Games People Play

Many gamers will grow old with a joystick in their hands, as an Interactive Digital Software Association (IDSA) survey finds that six out of ten of today’s computer and video game players expect to still be playing games ten years from now.

The data, gleaned from a survey of more than 1,500 U.S. game-playing households, shows that 56 percent of the most frequent computer and video game players have been playing games for six or more years. Furthermore, 60 percent expect to be playing games as much or more ten years from now as they do today.

“There’s no doubt that video games are deeply embedded in our society,” said Doug Lowenstein, president of the IDSA and the owner of the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3). “It’s clear that the industry’s surging growth is no passing fancy and that the millions of Americans who played video games yesterday play them today, and will still be playing them tomorrow.”

Lowenstein cites the emergence of two generations of Americans between the ages of 6-35 for whom interactive entertainment “is as natural and basic as watching TV or listening to the radio were for previous generations” for the continued growth of the $6.35 billion game industry.

Other findings include:

  • People who play games do so because computer and video games: are fun (88 percent); are challenging (71 percent); can be played with friends and family (42 percent); offer a lot of entertainment for the price (36 percent); and offer a way for players to keep up with the latest technology (19 percent).
  • 37 percent of Americans who own consoles or computers report that they also play games on mobile devices like handheld systems, PDAs, and cell phones.
  • 31 percent say they play games online, up from 24 percent last year and 18 percent in 1999.
  • Console game players say that their favorite games are: driving/racing games (39 percent); action games (38 percent); sports games (38 percent); and role-play/adventure games (31 percent).
  • Computer game players say their favorites are: puzzle/board/card games (35 percent); action games (28 percent); sports games (23 percent); and simulations (23 percent).
  • Consoles game players report that they own an average of 14 games, while computer gamers report that they own about 13 titles.
  • 62 percent of computer game players are male, while 34 percent are under 18 years old; 26 percent are 18 to 35; and 40 percent are over 36.
  • Almost three-quarters (72 percent) of console game players are male, while 45 percent are under 18; 36 percent are 18 to 35; and 19 percent are over 36.
  • 62 percent of people who have been playing computer and video games for less than a year are women.
  • Almost all (96 percent) of those who purchase console games are over the age of 18, and 90 percent of computer game buyers are over 18. 46 percent of console game buyers and 55 percent of computer game buyers are women.
  • 86 percent of game players under the age of 18 say they get their parents permission before buying games and that their parents are usually present when they make a game purchase (91 percent).

Apparently Europe has its share of gamers too. NetValue has found that in March 2002 more than 3.5 million unique visitors, equating to more than 22 percent of the UK’s online population, visited an online games site. This shows an increase of one million online games users from the same time last year.

The study, which covered the UK, France, Germany, Spain, Italy, Sweden, Norway and Denmark, also revealed that the British and Spanish play more games online than other people in Europe.

In Spain, almost one-quarter (24.3 percent) of the online population accessed games sites. Following Spain: the UK (22.4 percent); France (19.7 percent); Denmark (19.6 percent); Germany (16.4 percent); Norway (15.7 percent); Sweden (15 percent); and Italy (10.1 percent).

NetValue’s demographic analysis of games site visitors showed that more than 65 percent of visitors to games sites were men, compared with 57 percent for the Internet as a whole. More than 30 percent of visitors were aged between 15 and 24, and nearly 33 percent were students. Men, aged 15 to 24, were nearly twice as likely to visit online gaming sites as the average Internet user.

NetValue also found that interactive gaming had not taken off yet in the UK. The UK has one of the lowest usage figures for interactive gaming in Europe, with only 1.8 percent in March 2002. In Spain 9.3 percent of the entire online population participated in interactive gaming.

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