 percent), Casual (24.8 percent), and Role-Playing (20.2 percent).
  • The most frequent gamers spend an average of 6.5 hours per week playing with others online, and 5 hours per week playing with others in person.
  • Of the gamers who use their dedicated game consoles for other entertainment media, 54 percent use them to watch movies as opposed to 33 percent who use them to watch TV shows.
  • The Top platforms used for gaming by the most frequent gamer are: PC (62 percent), Dedicated Game Console (56 percent), Smartphone (35 percent), Wireless Device (31 percent), and Handheld (21 percent).

[Source: The ESA]


Our Take
One of the things that the research does not define is what exactly constitutes a game. While it does point out "social games," with so many different types of game experiences available these days, from apps and flash titles to big-budget console blockbusters, the definition of a video game is as diverse as ever. This expansion influences some of the info above.