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ESA Study Shatters Gaming Stereotypes

Jonathan Lester
ESA, Survey

ESA Study Shatters Gaming Stereotypes

80% Of Gamers Are Adults, 42% Are Women

The Entertainment Software Association has released a new study to document the changing demographics of the gaming audience - and discovered that our hobby is more diverse and inclusive than ever before. According to their report, the gender split is nearing complete balance - and that the overwhelming majority of gamers are adults. Our industry is clearly changing for the better, and we have the full facts and figures below.

The ESA study, entitled 2011 Essential Facts About the Computer and Video Game Industry, makes fantastic reading and contains some fascinating representative data gleaned from American sales figures, software company reports, analytics firms and good old fashioned surveys. Here's a selection of some of the more interesting stats.

We all know that gaming isn't just for kids anymore - and has been so for years - but it's great to finally have some numbers to back it up. According to the report, 82% of gamers are aged 18 or over, and the average gaming age is now 37. What's more, 29% of gamers are apparently aged 50+. This is partly down to the first generation of gamers growing up (after all, it's a young medium), but is also due to the accessible nature of Nintendo's Wii and DS software lineup that revolutionised the notions of who games should be designed and marketed towards.

Gaming was once stereotypically seen as a male-dominated hobby, but 2011 has seen the ratio of female gamers rise to 42%. Suck it, gender stereotyping. More interestingly, women aged 18 or older represent a significantly greater portion of the game-playing population (37%) than boys aged 17 or younger (13%) - though we'd like to see this proportion represented on the Black Ops servers for the sake of our eardrums.

Finally, the report delivers a glowing appraisal of the ESRB rating system that American videogames are mandated to display. An overwhelming majority of parents put their trust in the ratings, and are apparently "investing" greater interest in the children's hobby. More families are playing games together than ever before (45% compared to 37% in 2007), which in our opinon, is absolutely the way forward. Games bring families together, and I wish that Rock Band and Wii Sports had been around when I was a lad.

You can read the full report here - and more importantly, whip it out every time someone tells you that gaming is "just for kids."

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