E3 Numbers Game: ESA Serves Up Data on Game Consumers

June 10, 2009 -

Each year at E3 the Entertainment Software Association distributes Essential Facts About the Computer and Video Game Industry, a small handbook of facts and figures detailing who its customers are and what they are buying.

It's always an interesting read although we're exactly not sure how they define some terms. What constitutes a "game player," for instance? Is it someone who simply plays Windows Solitaire? At any rate, here are some of the key findings from the ESA report:

Who Plays:

  • 68% of Americans play computer or video games
  • The average game player age is 35 (again, how is this defined?)
  • 25% of game players are under 18
  • 25% of game players are over 50
  • 60% are male, 40% female
  • on average, adult gamers have been playing for 12 years
  • 42% of U.S. homes have a game console

Who Buys: 

  • Average age of most frequent purchaser is 39
  • 52% of purchasers are male, 48% female
  • 92% of time a parent is present during purchase
  • 83% of time kids receive parental permission before purchasing
  • 43% of Americans have purchased or plan to buy one or more games in 2009

Parenting:

  • 94% of parents report monitoring their kids' games "always or sometimes"
  • 77% of parents believe parental control features in consoles are useful (although the more relevant number might be how many parents are aware of such controls and use them)
  • 79% of parents impose time limits on gaming (that's a higher percentage than TV viewing, movie viewing and Internet usage)
  • 78% of parents game with kids because it's a good opportunity to socialize with their child
  • 63% of parents game in order to monitor content

Content:

  • 57% of games sold in 2008 were rated E or E10+
  • 16% were rated M (17 and older)
  • Among Top 20 best-selling console games of 2008, 6 were rated M (GTA IV 360, GTA IV PS3, CoD WaW, GoW2, CoD4 MW, Fable II)
  • Among Top 20 best-selling PC games of 2008, 5 were rated M (Age of Conan, CoD4 MW, Fallout 3, CoD WaW, Crysis)
  • 37% of Americans play on wireless devices such as mobile phones and PDAs

Comments

Re: E3 Numbers Game: ESA Serves Up Data on Game Consumers

If 25% of gamers are under 18, why is a whopping 92% of game purchases involve parents present? Is it due to teenagers having more disposable time to play more games than adults? Maybe teenagers make more frequent visits to the stores to shop. Adults typically have better incomes than teenagers and thus a bigger outlay of money for purchasing is not a big problem for them.

GameSnooper

Re: E3 Numbers Game: ESA Serves Up Data on Game Consumers

>(although the more relevant number might be how many parents are aware of such controls and use them)

If any fewer than 100% are aware of, and know how to use, a power switch, I'm going to be very worried.

/b

Re: E3 Numbers Game: ESA Serves Up Data on Game Consumers

I always have issues about what constitutes a game player since there's contrasts between research studies demographic data and the ESA data.

Another issue is about parenting section: attitudes does not equate with behaviours. People might have responded in a social desirable manner, but don't act upon them. Take a look at how people try diets. Even if parents impose time limits on gaming, how they impose it or handle the problems associated with it (like handling a kid's temper tantrum as a result of enforcing a time limit) is another matter. But I am glad that parents are beginning to play with their kids, helps develop bonds and be more media savvy.

http://vgresearcher.wordpress.com/

Re: E3 Numbers Game: ESA Serves Up Data on Game Consumers

mikedo2007

The Average game player age is 35-Maybe this is defined because 35 years old are young people. They're not as old as a 40 or 50 year old person.

On average, adult gamers have been playing for 12 years-that's what most of us 20 years old and 30's year old gamers are going to be playing video game for probably this long maybe more then that.

42% of US homes have a game console-and rising

Average age of most frequent purchaser is 39-probably a gamer or a parent wants to make their kid happy.
 

92% of a time a parent is present during purchase-Good, now parent are smarter on which game to buy and what's not to buy.  Are parent monitoring the game kids download off of PSN Store, Xbox Live Arcade, and/or Wiiware.

