Games Gaining on TV and Movies

Games Gaining on TV and Movies

Computer and video games are capturing increasing amounts of Americans' leisure time at the expense of television and movies, according to new research released today by the Entertainment Software Association (ESA). The data from the ESA's annual consumer survey shows about half of American gamers say they are choosing to watch less television and fewer movies as a result of playing games more.

Specifically, 52 per cent of gamers who are spending more time playing games report watching less television as a result, 47 per cent go to movies less, and 41 per cent watch movies at home less often.

What we're seeing is that consumers are choosing video and computer games as their choice of entertainment for the 21st century, said Douglas Lowenstein, president of the ESA, the industry trade group representing video and computer game publishers. Computer and video games have made tremendous advances over the past decade, both creatively and technologically, drawing more people into immersive and complex virtual worlds, said Lowenstein. The next ten years will be even brighter for the industry as the technology and artistry of games continues to establish new levels of excellence and sophistication, and the audience grows even broader and more diverse.

The data was released at the opening of E3Expo 2004, the 10th anniversary of the world's premiere interactive entertainment trade event. To mark the occasion, the ESA also asked gamers what they consider to be the three biggest advancements made by the game industry in the past ten years. Ninety-one per cent said the increased quality of game graphics represents the biggest advancement. Other responses included: the increase in the variety of content (37 per cent); the introduction of multiplayer game playing (27 per cent); and the introduction of better story lines and more character development into games (28 per cent).

With over half (53 per cent) of all game players reporting they will be playing games as much or more in ten years ss they do today, ESA also asked respondents to pick the three most important goals for the industry in the coming decade. Not surprisingly, the number one goal (87 per cent) was to reduce the price of games. Other goals included: offering additional levels, characters and other content in games (53 per cent); creating more games for women (42 per cent); relying less on licensed content and more on original stories (36 per cent); offering more games for purchase via download (21 per cent); and making more games playable online (17 per cent).

Additional survey highlights include:

- Console Player Demographics: Seventy-five per cent of console game players are male and 25 per cent are female. Forty-six per cent are under 18 years old, 35 per cent are 18 to 35, 11 per cent are 36-45 years old, and 8 per cent are over 46.

- Computer Player Demographics: Sixty-one per cent of computer game players are male, while 39 per cent are female. Thirty-six per cent are under 18 years old, 26 per cent are 18 to 35, 14 per cent are 36-45 years old, and 25 per cent are over 46.

- Buyer Demographics: The average age of a game buyer is 36.

- Growth in Online Games: Forty-three per cent of game players say they play games online one or more hours per week, up from thirty-seven per cent last year and thirty-one per cent in 2002. Forty per cent of online game players are women.

- Types of Online Games Played Most Often: Game players say that they most often play: puzzle/board/trivia/card games (54.7 per cent); action/sports games (21.1 per cent); shockwave/flash games (13.1 per cent); and persistent multi-player universe (7.8 per cent).

- Parents' Opinions of Games: Sixty-one per cent of parents believe games are a positive part of their children's lives.

- Parental Involvement: Parents are present 87 per cent of the time that games are purchased or rented, and 92 per cent of parents say they monitor the content of the games their children are playing. (Parents with children under 18 who also own a game console or computer used to play games.)