Video Games Are Big Business. Here’s What Americans Consider When Buying Them.

May 24, 2019

This article is included in these additional categories:

Cross-Media & Traditional | Digital | Men | Mobile Phone | Non-mobile Connected Devices | Video | Videogames | Women

About two-thirds (65%) of US adults play video games and three-quarters of Americans have at least one gamer in their household. So, with the Entertainment Software Association (ESA) reporting that US gamers spent a total of $43.4 billion last year on games, hardware and peripherals, who are these individuals and what influences them when buying games?

To understand who gamers are, it may help to first rid your mind of the stereotypical image of the twenty-something male, sitting in a dimly lit room wearing a headset, surrounded by a half-eaten pizza, a bowl of cheese doodles and several empty cans of Mt. Dew. Actually, according to ESA, gamers are quite a bit different than what we may think.

First off, women game, too. Of the 4,000 Americans surveyed about their video game playing habits, 46% were women. Previous research has also found that women are about as likely as men to play video games, though they’re less likely to describe themselves as “gamers”.

Meanwhile, more than half (52%) of the ESA report’s respondents are college-educated. And, despite the stereotype, gamers sleep about the same amount as the average American (6.8 hours).

Furthermore, the majority of gamers do not play in isolation. Almost two-thirds (63%) say they play with others, spending about 4.8 hours per week playing with others online and 3.5 hours per week playing with others in person. A slight majority (52%) of respondents say they play video games on their personal computer, while about half (49%) play on a dedicated game console. Smartphones are a more widespread choice, though, as a full 60% play on their devices.

Gamers aren’t shy about spending – and they are spending more every year. In 2018, they spent $35.8 billion in gaming content alone. Add to that another $5.1 billion in hardware and $2.4 billion in accessories and VR, and the total spent on gaming last year was $43.4 billion.

Two in 3 gamers (66%) say that price is one of their influencers when making purchase decisions. Beyond price, gamers are most influenced by qualities about the games themselves. Respondents cite the quality of graphics (63%), an interesting story (57%), familiarity from past experiences (48%) and continuation of favorite game series (46%) as factors that influence whether they will purchase a game.

Nearly two-fifths (39%) of gamers use YouTube videos to help them decide on a purchase. Just like the majority of shoppers who rely on product reviews to ensure a great online shopping experience, 30% gamers rely on user reviews from communities or digital storefronts, while 29% rely on professional reviews from online video game magazine or websites to help them decide on what game to buy. Another one-fifth (20%) of gamers say that streaming also helps them in their decision-making process.

To read more, download the report here.

About the Data: The study is comprised of data from a survey of more than 4,000 Americans who were asked about their video game playing habits and attitudes.

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