83% of time kids recieve parental permission before purchasing-That's good and a very smart parenting.  What about for M-rated game?  Do they have anything for that also?

43% of Americans have purchased or plan to buy one or more games in 2009-I have bought couple of games, I'll probably buy more.

94% of parent report monitoring their kids' games "Always or sometimes"-Wow, now parents are really doing parenting when it comes to game.  Glad to see now parent are doing their responsibility.  For those who say "sometimes", work a little harder.

77% of parents believe parental control features in console are useful-It's about time they make use of this.  I remember reports that parents weren't aware of parental controls built into the console.  They could have done this from the beginning, READ THE FRICKIN GAME CONSOLE MANUAL, PARENTS!!!! 
 

78% of parents game with kids because it's a good opportunity to socialize with their child-See parents, the "Vidya" game are no longer "work of the devil".

63% of parents game in order to monitor content-I might be 21, but I think it's a good idea as a future parent to play the game ahead of your child to see if there's anything that might be too graphic or too scary for your children to be playing.  I don't mind letting my young child playing M-rated game, but you got to see which M-rated game is OK for your kid.  Don't give them Manhunt (that game was very disturbing and not something for kids to play with), Grand Theft Auto (unless they knows that carjacking and gang life are bad in real life), or Silent Hill (because it's too scary and kids may get nightmare and probably night terror if you expose that game to them).

57% of games sold in 2008 were rated E or E10+-The rise of casual gaming, this generation will be mostly casual game.  Hardcore gaming will go down a bit.

16% of game were rated M-That's weird, I look at the store and online and a lot of gaming website, it looks like we had more M-rated game then "16%"

Among top 20 best-selling console and PC game of 2008, 6 console and 5 PC games were rated M-No suprise there

37% of Americans play on wireless devices such as mobile phones and PDAs-How very useful of the Iphone when it comes to gaming.  I think that number will rise when it comes to gaming on wireless devices.

 

I'm very impressed with the statistics.  Now parents are on the roll when it comes to kids and video game.  That's how parenting work.

Re: E3 Numbers Game: ESA Serves Up Data on Game Consumers

57% of games sold in 2008 were rated E or E10+-The rise of casual gaming, this generation will be mostly casual game.  Hardcore gaming will go down a bit.

16% of game were rated M-That's weird, I look at the store and online and a lot of gaming website, it looks like we had more M-rated game then "16%"

Those numbers actually aren't as surprising as you think. According to the ESRB there were 1677 games rated last year. 59% of those were E and only 6% of those were M. That has been the trend for years now. Even before this console generation.

http://www.esrb.org/about/categories.jsp

If you look at the entire history of ESRB ratings you get another picture:

There have been an estimated 17035 games rated by the ESRB. 10617 are rated E (62.3%). 1299 are rated M (7.6%).

That is how it has always been. E rated games make up the majority and will always sell more units overall than M rated games.

E. Zachary Knight
Oklahoma City Chapter of the ECA
http://www.theeca.com/chapters_oklahoma

Re: E3 Numbers Game: ESA Serves Up Data on Game Consumers

mikedo2007

Oh, really.  Thanks, I didn't know that.  I thought there were more M-rated game then what the stats showed.  Well, maybe I should have paid more attention on Which game got more sales.  It was the casual game that got most of the sales, huh.  hm, That's quite intresting.   

Re: E3 Numbers Game: ESA Serves Up Data on Game Consumers

Parents buy the games 92% of the time. Of the 8% left, 83% of those sales are done with a parent's permission. After calculating it out 1.36% of the time kids are buying games without their parents' permission. One question to ask here would be, "what is the age make up of that 1.36% that buy games without parent's permission? Are the majority teenagers? How many kids under 12 fall into this group?"

After this point it is difficult to get a proper represenation of how many M rated games are actually successfully bought by kids if we are to base that off the percentage of M sales posted here and the numbers posted by the FTC.

