Each year the Entertainment Software Association (ESA), which represents the video game and computer game industry, produces a great little report entitled "Essential Facts About the Computer and Video Game Industry." The 2008 edition is out and it has some interesting stats:
* 65 percent of American households play computer and video games;
* 38 percent of American homes have a video game console;
* The average game player is 35 years old;
* One out of four gamers are over age 50;
* Women age 18 or older represent a significantly greater portion of the game-playing population (33 percent) than boys age 17 or younger (18 percent); and,
* 41 percent of Americans expect to purchase one or more games this year.
Those findings make it clear that gaming really has gone mainstream. As I noted in an essay earlier this week, "gaming is now fully integrated into the fabric of my life and the lives of my children. It has become one of the most enjoyable media experiences for my generation and the generation of kids that we are raising."
Some other important stats that have relevance for debates about public policy:
* 94 percent of parents are present when games are purchased or rented;
* 88 percent of parents report always or sometimes monitoring the games their children play; and,
* 63 percent of parents believe games are a positive part of their children's lives.