67% of US households own games machines

Average gamer is 34, 40% of players are female, action most popular genre

Some 67 per cent of American households own a gaming console or PC, according to a new survey by the Entertainment Software Association.

While the definition of a "PC used to run entertainment software" is perhaps broad enough to cast some doubt on that 67 per cent figure's relevance to retail, it remains a positive endorsement of games' place in contemporary America.

"Computer and video games are now available to consumers on every screen from smart phones to computers to flat screen televisions. This enables millions of Americans enjoy the immersive storytelling, incredible graphics, and compelling plot lines," said Michael D. Gallagher, president and CEO of the ESA.

"These works of art are a fun and engaging way to bring people together, especially families who are playing video games together now more than ever."

The ESA's report also posited the average gamer as 34 (but games purchasers as 40) and male, although some 40 per cent of players are female.

In terms of games themselves, the study reveals that 2009's best-sellers chart was dominated by Nintendo's Wii and DS, despite the 360 version of Modern Warfare 2 taking the top spot.

The most popular genre, in terms of sales, was 'action', at 19.5 per cent, closely followed by sports at 19 per cent. Action does not incorporate shooters, which constituted 12 per cent themselves.

The report also suggests parents are coming around to games. 64 percent of them believe games are a positive part of their children’s lives, and 76 per cent have faith in in-game parental controls.

The study also claims that 64 per cent of gamers play with others and that 48 per cent of parents play games with their children regularly, reinforcing the medium as a social one. Further details and statistics are available in the ESA's PDF of its Essential Facts About the Computer and Video Game Industry report.

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