The Entertainment Software Association (ESA) has released its annual report into the US games sector, which for the first time includes qualitative insights into the positive impact of games across all demographics, including race, gender, ethnicity and age. This year’s report also marks the first time that children aged 5-17 are included in the quantitative data.

The 2024 Essential Facts About the U.S. Video Game Industry report shows that 61% of Americans aged 5-90 play video games, meaning approximately 190.6 million people play games at least one hour each week in the United States.

The average player is 36 years-old, and the average adult player has been playing for 17 years. Other highlights of the report include:

Video game players reflect the diversity of American society

  • The gender split of male and female players remains at about half-and-half – 53% of video game players identify as male, 46% identify as female and approximately 1% selected non-binary or preferred not to identify for the survey.
  • Of American adults who play video games, 75% are White, 19% are Hispanic, 12% are Black, 4% are Asian/Pacific Islander and 3% are Native American.

Video games are widely viewed as contributing to social and emotional wellbeing across all age groups

  • A large majority of US adults (79%) agree that video games bring people joy, provide mental stimulation (77%) and stress relief (76%).
  • Most players (77%) believe video games provide mental stimulation, with Boomers and the Silent Generation most likely to agree with this sentiment (92%) vs. Gen Z (84%).
  • Among adults, using video games to relax (68% of players) and to have fun (67% of players) are the top motivators to play.
  • Nearly three-quarters of American adults agree video games can help improve cognitive skills (73%) and provide accessible experiences for players with different abilities (74%).
  • US adults also agree that video games can teach problem-solving (73%), teamwork and collaboration (64%), adaptability (59%), conflict resolution (47%) and communication (51%) skills.

Generation Alpha (Gen Alpha) and Generation Z (Gen Z) are emerging as enthusiastic player cohorts and enjoy gameplay in a wide variety of ways.

  • Gen Alpha (age 5-10) is the generation with the highest percentage of video game players – 79% of Gen Alpha plays weekly, compared to 56% of adults 18 and older.
  • The most popular game genres played by Gen Alpha are arcade (64%), action (60%) and puzzle (56%).
  • Gen Alpha and Gen Z are the biggest users of consoles (58%) and PCs (54%) to play video games.

Video games bring Americans together and help develop and maintain connections with friends and family

  • 72% of American parents play video games and 83% of them play video games with their children. Parents cite quality family time and shared enjoyment as the top reasons to play together.
  • Across all ages, 55% of players play with others on a weekly basis.
  • When it comes to staying connected, adult players agree that video games introduce people to new friends/relationships (73%), help make lasting memories (53%) and have allowed them to meet a good friend, spouse or significant other (39%).

Women in Games CEO Marie-Claire Isaaman said: “This report demonstrates that people across all demographics are today enjoying video games, and see them as a positive pastime.

“But, of course, I’d like to home in on the gender split of who is playing games. As in many parts of the world, half of the players are women or girls. Yet, of those who actually create the games, just 24% are women. Those women and girls who are playing games online are also subject to awful abuse and harassment. And, at the same time, representation of women within the games themselves is shocking.

“The industry needs to acknowledge these figures and statements – and do better!”

You can read more findings from the ESA report here –

Image by StockSnap from Pixabay