Growth in women gamers and more revealed in Essential Facts report

The ESA releases the annual Essential Facts report to highlight several key points across the video game industry.
Girl Gamer Esports Festival - Day Two
Girl Gamer Esports Festival - Day Two / Christopher Pike/GettyImages

Data tells the background story that’s typically easy to miss as opinions and headlines direct the narrative. The same is true in video gaming, where the Entertainment Software Association works to “protect the video game industry.” Each year, the organization releases the Essential Facts report around important data points in gaming. The information shows there are some well-known perceptions about who games and how along with some intriguing points that will drive the future of video gaming.

Whenever talking about surveys such as this, it’s important to start with the methodology to understand who was asked what, how, and when. The Essential Facts report is built on a 20-minute online survey in the United States from October 23-31. Five thousand people responded to the survey. This includes 748 kids and 3,252 adults who spend at least one hour per week playing video games on either a console, PC, smartphone, or VR set. One thousand non-players who don’t play games or play less than one hour a week were also included.

According to this report, 190 million Americans report playing video games. That means 61 percent of the population plays at least one hour per week. The majority of those players are considered mobile gamers as they represent more than 78 percent of gamers in each of the four gaming generations, Alpha/Gen Z, Millennials, Gen X, and the Boomers/Silent generation. That Alpha/Gen Z group is an important segment to watch as they are the only group where more than 50 percent of gamers are on PC, a potential marker for the future of gaming as Xbox and Sony both push more of their flagship items to that platform.

While Gamergate conversations may drive the opposite idea, gaming is an inclusive industry. Fifty-three percent of gamers identify as male, compared to 46 percent who identify as female. One percent elected to select non-binary or not answer. There are two generations of gamers where women play more games than men, and that is within the Boomers and Silent generations. In all the others, more players identify as male with the highest female population being in the Gen Alpha group.

Ethnicity in gaming is close to what we have seen in American society. Seventy-five percent of gamers represent as White, 19 percent Hispanic, 12 Black/African American, 3 percent Native American/Alaskan, and 4 percent as Asian/Pacific Islander.

The Essential Facts report also dives into aspects of the business world of video gaming as well. According to the survey, 63 percent of gamers said that video games offer the most value for their money – which is important as inflation continues to hit nearly every aspect of life. This comes at a time when the gaming industry generated a reported $57.2 billion in consumer spending and had more than a $101 billion dollar impact on the economy.

Data is always an important tool in telling a story. Video gaming is in an interesting place as layoffs continue to loom, arguments about what types of games matter, and more. As the industry continues to change with the times, the Essential Facts report can help guide the decisions that will set that path for the future.