Average Gamer More Likely to Be Meditating, Vegetarian Thirtysomething: New Survey

Everyone Loves 'Mario Kart'

A new survey of more than 4,000 Americans for the Entertainment Software Association (ESA), a video game industry advocacy group, paints an intriguing and nuanced portrait of the average gamer.

Designed, in part, to debunk pop culture misconceptions about video game players, "2019 Essential Facts About the Computer and Video Game Industry" highlights the diverse demographics of gamers, which span a range of ages, genders and lifestyles, as a counterpoint to the white boy, teenaged, virgin, basement-dwelling stereotype—though there are probably plenty of those too. The survey finds that a full 65 percent of American adults play video games, placing gamers in 75 percent of American households. The average gamer is 33 years old.

ESA asked gamers why, how, and what they play. Here’s what we found out: https://t.co/gPtAN86KpC #VideoGameFacts pic.twitter.com/vfbHLpBy9T

— Entertainment Software Association (@theESA) May 9, 2019

"The study shows that these individuals represent a cross-section of the American population and are diverse, active, engaged in their communities, and see video games as a positive force in society," the ESA said in their press release. More than demographic stereotypes, the study works to counter narratives surrounding gamer laziness or disengagement from society, aggregating statistics like gamer sleep habits, travel plans and exercise routines—all of which roughly track with the average American. Approximately commensurate with turnout in the 2016 presidential election, 59 percent of gamers say they will vote in 2020, with 37 percent identifying as Democrats, 33 percent as Republicans and 18 percent as independents.

More intriguing is where gamers differ from the average American. Two of the widest gaps in reported lifestyle choices include meditation and vegetarianism. A full 32 percent of gamers claim to meditate regularly, compared to 27 percent for all Americans, while gamer vegetarianism stands at 17 percent to a national 13 percent.

The survey also breaks down specific demographic categories of gamers, revealing the gender split among millennial gamers between men, 69 percent of whom most often play console games, and young women, who play mobile games at the same rate. But both love racing games, with Mario Kart and Need for Speed cited as examples in the most popular genre category for millennial men and women.

That gender split largely disappears in older gamers, with men and women Gen Xers preferring mobile games. Boomers (55-64) mostly prefer card and casino games, with men playing on PC and women playing on their smartphones. While expressing a high preference for casual games, a quarter of Boomer gamers report a long history of gaming, stretching back at least 25 years. Gamers are gamers for life.