Even though computer and video games have been around in some form or another for three decades, some still hold to the impression that it’s a passing fancy. Today the
Interactive Digital Software Association (IDSA) proclaimed that “interactive games are here to stay.” According to a recent study, six out of ten of today’s computer and video game players said that they expect to be playing games in ten years’ time.
IDSA president Doug Lowenstein said that there’s no doubt that video games are deeply embedded in society. “It’s clear that the industry’s surging growth is no passing fancy and that the millions of Americans who played video games yesterday play them today, and will still be playing them tomorrow,” said Lowenstein.
It’s not just a fad played by kids who outgrow it eventually, either. The research shows that more than half of the most frequent players already have six or more years of experience under their belt, and 60 percent of them expect to be playing the same amount or more in a decade.
Lowenstein pegs the value of today’s video game industry at about US$6.35 billion, and said that the transformation of the industry has come about from two generations of Americans — from ages 6 to 35 — for whom interactive entertainment carries the same sort of connotation that watching TV or listening to the radio did for previous generations. It’s a “natural and basic” pastime for folks of this age, according to Lowenstein.
More than a third of Americans who play games on consoles or computers also play on mobile devices like PDAs and cell phones, according to the research. More and more players are playing online, too — 31 percent this year, up from 24 percent last year and 18 percent in 1999.
While computer game demographics still tend to skew towards males, there’s been a big shift — 62 percent of gamers overall are male, and only 34 percent of them are under 18. Forty percent of computer gamers are over 36. And 62 percent of those gamers who have been playing console or computer games for less than a year are female. “Concrete evidence that more and more women are being drawn to games,” said IDSA.
Recent news reports and legislation have focused on the ability of minors to buy mature-rated video and computer games, but the study shows that parental responsibility is a huge factor. Eighty-six percent of those polled under the eight of 18 said they get their parents’ permission before buying games, and 91 percent added that a parent is usually present when making a game purchase.
The survey was conducted by the Long Island Services Division of Ipsos-NPD. It’s based on feedback from more than 1,500 nationally representative households that have been identified as owning a video game console or a computer used to run entertainment software.
IDSA is a trade group that represents computer and video game publishers. It’s also the owner of the
Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3), which runs through the rest of the week in Los Angeles, Calif.