One-Third of Gamers Now Exclusively Play on Mobile Devices

In 2023, gaming reached a new pinnacle of popularity, with nearly two-thirds of the U.S. population engaging in the activity. 

The Entertainment Software Association (ESA), in collaboration with YouGov, released its annual Essential Facts Report, revealing fascinating insights into the gaming habits of Americans. The survey highlighted that 61% of the U.S. population is actively gaming, translating to approximately 190 million active players ranging from five to ninety years old.

Interestingly, this year’s report shows a slight decline in the percentage of gamers compared to last year, where 65% of Americans were reported as gamers. However, this does not necessarily indicate a reduction in the number of gamers. For the first time, the survey included children as young as eight, with parental supervision, and adults reporting on gaming activities for children as young as five. This broader demographic likely accounts for the apparent decrease, as younger children might game less frequently than their older counterparts and adults.

A significant shift observed in this year’s data is the surge in mobile-only gamers. Previously, this group accounted for 12% of the gaming population, but in 2023, it has grown to 31%, or nearly one-third of all gamers. Moreover, mobile gaming participation overall has increased, with 78% of gamers playing on mobile devices compared to 64% last year. This rise can be attributed not only to the increasing popularity of mobile games but also to the inclusion of younger players in the survey, revealing a broader spectrum of mobile gaming habits.

The report also uncovered various demographic insights. The gender distribution among gamers is relatively balanced, with men making up 53% and women 46% of active players. By age, 79% of Generation Alpha (ages 5-15) are active gamers, followed by 76% of Gen-Z (ages 16-25), 65% of Millennials (ages 26-40), 53% of Gen-X (ages 41-55), and 47% of Boomers (ages 56-75). Puzzle games emerged as the most popular genre, particularly among older players, while younger gamers gravitated towards action, arcade, and shooter games.

Video games have secured a spot in the top three favorite entertainment activities, alongside listening to music and watching TV. They have surpassed traditional pastimes such as reading, socializing in person, and watching sports. Gamers reported playing for relaxation and enjoyment, with younger players more likely to game for social interaction and competition. Additionally, 80% of gamers expressed their intention to vote in the 2024 election, highlighting the engaged and active nature of this demographic.

Written by Sophie Blake


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