Video games are now a generation-spanning hobby for 190 million Americans, survey finds

The average video gamer is now 36 years old — but Gen Alpha and Gen Z are most likely to play games.
Video Games
Posted at 2:54 PM, May 16, 2024

New data collected by the Entertainment Software Association and YouGov finds more than 190 million Americans play video games for at least one hour a week.

Gamers polled self-identified as 53% male, 46% female and 1% were either non-binary or chose not to identify their gender.

Adults in the survey were 75% White, 19% Hispanic, 12% Black, 4% Asian/Pacific Islander and 3% Native American — fairly close to the overall racial breakdown of the U.S. population.

Majorities of respondents believe video games were fun, mentally stimulating and helped relieve stress. They also believe games could help improve cognition, problem-solving and cooperation with teammates.

A boy plays video games.

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Overall, 44% of respondents ranked video games among their top forms of entertainment. Most play to relax or have fun, and many said nostalgia was a big driver in what and how they played.

For the first time this year, the ESA included people younger than 18, as young as 5, in its survey. It found Gen Alpha, or kids aged 5-10, were the most likely cohort to be playing games on a weekly basis. Gen Alpha and Gen Z were also the most likely to play on a game console or personal computer.

But the poll shows the average player is now 36 years old and has been playing games for 17 years — which the ESA says is good evidence that for many, gaming has become a lifetime hobby. Even as the tendency to play decreases with age, the ESA found even 1 in 3 members of the Silent Generation, 78 and older, were playing an hour or more per week.

"Video games have been a fixture in American life and culture for generations,” said Stanley Pierre-Louis, President and CEO of the ESA. "Players of all ages, backgrounds and abilities are embracing the positivity that video games bring to their lives."