ESA Releases Annual Report as E3 Expo Officially Opens

E3 Expo owner the Entertainment Software Association (ESA) offered some lovely statistics on the industry and the gaming populace at the opening of the event today in Los Angeles. According to the ESA, 49 percent of all American households are playing games in some form, with a large number of households playing their favorite game apps on smartphones, tablets and handheld devices. More than 30 percent play games on their smartphones, compared to 20 percent last year. One quarter of gamers said they play games on wireless devices, up from 13 percent in 2011. The data comes from the ESA's "2012 Essential Facts About the Computer and Video Game Industry" report.

"Games have evolved from a thing you buy to an experience enjoyed by a wide and diverse population everywhere, anytime, on any screen. This research reflects that new reality," said Michael D. Gallagher, president and CEO of ESA. "The creativity of our developers and publishers produces an ever-expanding variety of games in different formats and across all platforms. Their innovations drive consumer demand for our products, solidifying our industry's position as one of the strongest and most cutting-edge sectors in the American economy."

The report also found that around 33 percent of gamers said they play social games, while 15 percent said they pay to play online games. The report also found that among U.S. households that own a game console, PC, smartphone, handheld system or wireless device, nearly 40 percent play games on their smartphone and 26 percent play them on their wireless device.

The report also showed continued support for the ESRB ratings system for video games.

A whopping 98 percent of parents surveyed said that the ESRB rating system is either "very" or "somewhat" helpful in choosing games for their children, and 73 percent said they believe the parental controls in video game consoles are useful.

Around 40 percent of parents said that they play computer and video games with their children at least once a week and 66 percent of parents said such games provide positive mental stimulation for their children.

The report also found that 49 percent of U.S. households own a dedicated game console (an average of two); the average game player is 30 years old; 37 percent of game players are older than 36; 42 percent of game players believe that computer and video games give them the most value for their money, compared to other media; 62 percent of gamers play games with others in-person or online; and that consumers spent nearly $25 billion on game content, hardware and accessories in 2011.

The data collected for the survey and report was handled by Ipsos MediaCT, who polled more than "2,000 nationally representative households" during the spring of 2012.

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