The ESA released a study in April 2014 called : 2014 Essential Facts About the Computer and Video Game Industry. This report went into details of the current demographics of the video game industry. They hired the company Ipsos MediaCT, a company dedicated to helping companies understand how to reach their target markets better in the digital age, to conduct the survey and collect the data. The results revealed a video game world that was very different than what many believed it was.
Let’s start with simple questions: who is the typical gamer? Male or female? Young or old? How long have they been playing?
The answers aren’t so simple.
59% of Americans play video games!
The average gamer is 31 years old!
The average age of people who purchase games is 35 years old!
52% of gamers are male. 48% are female!
The average gamer has been playing for 14 years
29% of gamers are 18 years old and younger. 32% are between 18 – 35 years old. 39% are 36+ years old.
50% of game purchasers are male! 50% of game purchasers are female!
Just look at the data and try to draw some sort of conclusion. It’s almost impossible to. The gender split is almost equal between males and females. Even the age split is nearly equally split, though it is slightly skewed towards the older population (aka, slightly more older people play video games than younger). Heck, more than half of Americans play video games! The very idea of an average gamer is not a tenable one.
It does beg the question why is the term “gamer” is still gendered male. If you don’t believe me, type in “video gamer” into Bing or Google and see the picture that comes up. You’ll see that it tends to be male (though some females show up as well) who are wearing glasses and tend to look sorta nerdy. The age of the gamer seems to be early 20s and really, really white. Sadly, race wasn’t one of the pieces of data included with the survey. Shame too. It could have really challenged the idea of a gamer.
This does not mean the study should be accepted at face value. Surely, there are questions that can be raised about this. For example, is it reasonable to equate casual gamers with hardcore gamers? The study seems to. Or, if someone plays Candy Crush once within the past three months and no other games, would they considered to be a gamer? The survey seems to imply that it is possible.
No matter what, this data clearly indicates a large percentage of the gaming community is female. It also shows that people enjoy playing video games, regardless of how young or old they are. It’s amazing how the reality of the gaming community, and gamers in general, flies in the face of the stereotype of gamers.