Americans Rate Home Video/Computer Games Most Fun Activity for Third Consecutive Year
"There are many reasons why sixty percent of all Americans - or about 145 million people - play computer and video games, and the fact that they are a social activity is chief among them," said Douglas Lowenstein president of the IDSA. "As home computers have become more ubiquitous and video game consoles have spread into millions of new homes, the user base has broadened to include Moms and Dads, husbands and wives, brothers and sisters, friends and neighbors. In short, everyone is playing computer and video games, and they're playing them together."
Indeed, the fact that interactive games are a social activity that can be enjoyed with family and friends was one of the top five reasons (37 percent) that frequent users cited for liking games. More than half also said that games are a great stress reliever (55 percent). Other top reasons included the fact that games are challenging (78 percent), they provide a lot of entertainment value for the money (49 percent) and they are engrossing (39 percent).
Most Fun Activity Three Years in a Row
The study also found that for the third consecutive year, an astonishing 35 percent of all Americans identified video and computer games as the most fun entertainment activity. A distant second was watching television (18 percent), then surfing the Internet (15 percent), reading books (13 percent), going out to the movies (11 percent), renting movies (6 percent) and lastly, pay-per-view television (0.5 percent).
Other Survey Highlights
Of the frequent users who play computer games, 28 percent are under eighteen years old, 30 percent are between 18 and 35 years old and 42 percent are over 35 years old. Of the frequent users who play on game consoles, 42 percent at under eighteen years old, 37 percent are between 18 and 35 years old and 21 percent are over 35 years old.
Video and computer games were predicted by frequent users to be a close second behind the Internet as the most popular form of entertainment in ten years. The Internet, including Internet games, topped the list with 31 percent, computer and video games with 28 percent, DVD/VCR movies with 21 percent, television with 11 percent, and movies in the theatres, pay-per-view television, reading books and audio CD's all under 4 percent.
For the third consecutive year, computer owners say they use their computers more for playing games than for any other application, including word processing, web-surfing and email.
Ninety-seven percent of all people who actually purchase computer games, and 87 percent of those who purchase console games, are 18 years old or older. Of those under 18 who purchase games, 84 percent say they get their parents permission before doing so.
The annual survey was conducted by the Custom Research Division of the NPD Group for the IDSA. The study is the most in-depth and targeted survey of its kind, gathering data from more than 1,621 nationally representative households that have been identified as owning either or both a video game console or a personal computer used to run entertainment software.
The IDSA is the U.S. association exclusively dedicated to serving the business and public affairs needs of companies that publish video and computer games for video game consoles, personal computers, and the Internet. IDSA members collectively account for more than 90 percent of the $6.1 billion in entertainment software sales in the United States in 1999, and billions more in export sales of American-made entertainment software. The IDSA offers services to interactive entertainment software publishers including a global anti-piracy program, owning the Electronic Entertainment Expo trade show, business and consumer research, government relations and First Amendment and intellectual property protection efforts.