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Friday, May 10, 2019

Millennial Males Only Demographic Where Majority Play Non-Casual Console Games

By LUDWIG VON KOOPA - Guess that's KoopaTV's target demographic.

Everyone's favourite videogame lobby group, the Entertainment Software Association (ESA), released their newest demographic report on the United States game industry: 2019 Essential Facts About the Computer and Video Game Industry. (It's available for free!) To clarify, the essential facts are dated for the year 2019. There aren't 2019 essential facts in it. It's only 20 pages long, after all, and most of the information is presented in infographic-style pictures.

As the ESA has been doing for many years, their number one priority is to spin their demographic data to try and break the stereotype that gamers are mostly young males. Their number two priority is to demonstrate that parents know what their kids are doing when they play and that they have the kids under control. And their number three priority appears to be showing that gamers are well-adjusted individuals and not just locked in their room staring at a monitor all day and night.

So their top-line executive summary figures are that there's a 54–46% male–female split, 90% of parents pay attention to their kids’ play, and gamers are slightly more likely than the average American to have a creative hobby, such as writing.

But then you dig into the details of those numbers and it's clear that they continue to have a much broader definition of gamer than what the general people associate with being a gamer... and the stereotype is still true if you exclude casual smartphone play.

Video Game Industry America age gender group millennial gen x boomer favorite game genres systems
Click on the image to see it at a readable size.
Essentially, note the “most often play ___ games” stat for each group.

I think this part of the report (reproduced above with some details omitted for brevity) summarises what I'm getting at. Everyone's favourite super-genre, except for the male Millennials, is casual. Women play on their smartphones, while other dudes are Baby Boomers playing Solitaire on their computer and they're considered a gamer by the ESA.

I know it's in the ESA's best interest to be as broad as possible and they aren't elitist in what they do and don't consider a gamer, but I can tell you that Monopoly-playing granny doesn't give herself a “gamer” label. In terms of what this site cares about, console gaming (and maybe some PC), it's clearly still dominated by young males. And that's the people who will actually go around saying they're gamers as a primary hobby, rather than a shallow time waster on their phone.

Here's another sort of interesting point: There's a section on political affiliations. 37% of those surveyed consider themselves to be a Democrat, 33% Republican, 18% Independent, and 12% Other. In 2015, I wrote an article about the ESA's Essential Facts that was dedicated to gamers’ political self-identification, and the numbers there were 38% Democrat, 38% Republican, and 24% Independent. That's pretty much the same as this. For comparison, a recent Ipsos poll identified 36% of those surveyed consider themselves to be a Democrat, 26% a Republican, 14% Independent, and 7% Other. (Ipsos was the polling company that did the ESA's research.) I conclude that this broad definition of gamers is more Republican than the average American, whatever good that is.

Shame they didn't ask about liberal vs. conservative, because 48% of gamers self-identified as conservative back then and that was quite surprising.

Curiously, 80% of gamers in the 2015 survey said they'd vote in the 2016 presidential election. Only 59% are saying they're certain they'll vote in the 2020 presidential election. I guess coming out to vote against Hillary Clinton and her radical anti-gaming legislative history really drove turnout. It also probably means that people look at President Donald John Trump's statements on violent videogames and rightly think nothing of them.

Anyway, none of this is saying that if you're not a Millennial male, you must be a Candy Crush casual poser. That's just what the medians say, but obviously there's millions of people who can't be classified by the median. And if you're on this site and you're one of those people, then I'm very happy for you!

If you ever want to add “writing” to your list of creative hobbies and not disappoint the ESA's portrayal of gamers, then you should consider applying to be a content writer for KoopaTV! It's fun and fits the definition of a hobby. Plus, you can be a male, a female, some dysphoric thing in-between, young, old, whatever. As for the author, he very clearly looks down on the casual gaming genre. By the way, while there aren't 2019 facts in the report, there is a wealth of information not covered in this article, so please feel free to go through the report and comment in the comments section below about whatever interests you.

You can also compare this to the 2016 Essential Facts survey, which got a mention on KoopaTV for the genre preferential breakdown.
KoopaTV later cites the data in this report around ESRB rating usage among parents.
The 2020 Essential Facts report is out! How have things changed? How have they stayed the same? Find out!
By 2021's Essential Facts report, the ESA is no longer breaking out the differences between men and women.


  1. Excellent write up. It seemed in while trying to subvert stereotypes with good intentions they sort of accidentally proved that some stereotypes are true. It's a shame men still dominate the non-casual gaming categories but some of us girls are out there thankfully.

    Also the baby boomer part made me lol. My parents do indeed love some virtual card games...

    1. Welcome (back?) to the KoopaTV comments section!

      I'm definitely happy for the girls that are out there that play more than just casual games. I want more!

      I admit that I used to be a Solitaire junkie back on Windows 95 and then Windows XP. The Windows 7 Solitaire wasn't great so I stopped being a junkie (still played it).
      Windows 10 doesn't even have it and instead has some adware Windows Solitaire Collection.
      But boomers probably don't have Windows 10...!


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