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Legosi (Tani Coyote)

Electronic Software Association Publishes 2015 Computer/Video Game Study

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The ESA, most known for organizing E3 every year, published a report on a study regarding video game characteristics and consumption just a few days ago. While some things are expected (like shooters making up 1/5 of console game sales), there are also some surprises.

One interesting statistic I saw was age: the average playing age is 35. 26% of gamers are under 18… but 27% are over 50. It would appear that despite the large youth demographic, video games are actually more popular among seniors. While I’ve always heard my grandmother say how much she loved playing Sonic on the Genesis, I wasn’t expecting something like this… which makes me ponder what sort of games those in the senior demographic are playing. I had always assumed the older generations were more averse to newer technologies based on my parents’ reaction to games like Smash (“you’re going so fast how can you tell what’s happening?!”), but could I be wrong? Could the person kicking one’s ass in an FPS actually be in their 50s or 60s?

Regarding sex, the demographic remains skewed towards men (with 59% of purchases being made by men), but there’s a clear age difference, with women gamers having an average age of 43 to males’ 35. I’m pondering how these statistics are calculated though, and assume that a lot of purchases might be made through straw buyers like parents, thus distorting the statistics towards males (given men and income statistics).

With regards to the old PC vs. console debate, the race is close, but PC comes out ahead, with 62% of frequent gamers using a PC compared to consoles’ 56%. 1/3 of frequent gamers play social games.

With regards to cultural impact, it looks like the home video industry is the hardest hit: while 39% of people spend less time watching TV because of video games, 47% spend less time watching movies at home. In the field of parenting, video games take center stage: 79% of parents impose limits on video game time, compared to 72% for internet and 66% for movies.

Another shock I had was in the field of parental perception. Having grown up with the whole “oh rawr you kids need to get out more when I was young I was always playing at the park,” I expected negativity… but no, actually! 63% of parents say they feel video games are a positive part of their childrens’ lives. The shifting parental demographic is also reflected in the reasons parents play games with their children; while 85% play for family fun, 54% play because they enjoy video games in and of themselves.

It appears that shooters are also not as dominant as I thought: while they are strong in the field of console games with 22% of sales (compared to Action games’ 28%), they’re a humble 6.4% on PC, compared to strategy’s 37.7% on PC.

As Sonic fans, we would probably be most interested in Page 12: the reasons people buy games.

In 4th place at 10%, people choose to buy games because they’re part of a continued series, attesting to brand loyalty. In 3rd place at 11%, people buy based on word of mouth, so you can see the merit in bribing places like IGN. In 2nd place at 15%, people buy based on price, showing how important it is to not price things the same as anyone else. And 1st place, the most important factor in choosing a game…

…at 22%, the game having an interesting story/premise. I had always thought that a game needed to play good to be worth buying, and while that’s still important, it looks like the real effort in selling a game comes from its plot above all else. I wasn’t expecting that.

With regards to advertising? It occupies last place with a humble 1%. Maybe marketing wouldn’t help SEGA that much after all.

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I'm not surprised about the Plot/Premise thing, honestly - the most important thing to market something is to make it look interesting. If it doesn't look interesting, not very many people will want to buy it, and they'll likely find what they're playing to be cliche or dull. Premise is very, very important. 


That being said, those are some interesting numbers. I'm a bit surprised that strategy games are only at 37.7% on the PC - I can't imagine playing Civ or CKII on a console. Makes me more than a bit curious to know where the other 62.7% goes ._.


Also, PC is ahead of consoles



With regards to the old PC vs. console debate, the race is close, but PC comes out ahead, with 62% of frequent gamers using a PC compared to consoles’ 56%. 1/3 of frequent gamers play social games

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