65% of American Adults Play Video Games, Says New ESA Study

A new study by the Electronic Software Association reveals that 65 percent of American adults, over 164 million people, play video games.

Jesse Pinkman of Breaking Bad playing video games

A new study reveals that 65 percent of adult Americans play video games. The gaming industry is constantly evolving and growing, including the latest technology to deliver games on par with movies and TV. Computers and game consoles have become faster and more powerful, while developers have come up with new techniques to use technology to bring games to life in ways never before thought possible, making the appeal of the industry much wider than it has been in the past.

Motion capture has allowed developers to create games with realistic characters, and the engines that power games have become bigger and better with each passing decade. Video gaming is even seeing virtual reality become more reality and less fiction, thanks to that improving technology: PlayStation VR alone has sold over 3 million units, and will remain a key element of the upcoming PS5. Faster internet speeds have also improved gaming, allowing players to download titles rather than buy them in physical stores. Digital game downloads have become such a trend that analysts believe that games will become 100 percent digital by the year 2022.

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A new study by the Entertainment Software Association (ESA) reveals just how popular video games are. The research shows that 65 percent of adult Americans play video games: that's more than 164 million adults in the U.S. Three-quarters of all Americans also have at least one video game playing device in their household. Of the 93 percent of Americans that own a smartphone, about half use their mobile devices to play games. ESA acting president and CEO Stanley Pierre-Louis said:

This is the golden age of video games. They are the leading form of entertainment in American culture. They enhance our interconnected experiences and relationships with one another and redefine the intersection between humans and technology. Americans play video games to have fun, relieve stress, learn, and spend time with family. This innovative form of entertainment touches on every part of society and improves how we play, work, and live.

The study also revealed some interesting facts: gamers are more likely to pursue healthy lifestyles, debunking a long-held notion that gamers are unhealthy. A whopping 90 percent of parents are aware of the games their children are playing, while 74 percent of parents think that games are educational for their children. Over 80 percent of parents understand the games rating system. Also, almost half of gamers are women, at about 46 percent. That indicates a changing demographic that will likely be useful to developers and publishers in understanding who they are marketing their games to.

The video game industry took in a record-breaking $43.4 billion of revenue in 2018. Those sales included highly-anticipated titles, such as Red Dead Redemption 2, which broke sales records after its release. Although gaming is not without its controversies, especially considering the issue surrounding loot boxes and microtransactions, it has become a massive industry that nearly everyone is at least aware of, if not involved in. As it becomes more ubiquitous with daily life, we're likely to see even bigger shifts in gaming technology and reception.

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