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Parents play video games, too!

Parents play video games, too!

Monday - January 30, 2006
The Entertainment Software Association (ESA) has released the results of a study which shows 35% of American parents play video games. According to the study, 80% of these "gamer parents" play games with their kids, and 66% feel that playing these games have brought their families closer together.

What I found to be particularly interesting about the study was that 3/4 of the surveyed parents (gamers and non-gamers) claim to be regular voters with already formed opinions about governmental regulation of video games. While the surveyed parents were split evenly politically (36% Dem, 35% Repub), the vast majority (85%) say that they should take the responsiblity in montoring childrens' exposure to games, not the government, retailers, or publishers. So, all of those politicians who think taking a stand on video games is an easy way to look good in the eyes of voters, well, they may want to start rethinking that.

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New Study Shows Thirty-Five Percent of American Parents Play Video Games

For Immediate Release

Contact: Jeff Woodbury
(202) 223-2400

Washington, DC – January 26, 2006 – Thirty-five percent of American parents say they play computer and video games, according to an unprecedented national survey released today by the Entertainment Software Association (ESA) and conducted by Peter D. Hart Research Associates. Among these “gamer parents”, 80% report that they play video games with their children, and two-thirds (66%) feel that playing games has brought their families closer together.

“This first-ever study of ‘gamer parents’ dramatizes the increasing and positive role that video games play in American family entertainment," said Douglas Lowenstein, president of the ESA, the trade group representing U.S. computer and video game publishers. “The data provide further evidence dispelling the myth that game playing is dominated by teens and single twenty-somethings. It tells us that parents see games both as an enjoyable activity on their own, and one that allows them to engage with their children as well."

Gamer parents (defined as parents who play computer and video games but do not solely play desktop card or children’s games), were also found to be regular voters and have strong views about government regulation of games. Three-quarters (73%) of gamer parents say they are regular voters, with party affiliation at 36% Democrat and 35% Republican, similar to the overall national averages. A vast majority (85 percent) of all voter parents (both gamer and non-gamer) say that they -- not government, retailers, or game publishers --should take the most responsibility in monitoring childrens’ exposure to games that may have content that is inappropriate for minors. Further, by a nearly two to one margin (60% vs. 36%) parents agree that it is not the role of government to regulate game sales in an attempt to protect kids from exposure to violent and/or sexual video game content. "This research suggests that proposals to regulate video games may backfire with American voters who, unlike some elected officials, appear to fully understand that they should control the entertainment that comes into their homes," Lowenstein said.

The new study also revealed the following information about gamer parents.

• The typical gamer parent is 37 years old, and almost half of this group (47%) are women.

• Forty-four percent of gamer parents say they play games on both computers and game consoles, while 20% say they play on consoles only and 34% say they play on computers only.

• Parent gamers most often play card games (34%), followed by puzzle, board and “game show” games (26%), sports games (25%) action games (20%), strategy games (20%) and downloadable games (18%).

• The typical “gamer parent” has been playing games for an average of 13 years, with one-third reporting having played for 20 years or more.

• The average gamer parent spends 19 hours a month playing games. Gamer parents with child gamers in their households spend 9.1 hours a month playing games with their kids.

• Eighty-five percent of the children of gamer parents also play computer and video games themselves.

• Thirty-six percent of gamer parents introduced their children to games, while a quarter (23 percent) of gamer parents began playing because their children were playing. Twenty-seven percent of parents and children starting playing games around the same time.

This survey, conducted by Peter D. Hart Research Associates, Inc., in November, 2005, sampled 501 nationally representative parents who have children between the ages of 2 and 17 in their households. For the purposes of this survey, “gamer parents” is defined as those parents who play computer or video games, but who do not solely play desktop card games or children’s games.

The ESA is the U.S. association dedicated to serving the business and public affairs needs of the companies publishing interactive games for video game consoles, handheld devices, personal computers, and the Internet. ESA members collectively account for more than 90 percent of the $7 billion in entertainment software sales in the U.S. in 2005, and billions more in export sales of entertainment software. For more information about the ESA, please visit www.theESA.com.

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