ESA: Facts and figures about the gaming industry in 2010

By on June 9, 2011, 9:00 AM

With the entire gaming industry gathered in Los Angeles for E3, the Entertainment Software Association has taken the opportunity to share quite a few interesting tidbits on how the format and demographic that make up the gaming industry are changing. In its latest annual report, titled "Essential Facts About the Computer and Video Game Industry", the group notes that video games aren't a child's hobby anymore -- in fact, 82% of gamers are adults.

The average gamer is 37 years old and has been playing games for 12 years. Forty-two percent of gamers are women, with those that are 18 or older representing a greater portion of the game-playing population at 37% compared to boys boys age 17 or younger which account for 13% of the market. People beyond the age of 50 are also increasingly turning to games for entertainment, accounting for 29% of gamers -- an increase from 9% in 1999.

The best-selling genres in general include action games with 21.7% of the pie, followed by sports games with 16.3% and shooters at 15.9%, though when focusing on PC gaming the picture changes quite a bit. Apparently those sitting in front of a mouse and keyboard prefer strategy (33.6%), role-playing (20.3%) and even casual games (19.5%), no doubt due to the increasing popularity of free web-based games like the ones you find on Facebook.

Furthermore, as another indication of the rapidly evolving online marketplace the report claims that digital format sales in the form of subscriptions, full games, add-on content, mobile apps and social network gaming accounted for 24% of all game sales in 2010, contributing $5.8 billion to the total of $15.9 billion spent in content. Factoring in hardware and accessories the total consumer spend in the games industry last year was $25.1 billion. Other findings:

  • 45% of parents reported playing video games with their children on a weekly basis,
  • 9 out of 10 parents say they pay attention to the content of the games their children play
  • 68% of parents believe that games provide mental stimulation or education value
  • 65% of gamers play games with other gamers in person.
  • 55% of gamers play games on their phones or handheld devices
  • 86% know of the ESRB and 98% are confident in its accuracy and recommendations.

The study gathers sales data collected by NPD throughout 2010 and demographics from 1,200 U.S. households that have been identified as owning a video game console or a personal computer used to play gaming software. Although we would have loved to see some international figures, this still sheds some light about the current state of the industry and questions some common misconceptions about gamers. It's definitely worth checking out [PDF].




User Comments: 13

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TekGun TekGun said:

"Lies, damned lies, and statistics"

Somethings not right about these figures, best selling computer games, and shooters only get 9.7% really.

9 out of 10 parents pay attention to the game content their kids play, oh really.

Guest said:

Agreed. That graph must have shooter and strategy reversed.

Benny26 Benny26, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Zynga have just released their latest hopeful cash cow: Empires & Allies.

Anyone interested?.........didn't think so.

Guest said:

learn to read, that's games sold in 2010 not games played. Go check out STEAM, the vast majority of games played are FPS but they are all in multi-player mode and from older games (purchased prior to 2010). when it comes to single player games, Football Manager, Civ V, Total war Shogun and Empire all lead the single player version of those games above.

Current Players Peak Today Game

56,139 64,835 Counter-Strike: Source

55,402 61,537 Counter-Strike

32,071 35,148 Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 - Multiplayer

23,836 29,291 Football Manager 2011

22,979 27,315 Call of Duty Black Ops - Multiplayer

21,869 21,869 Team Fortress 2

13,335 16,834 Terraria

13,195 15,011 Sid Meier's Civilization V

9,757 11,394 Left 4 Dead 2

7,432 8,506 Total War SHOGUN 2

6,060 6,469 Call of Duty Black Ops

5,874 6,647 Empire: Total War

5,498 6,147 Garry's Mod

4,659 6,935 Battlefield: Bad Company 2

TomSEA TomSEA, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

Yeah, looks like some odd figures to me too. Also, where is the simulation category? I see they have "flight" listed, but there's hella lot more simulators than just that.

Cota Cota said:

Actually, trying to chart gaming stats is kind of (if not) impossible since games have multiple categories mixed in them, one example would be shooter because it haves strategy, action, simulation and in some cases even RP and who knows what else.

Besides, every games has his preferences and all the other categories just dont count and a good point missing in the industry is to create ranks of gamers, casual gamer, normal gamer and hardcore gamer. I cant stand to play games on other than my PC because playing games on any handheld device its just boring is not that annoyingly dull for me.

Lokalaskurar Lokalaskurar said:

68% of parents believe that games provide mental stimulation or education value.

I'm surprised that only ~70% believe so. Now, I didn't exactly know what (C with caron --> ) *Cerenkov radiation was until I played Mass Effect, did I? More and more game developers tend to incorporate interesting facts and science into their games. Often interesting and sometimes very useful.

Note quite satisfied with Notch's idea that TNT is called "dynamite" (completely different things) and is composed of sand and gunpowder... as dynamite is really made of nitroglycerin and silicate sand... well, games do provide at least some mental stimulus in my opinion.

BBC: "The gamers are in it for the thrill, not the killing!"

princeton princeton said:

Guest just owned every Techspot commenter before him. Point awarded, best guest comment ever.

Guest said:

Well... I disagree! These are just Steam numbers... What is the percentage of games played through Steam versus outside? Looking at how many people are buying and playing the Sims, Starcraft and WOW, not alot... Unfortunately...So, they are not saying much.

treetops treetops said:

I wonder how much sc2 represents in that 2010 strategy section. 37 is the average gamer age, 42% women, both surprised me.

yorro said:

"9 out of 10 parents SAY they pay attention to the content of the games their children play"

Well ofcourse they WILL SAY, they don't want their children be taken away now would they?.

Also, STARCRAFT 2 FTW?

captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

Not quite satisfied with Notch's idea that TNT is called "dynamite" (completely different things) and is composed of sand and gunpowder... as dynamite is really made of nitroglycerin and silicate sand... well, games do provide at least some mental stimulus in my opinion.

FPS type game sort of fall into the category of simulators. But I would argue to obtain the maximun training benefit, the human interface device should be modeled on the weapon being simulated. So, they should supply AK-47 or M-16 models, instead of keyboards or joysticks. Then shoot the game life size from a video projector. For Flight sims, yokes and rudder pedals are available, but at considerable cost.

This should clear up the which is which of things that go "kaboom" in the night, (or day)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trinitrotoluene

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nitroglycerin

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dynamite

And for good measure:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/C-4_(explosive)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gunpowder

And for good measure, here's a starting point for a delivery vehicle:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hydrazine

BBC: "The gamers are in it for the thrill, not the killing!"
Or at least that's what they told the BBC...

amstech amstech, TechSpot Enthusiast, said:

This data calculates all of the soccer mom's and granny's buying third party games for thier grandchildren. It's not a accurate representation of the current market flow and interest. This type of thing doesn't happen so much on PC's, users are usually smart enough to now what is crap in a bag.

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