"Farm Heroes" and "Candy Crush," you’re having an effect.
According to the Entertainment Software Association’s latest survey outlining the “Essential Facts About the Computer and Video Game Industry,” women age 18 or older represent a larger portion of the video game playing population than teenage boys (36% vs. 17%), and casual and social game play on mobile devices has increased 55% since 2012, to become the most popular gaming genre.
According to the survey of more than 2,200 representative households, 44% of gamers play on smartphones, while 33% play on wireless devices -- an increase of 22% and 37%, respectively, since 2012. Moreover, the number of female gamers over 50 has increased by 32% since 2012.
The end result is some shifting demographics: 59% of Americans (more than 181 million) play video games, the average player is 31 years, and nearly two-fifths (39%) of all gamers are 36 or older. Adult gamers have been playing for an average of 16 years, the average age of the adult game purchaser is 35, and men and women bought games in equal amounts.
However, the rise of mobile and social platforms aren’t overly damaging the console gaming sector. More than half (51%) of American households own at least one video game console, with many owning more than one.
Consumers spent more than $21 billion on game content, hardware and accessories in 2013, according to the report. Meanwhile, 44% of consumers said computer and video games gave them more value for their money than DVDs, music or going out to the movies, though only 21% of them said price was the most important factor in deciding whether to buy a new game.
As a result, these shifting demographics have had an impact on parents’ views of video games as well. According to the survey, more than half (56%) of
parents said video games were a positive part of their child’s life. More than two-thirds (68%) of families with children under 18 believe the games provide mental stimulation or education and
more than half said games help them spend time together (58% of parents of gamers play with their kids at least monthly).
"Woman playing Video Game" photo from Shutterstock.