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Study: Over 50% Of U.S. Adults Play Games, Platform Choices Split By Age

A new study released by the Pew Internet & American Life Project claims that a slim majority of adults in the United States now play video games, with younger gamers trending towards console games and older gamers trending towards PC games -- plenty of da
A new study released by the Pew Internet & American Life Project claims that a slim majority of adults in the United States now play video games, with preferred platform choices being stratified by age group. Drawing from data collected in surveys during 2007 and 2008, Pew claims that 53 percent of Americans age 18 or older play games on some kind of device -- including personal computers, game consoles, and handheld devices. In addition, 21 percent of American adults play approximately every day. Meanwhile, nearly all American teens play games, at a proportion of 97 percent.

Unsurprisingly given the disparity between the playing habits of teens and adults, gaming becomes less common among adults as age increases. While just over half of adults play games, 81 percent of adults age 18 to 29 play games -- a proportion that drops to 12 percent among those 65 years of age or older. That said, amongst that 12 percent of 65-plus gamers, over a third of them play games every day or or nearly every day, whereas that statistic for all other surveyed age groups fell between 19 and 21 percent. Pew postulates that the increased proportion of retirees among that age group contributes to the trend.

Older gamers are also more likely to play games on PC as opposed to consoles. Among adult gamers, proportional PC usage steadily increases from the 18-29 age group, to 30-49, to 50-64, reaching a high of 83 percent, then slightly dropping off for 65-plus. Meanwhile, console usage drops in parallel to a low of 23 percent.

Interestingly, parents were 10 percent more likely to play PC games than non-parents, and a whopping 19 percent more likely to play console games than non-parents; similar gains were realized even with handheld consoles and other portable systems like cell phones. As a footnote, despite 9 percent of gamers (and 21 percent of teen gamers) claiming experience playing MMOs, a mere 2 percent of gamers reported entering virtual worlds like Second Life.

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