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IDSA's Consumer Study Reveals Changing Player Demographics

A new survey from the Interactive Digital Software Association (IDSA) says that most parents watch what kinds of games their children play.

Game Developer, Staff

May 16, 2003

3 Min Read

The IDSA's annual consumer survey, conducted by the Services Division of Ipsos-Insight, gathered data from more than 1,350 nationally representative households that have were identified as owning a video game console and/or a personal computer used to run entertainment software. The survey revealed that 96 percent of parents said that they paid attention to the content of the computer and video games their children play. While this result makes for good PR for the game industry, survey questions like these tend to inflate the positive responses -- people tend to answer questions in ways that reinforce their own self image. Accordingly, politicians and anti-gaming organizations will undoubtedly question the validity of this result. Nevertheless, other responses were more encouraging, like the fact that two-thirds of parents said that they viewed games as a positive addition to their children's lives. The data also shows that 44 percent of parents in households that own consoles or PCs used to play interactive games say they play games with their kids daily or weekly. Overall, 60 percent of parents say they play interactive games with their kids at least once a month. In addition, the survey reveals that parents are involved when games are purchased, with players under the age of 18 saying their parents were present at the point-of-sale 89 percent of the time. The survey indicates a trend toward older players, with the percentage of console game players under the age of 18 falling to 38 percent this year, from 46 percent in 2002. The percentage of computer game players under 18 declined to 30 percent, down from 34 percent in 2002. Additional survey highlights: -Buyer Demographics: Ninety-two percent of those who purchase console games are over the age of 18, and 98 percent of computer game buyers are over 18. Forty-seven percent of console game buyers and 57 percent of computer game buyers are women. -Computer Player Demographics: Fifty-eight percent of computer game players are male, while 42 percent are female. Thirty percent are under 18 years old, 29 percent are 18 to 35, and 41 percent are over 36. -Console Player Demographics: Seventy-two percent of console game players are male and 28 percent are female. Thirty-eight percent are under 18, 40 percent are 18 to 35, and 22 percent are over 36. -Types of Games Played Most Often: Console game players say that they most often play: action games (51 percent); driving/racing games (50 percent); sports games (47 percent); and role-play/adventure games (35 percent). Computer game players say they are most likely to play: puzzle/board/card games (36 percent); action games (36 percent); driving/racing games (34 percent); and sports (32 percent). -Number of Games Owned: Console game players report that they own an average of 16 games, while computer gamers report that they own about 12 titles. -Online Games: Thirty-seven percent of game players say they play games online, up from 31 percent last year and 18 percent in 1999. -Type of Game Played Most Often Online: puzzle, board, game show, trivia or card game (56 percent); action, sports, strategy or role-play game (20 percent); persistent multi-player universe (7 percent); or none of the above (7 percent). -Mobile Gaming: More than one-third (39 percent) of Americans who own consoles or computers report that they also play games on mobile devices like handheld systems, PDAs, and cell phones. Eighteen percent play games on cell phones, up from 14 percent a year ago.

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