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As newer platforms bring in a wider audience of gamers, the demographics of game players are changing. According to a 2013 survey from the Entertainment Software Association (ESA), the makeup of US gamers was not as heavily skewed toward men and younger users as might be assumed. Women made up 45% of the gaming audience, and 68% of gamers were over the age of 18.
The ESA put the penetration of total video game players across platforms at 59%.
Smartphones are having a big impact on the number of people playing games regularly.
Research and consulting firm Frank N. Magid Associates found that just fewer than seven out of 10 US residents had ever played video or computer games, 10 percentage points higher than the ESA’s estimate. Of that 69% cited by Frank N. Magid, more than half played games weekly on their smartphone.
There is no question that the digital game audience has well surpassed those on traditional platforms: Besides those playing on smartphones, another 29% reported playing social networking games weekly, and 27% played online games that often. By comparison, 42% played on video game consoles, once the signature gaming platform.
Even as gaming continues to draw a large audience, the wider availability of free games, particularly on digital platforms, is negatively affecting video game revenues. Research from The NPD Group, cited by the ESA, found that revenues from video game sales reached $14.8 billion last year. That was down from the $16.4 billion spent on games in 2011. Spending on console games dropped by a considerable $2 billion.
For 2012, total consumer spend on games, including content, hardware and accessories, was $20.77 billion.
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