Infographic: Video Game Industry Statistics


When I was younger, I tried to teach my stepfather how to play Mario on the original Nintendo system. We never had a very close relationship, but I still remember him trying to learn how to play so that we would have something to connect over. Unfortunately, he didn't last long: I explained to him that the mushrooms were good, they would make Mario taller, stronger, able to withstand an enemy attack. He chased that mushroom right off the screen and down a hole. Mario died. And Mario kept dying.

The point, though, is that even my stepfather, a man who otherwise spends every waking hour in the office or on his boat, has played video games. Who hasn't? The industry continues to grow at an incredible rate, bringing in more than $10 billion in revenue in 2009. What's even more surprising is that only $500 million of that came from computer game sales; the majority of gamers in 2009 were still spending their money on traditional consoles and accessories. We can expect that both numbers will grow as manufacturers continue to offer innovative gaming systems and tools like Nintendo's Wii or the Microsoft Kinect.

Infographics are always a bit of a hodgepodge of statistics culled from a variety of sources. Here, we sort through the clutter and pull out some of our favorite facts and figures:

  • Sixty-seven percent, or more than two-thirds, of U.S. households hold individuals who play video games.
  • The average age of a video game player is a little older than you might suspect; it's 34, according to this infographic. And he or she (probably he: 60 percent of gamers are male) spends an average of eight hours every week playing video games. He's also been playing for 12 years.
  • Seventy-six percent of parents believe that the parental controls available in all new video game consoles are useful. Further, parents impose time usage limits on video games more than any other form of entertainment. Eighty-three percent of parents place time limits on video game playing, whereas 75 percent place limits on Internet usage.
  • According to data compiled by the NPD Group, a global market research company, and released by the Entertainment Software Association, the computer and video game industry sold 273 million units in 2009 leading to an astounding $10.5 billion in revenue.
  • The FTA periodically conducts nationwide undercover shops of movie theaters and movie, music and video game retailers. Their most recent survey found that 80 percent of individuals under the age of 17 were turned away when trying to buy or rent M-rated games.

Check out more Infographics on the Technology Channel.


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Nicholas Jackson is a former associate editor at The Atlantic.

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