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ESA says one-third of American adults over 65 are playing video games

New data from the Entertainment Software Association offers insights on possible underserved audiences in the game market.

Bryant Francis, Senior Editor

July 11, 2023

1 Min Read
An older man holds a PlayStation controller.

The Entertainment Software Association is out this week with its 2023 "Essential Facts" survey, which contains some interesting data on the demographics of video game players in the United States—namely that at least 34 percent of adults over the age of 65 reported described themselves as regular players of video games. For context, the ESA determined that 65 percent of US residents are regular video game players.

That's one of many datapoints that ESA president & CEO Stanley Pierre-Louis said reflects the fact that America's popular portrayals of who plays video games "may not be accurate." In a call discussing the survey results, he added that the average age of survey respondents was 32 years old, and that many reported playing video games for at leas 21 years.

Players by numbers

As with prior years, Pierre-Louis noted a near 50-50 split in the gender of American video game players. 53 percent of game-playing respondents were men, and 46 percent were women. 1 percent declined to answer or indicated they were not of either gender.

Among players over 65, 21 percent of women said they would describe themselves as a "gamer," while 28 percent of men said the same. That indicates only a fraction of the sexagenarian-and-older subset might consider themselves to be dedicated video game players, but it's a demographic that might be growing, Pierre-Louis said. "Those numbers tend to increase each year because people get older."

The ESA wasn't able to offer any year-over-year data to compare this result against (the organization changed its surveying partners and methods, meaning it's asked its demographic questions in different ways across different surveys), but this datapoint will be worth watching in the future as Americans who grew up with video games continue to age.

About the Author(s)

Bryant Francis

Senior Editor, GameDeveloper.com

Bryant Francis is a writer, journalist, and narrative designer based in Boston, MA. He currently writes for Game Developer, a leading B2B publication for the video game industry. His credits include Proxy Studios' upcoming 4X strategy game Zephon and Amplitude Studio's 2017 game Endless Space 2.

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