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Here's how many people are playing games in America

The Entertainment Software Association exists to boost and fortify the game industry. Part of that job is publishing an annual reminder that video games are a big deal. In its yearly report, published today, the ESA offers up some stats to show how gaming cuts through modern demographics.

Here are 20 findings from "Essential Facts about the Computer and Video Game Industry, 2015," for which 4,000 American households were surveyed about their gaming habits and attitudes.

Headline Stats

  • 155 million Americans regularly play video games.
  • 42 percent of Americans play for at least three hours per week.
  • Four out of five American households contain a device used to play video games.


  • The average game player is 35 years old.
  • 26 percent of players are under 18 years old. 27 percent are over 50.
  • 56 percent of players are male. 44 percent are female.
  • The most frequent female game player is on average 43 years old and the average male game player is 35 years old.
  • Of the most frequent game purchasers, 41 percent are female and 59 percent are male.

Online Games

  • One in three of the most active game players pay to play online games.
  • The most popular genres among frequent players are social games, action and puzzles / card / trivia.
  • 39 percent of the most frequent gamers play social games.
  • 54 percent of gamers use a game console to stream movies.
  • Frequent players say they spend 6.5 hours per week playing with others online and five hours playing with others in person.
  • Of those frequent gamers who play with others, 15 percent play with their spouse or partner.

Parents and Kids

  • 84 percent of parents are aware of the ESRB rating system. 69 percent of parents regularly check ratings before buying games.
  • 90 percent of parents say their kids can only buy or rent games with their parental consent.
  • 79% of parents place time limits on video game playing.


  • U.S. consumers spent $22.41 billion on games in 2014.
  • Among traditional game sales, the top genres in 2014 were action (28.2 percent) shooters (21.7 percent) and sports (13.3 percent).
  • Digital sales account for 52 percent of sales against physical media's 48 percent. In 2010, digital's share was 29 percent.

"Video games are ingrained in our culture," said ESA president and CEO Michael Gallagher. "Driven by some of the most innovative minds in the tech sector, our industry's unprecedented leaps in software and hardware engages and inspires our diverse global audience. Our artists and creators continue to push the entertainment envelope, ensuring that our industry will maintain its upward trajectory for years to come."

You can get the whole report here.

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