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US is the world’s biggest video game market with 165 million players


According to the Entertainment Software Association, people in the United States spent just shy of $25 billion on video games, gaming hardware, and various accessories in 2011. That’s roughly the game amount of revenue that the entire video game industry generated worldwide back in 2004. 2012’s been a year of upheaval, though. People are spending less on video games at retailers, devoting their time and dollars to cheaper downloadable games on mobile devices and PCs. Have things changed dramatically in the past twelve months?

Despite many significant changes, one thing remains the same at the end of 2012: The United States remains the financial core of video game industry in the western world. A new study compiled by Game Track found that US citizens spend more time playing and more of their income on video games than anyone else.

The study, which surveyed 6000 people in each of five countries and was conducted with the help of Ipsos nMediaCT, found that nearly 70 percent of Americans, around 165 million people, play video games. That’s compared to nearly 50 percent of French citizens (around 29 million people), and just above 30 percent of Germany and UK citizens.

What’s telling is that there isn’t a significant divide between adults and children playing video games in the US.  Game Track’s study looked at breakdowns of devoted gamers. This wasn’t determining what types of games they played, just what format they played on: Online games, mobile games, or packaged games for PC or consoles. While slightly more than 20 percent of children below 18 years old play games consume games in all three venues, just below 20 percent of adults do the same, showing that the core gaming audience in the US isn’t age specific. Hence why it appears to be so lucrative.

Online games are now the dominant force in American gaming overall. While more than 40 percent of those 165 million US gamers play packaged games at this point, nearly 50 percent are focused on online games. Naturally there’s crossover there. Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 is both chiefly a retail packaged game and an online game, but there are far more online-only games playable on PC, through social networks, browsers, and as downloadable titles, than there are retail games released.

What about the rest of the world? Video games are increasingly a global business rather than the purview of a few dominant markets. The Arab gaming market, for example, is expected to grow from $900 million in 2011 to more than $3 billion by 2016. American tastes may define the game industry today but that won’t last forever.

Source: GamesIndustry International

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