Here it says that M rated games only made up 16% of all game sales. According to the FTC, kids could buy M rated games 20% of the time. how to really apply that is the question.

Any suggestions?

E. Zachary Knight
Oklahoma City Chapter of the ECA
http://www.theeca.com/chapters_oklahoma

Re: E3 Numbers Game: ESA Serves Up Data on Game Consumers

Here's my suggestion: How about we look at how often kids can buy R-Rated movies (some of which are nearly as bad as porn, in all honesty) from big box stores?  I guarantee it's a lot more than 20% of the time.

We're not going to stop people from buying what they want.  If they don't get it in a store, they'll get it from somebody on eBay.  If they get it in the store, they'll get it from some unscrupulous or unmotivated asshole, but lets face it; unless you enjoy being a salesman, you won't be very motivated working at a big box store.

My suggestion? Some goddamn work ethic, and fire people who won't enforce store policy.  That's what I'd do if it were my business, anyway.

Re: E3 Numbers Game: ESA Serves Up Data on Game Consumers

Last year's FTC report showed that underage kids bought R rated movies 47% of the time and Unrated movies 50% of the time: http://www.ftc.gov/opa/2008/05/secretshop.shtm

You are right on all other points as well.

Unfortunately the MPAA does not release as much data as the games industry.  Ihave never seen any kind of report like this ESA report from the MPAA. The MPAA does not have any public numbers on the ratings they assign each year. I attempted to get som at least for the last few years (2006-2008) and they would not give me those number unless they approved whay I wanted to use them for. I just told them to forget about it.

Their ratings search website is useless for getting any information aside for what raing a specific movie has. If you try to look at their listing of a certain rating it only shows a random 20 movies. Not the whole list like the ESRB does.

E. Zachary Knight
Oklahoma City Chapter of the ECA
http://www.theeca.com/chapters_oklahoma

Re: E3 Numbers Game: ESA Serves Up Data on Game Consumers

Easy. Just take 20% from 1.36%. Calculated to be 0.272%.

Then take 0.272% from 16% = 0.04352%

Though, this assumes that the kid that fails to get a M-rated game chooses to get a lower rated game instead, and stays at the same store instead going to another store.

The end result's the same, further making the politicians' attempts at unconstitutional legislation and the Metropolitian Moron of Miami's whining to be a big waste of time and money.

Geaux Saints, Geaux Tigers, Geaux Hornets, Jack Thompson can geaux chase a chupacabra.

Geaux Saints, Geaux Tigers, Geaux Pelicans. Even through the darkest days, this fire burns always.

Re: E3 Numbers Game: ESA Serves Up Data on Game Consumers

While that does sound good and make a lot of sense, it still comes accross as conjecture and is difficult to prove. Yet I have no other objections to use it.

To me the problem lies with where do those M rated games sales lie on total sales. Are the all purchased by adults or kids with parent's permission or are the spread evenly accross all age groups?

The otehr questions you have brought up also add doubt to the numbers. But in the end, it really isn't ho many kids get M rated games with out parent's permission, but that Parents are involved 98.64% of the time in game purchases.

E. Zachary Knight
Oklahoma City Chapter of the ECA
http://www.theeca.com/chapters_oklahoma

Re: E3 Numbers Game: ESA Serves Up Data on Game Consumers

Ban violent games?

--------------------------------------------------

I LIKE the fence. I get 2 groups to laugh at then.

-------------------------------------------------- I LIKE the fence. I get 2 groups to laugh at then.

Re: E3 Numbers Game: ESA Serves Up Data on Game Consumers

Well, I don't see how that really helps us to figure out the estimated number of sales are of M rated games to minors without their parent's permission.

But it would remove one variable making future calculations a bit easier.

E. Zachary Knight
Oklahoma City Chapter of the ECA
http://www.theeca.com/chapters_oklahoma

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