Some Video Game Industry Basics

Even with the serious nosedive in popularity that video games suffered in the early 1980’s, the video game industry has been enduring and evolving for the past several decades.


Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo are all working at new systems. Other companies are joining the fight for marketplace supremacy, and games for smartphones, tablets, PCs, and other devices probably aren’t going anywhere anytime soon. This level of chaos brings to longtime observers memories of the slew of systems that were released by companies like Atari, Nintendo, Sega, Sony, Panasonic, and others throughout the 1990’s.

It’s easy to make some worthwhile educated guesses as to where the industry is going in 2013, and where we can expect it go in the years to come, but very few things are set in stone. The video game industry is at times an unpredictable arena, and there’s no telling what internal and external factors will impact the industry in 2013 and beyond.

To understand where the industry currently stands, and to be able to develop a better idea of what we might be able to expect from video games over the course of the next several years, it helps to take a look at where the industry stands.

A Few Video Game Industry Statistics

This is not a comprehensive list of video game industry statistics by any means, but it should give you a good foundation for where the industry has been in recent years, and where it might go in the future. Statistics such as these are also interesting for giving us an opportunity to look back, and see which numbers held steady, and which ones changed dramatically.

And keep in mind that these statistics were compiled for a 2012 report.

  • 53% of players are male. 47% are female.
  • 35 is the average age of a player.
  • 42% of those who play video games believe that video games give them the best entertainment for their dollar, compared to other forms of entertainment.
  • 15% of the most consistent players pay for online gaming.
  • 25% of all games played are strategy, RPG, action, and sports.
  • 70% of U.S. households play their games primarily on a console.
  • 65% of U.S. households play their games primarily on PC.
  • 38% of U.S. households play their games on a smartphone.
  • 40% of players use their consoles to also watch movies (through streaming sites such as Netflix)
  • 62% of players play with others through online means or in-person.
  • The average number of years a player has been playing games is 12.
  • 85% of parents are aware of the ESRB rating system.
  • 98% of parents feel that the ESRB rating system is helpful.
  • Shooter and action games were the two best-selling genres in 2011.

Predicting The Future

Predicting the future of video games to the last detail is impossible, but even these simple statistics paint an interesting picture of where the industry stands, and where it’s likely heading.

Martin is a video game reviewer and news editor working for MG magazine. He live with his lovely wife and daughter in Sydney.