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More than two-thirds (68%) of all American households play computer or video games, a three-percent increase over 2008 that indicates growth of entertainment software across all demographics, according to a study from the Entertainment Software Association (ESA).

Study findings, which are detailed in the ESA’s “Essential Facts About the Computer and Video Game Industry 2009” report (pdf), also indicate that the computer- and video-game software market was valued at $11.7 billion in 2008.

Additional survey findings:

  • Women account for 40% of gamers, and adult women (ages 18+) represent a significantly larger percentage of the game-playing population (34%) than boys ages 12-17 (18%).

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  • 42% of American homes have a video game console.
  • Adult gamers have been playing for 12 years on average, a decrease from 2008, an indication that more Americans are picking up video game controllers for the first time.
  • The average game player is 35 years old.

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  • The average age of the most frequent game purchaser is 39.
  • 77% of parents believe that the parental controls available in all recent video game consoles are useful.
  • Almost half of all games sold (45%) are rated ‘E’ for Everyone by the Entertainment Software Rating Board.

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  • 43% of online game players are female.
  • 23%of the most frequent gamers pay to play online games, an increase from 22%in 2008 and a significant increase from only 8% in 2004.
  • 37% of heads of households report they play games on wireless devices such as a cell phone or PDA, up from 20% in 2002.

Parents Involved in Kids’ Gaming

The report also includes statistics that demonstrate a high level of parental involvement in video-game play. Some 63% of parents who have children under age 18 with a gaming console in the home believe games are a positive part of their children’s lives. Moreover, partents are present when games are purchased or rented 92% of the time and report always or sometimes monitoring the games their children play 91% of the time.

“This is the new golden age of entertainment software. Our products are now being enjoyed by more than two-thirds of Americans,” said Michael D. Gallagher, CEO of the ESA. “As the findings illustrate, more and more Americans across all demographics are now embracing the interactive entertainment experience that computer and video games provide.”

About the research: The research for the report was conducted by Ipsos MediaCT and includes data from nearly 1,200 nationally representative households that have been identified as owning either or both a video game console or a personal computer used to run entertainment software.

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