US adults are spending big on videogames, playing mostly on smartphones

  • TECH
  • Thursday, 09 May 2019

FILE PHOTO: A woman poses for a photo illustration with an iPhone as she plays Candy Crush in New York February 18, 2014. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri/File Photo

NEW YORK: The average American videogamer is 33 years old, prefers to play on their smartphone and is spending big on content – 20% more than a year ago and 85% more than in 2015, a report showed on May 9. 

The annual research from the Entertainment Software Association (ESA) comes as more American households rethink how to set limits for kids who love gaming and how to allocate their entertainment budgets in the streaming era. 

The US$43.4bil (RM180.28bil) spent in 2018 was mostly on content, as opposed to hardware and accessories. Of pay-to-play games, Call Of Duty: Black Ops III, Red Dead Redemption II and NBA 2K19 took the top spots for most units sold but the list did not include free games such as Fortnite

“Games are striking an important chord with American culture,” said Stanley Pierre-Louis, ESA’s acting president and chief executive officer. “That’s what makes it the leading form of entertainment today.” 

Nearly 65% of US adults, or more than 164 million people, play games. The most popular genre is casual games, with 60% of players gaming on their smartphones, though about half also play on personal computers and specialised consoles. 

Parents are limiting screen time for their kids and using videogame ratings to screen content, and 87% of parents require permission for new game purchases, the study showed. 

Some 46% of all gamers are female, though they favour different kinds of games than men, particularly depending on age. 

Female gamers between 18 and 34 years old prefer Candy Crush, Assassin’s Creed and Tomb Raider and play most often on smartphones, while their male counterparts mostly play games on consoles, particularly God of War, Madden NFL and Fortnite. Gen Xers, who are 40 to 54 years old, lean towards Tetris, Pac-Man, Call Of Duty, Forza and NBA 2K

Male baby boomers aged 55 to 64 like Solitaire and Scrabble, while women lean towards Mahjong and Monopoly. Game players were no more prone than other Americans to live isolated, sedentary lives, according to the report. 

Americans will soon have even more ways to play videogames. 

Apple Inc is launching a game subscription service and Alphabet Inc’s Google announced a video game streaming service late this year. 

The new services will present challenges to established videogame developers like Electronic Arts Inc, maker of Apex Legends; Tencent Holdings Ltd’s Riot Games, maker of League Of Legends; Valve Corp, owner of Counter-Strike and the Steam distribution platform; and Activision Blizzard Inc, owner of Call Of Duty and Candy Crush

Ipsos gathered data from more than 4,000 Americans to conduct the study for the ESA. – Reuters

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