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Three-quarters of all US households include someone who plays video games

ESA: Of 214 million gamers, 41% are women, and 21% are under the age of 18

More than 214 million people in the US in 2020 play video games at least one hour per week, and three-quarters of all US households include at least one person who plays video games.

That's according to the ESA's 2020 Essential Facts About the Video Game Industry report, which includes data from a July 2020 survey of 4,000 Americans conducted by Ipsos.

It concludes that 64% of US adults, and 70% of those in the US under age 18 play video games regularly, with 38% of all gamers falling into the 18-34 age range and 21% under the age of 18. 6% of gamers are 65 or older.

That makes approximately 169 million gaming adults in the US -- up from 164 million reported in 2019.

By gender breakdown, the survey reports that 41% of all gamers in the US are women -- down from 44% last year and 45% in 2018.

The gender split seems to fluctuate evenly from year to year -- with additional data from the ESA shared with demonstrating that the percentage of women who play games in the US has bounced between 44% and 41% over the last five years.

And according to data shared by AbleGamers, there are around 46 million video game players in the United States with disabilities.

By system, 73% of gamers in the United States reported owning a console, while 43% said they owned a handheld system of some kind. 29% said they owned a VR system.

The survey also looked at parents with children who game, finding that 87% of parents are aware of ESRB ratings -- flat from last year. However, while last year 98% of the parents who were aware of the ratings were confident in their accuracy, this year that percentage dropped to 83%.

Of all parents surveyed who have children who play games, 92% pay attention to the games their child plays, up 2% from 2019.

As for those ESRB ratings themselves, 4,034 games received ratings in 2019 -- well up from 2,768 in 2018. Of those games, 45% received an E for Everyone rating in 2019 -- up from 42% in 2018. 13% received an M for Mature, up from 9% the previous year.

You can read the full report here.

For the record: A previous version of this article compared the percentage of women gamers in the United States to data shared in last year's Essential Facts Report stating that 46% of US gamers were women that year. The ESA reached out post-publication to clarify that the percentage in 2019's report applied to adult gamers only -- which is not noted in the report -- and did not include the demographic under age 18, while 2020's data included all age groups. We have amended the article above to reflect accurate comparable data.

For the record: The ESA reached out again after the publication of this article to dispute the characterization that confidence in the ratings among parents had dropped from 98% in 2019 to 83% in 2020, saying that while 2020's data was taken from the ESRB directly, 2019's data was from a different source, so the two numbers aren't comparable. The two numbers are presented with essentially the same wording in both reports, and while the 2020 report does specify the ESRB as its source, no indication is given for the source of the 2019 figure, other than a general note that the entire report uses information from the survey as well as the ESRB and the NPD Group.

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Rebekah Valentine avatar

Rebekah Valentine

Senior Staff Writer

Rebekah arrived at GamesIndustry in 2018 after four years of freelance writing and editing across multiple gaming and tech sites. When she's not recreating video game foods in a real life kitchen, she's happily imagining herself as an Animal Crossing character.