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Gaming’s Biggest Demographics are Changing – Here’s Why That Matters

Last week, video game trade association the Entertainment Software Association (ESA) released their annual U.S. video game industry report, 2020 Essential Facts About the Video Game Industry. You can check it out yourself using the link below!

Click here to access the ESA’s full report.

As usual, this year’s report is packed with insights about our industry – player demographics, profiles, stats, and more – that will surely prove useful for game developers like ourselves. But this information isn’t relevant to just industry players – in fact, as the video game industry continues to grow and evolve, it’s important that all of us stay informed of the latest data in order to better understand and participate as players in the gaming community. So today, we’ve highlighted some of the biggest data points from this year’s ESA report – check out the insights below, and let us know on Facebook or Twitter if you found any of these stats to be surprising! 

Gaming transcends age, gender, and background.

If your default assumption is that the “average” gamer is a young male, think again. According to the ESA’s report, women make up 41% of the 214.4 million total U.S. gamers – and the average age range of video game players is now somewhere between 35-44 years old. Even more interestingly, the report states that there exist approximately 46 million gamers in the U.S. with disabilities – a stat provided by nonprofit organization the AbleGamers Charity

Across the U.S., digital games are enjoyed by audiences of virtually all ages, genders, and backgrounds – though consumption habits vary by demographics, with some groups enjoying various platforms, game genres, and play styles more than others. As an educational game developer that creates software for players of all identities and ability levels, it’s paramount that we keep inclusive game design considerations in mind as we create our games – or else we risk alienating players who would otherwise wish to enjoy our games. 

Games are great for mental stimulation, relaxation, and connecting with others.

When asked if video games have made a positive impact on their lives, 80% of survey participants said that games offer a satisfying level of mental stimulation, while slightly less respondents (79%) claim that gaming serves as a form of stress relief and relaxation. Furthermore, 65% of players said that they play games with others either online or in-person – a stat which will likely continue to rise as lockdown and stay-at-home orders extend into the latter half of the year. 

With this data in mind, it’s crucial that game creators consider the many factors that draw folks into gaming – and position our games as best we can to meet these various needs. As an educational game studio, our team is well-versed in designing games for all sorts of desired outcomes – learning, relaxation, community-building, and more. And as our understanding of player demographics and desires continues to evolve over time, it’s our duty to stay apprised of why gamers choose to play our games – and adjust our design and development efforts accordingly.

Parents are using games to grow closer with their kids.

Evidence from the ESA shows that an increasing number of families are using video games as a bonding exercise – and amidst the backdrop of a global pandemic, this will likely continue to become an increasingly common occurrence. According to their report, more than half of parents (55%) indicated that they play games with their child at least once per week – with 65% indicating that they choose to play games as an opportunity to socialize and connect with their kids. 

Across the nation, gaming is having a positive effect on the lives of families – connecting parents with their children in a meaningful way, oftentimes helping to bridge generational gaps. In recent years, we’ve seen a wealth of high-quality, family-friendly games released – titles like Minecraft, Overcooked, and LEGO games – with many more currently in the works. As developers, it’s key that we remember that gaming is often a shared, family experience – working to include multiplayer and cooperative features into our games whenever possible to ensure they’re enjoyable not only just for young players, but for the whole family.

Get the inside scoop on the game-based learning industry with these related blogs:

How Gaming’s Biggest Trends are Impacting Game-Based Learning
Esports EDU: Competitive Gaming in the K-12 Classroom
Gaming for a Good Cause: 5 Charities You Should Support

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