ESA: Two-thirds of USA population plays games

ESA: Two-thirds of USA population plays games

The United States of America's video games trade body The Entertainment Software Association (ESA) claims that almost two-thirds of the population play games.

That's according to its 2020 Essential Facts report for the industry, in which it says that over 214m US citizens play games out of a total population of around 328.2m. 21 per cent of US gamers – or 46m people – have disabilities.

59 per cent of gamers in America are male, compared to 41 per cent who are female. 75 per cent of households have at least one person that plays games, with 65 per cent of gamers playing with others.

The average age of those playing games is between 35 and 44, which goes against the notion that video games are largely for kids. 38 per cent of US gamers are aged between 18 and 34, while 26 per cent are between 35 and 54. 21 per cent are under the age of 18, while nine and six per cent are between 55 and 64, and over 65 respectively.

79 per cent of gamers say that playing is relaxing and relieves stress, while 80 per cent believe that they provide mental stimulation.

49 per cent of US gamers play on PC, coming in behind games consoles and phones, which take 52 per cent and 61 per cent respectively. Casual games are the most popular genre, racking up 71 per cent support, ahead of action games – 53 per cent – and shooters, which were played by 48 per cent.

"The release of the 2020 Essential Facts About the Video Game Industry comes amid a global pandemic that has required each of us to change how we interact with one another," wrote the ESA's CEO and president, Stanley Pierre-Louis (pictured).

"Everyday greetings have given way to 'social distancing' and 'stay-at-home' orders. Yet, through it all, video games have become an important touchstone for keeping audiences around the world connected while staying at home. Now more than ever, it has become clear that video games impact people’s lives in meaningful ways beyond the intrinsic joy of playing."

PCGamesInsider Contributing Editor

Alex Calvin is a freelance journalist who writes about the business of games. He started out at UK trade paper MCV in 2013 and left as deputy editor over three years later. In June 2017, he joined Steel Media as the editor for new site In October 2019 he left this full-time position at the company but still contributes to the site on a daily basis. He has also written for, VGC, Games London, The Observer/Guardian and Esquire UK.