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Video gaming in the United States

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

A Marine playing a video game
A US Marine playing Top Gun

Video gaming in the United States is one of the fastest growing entertainment industries in the country. According to a 2010 study released by the Entertainment Software Association, the computer and the video game industry added US $4.9 billion to the economy of the United States.[1] There are some[which?] estimates that by 2015 the worldwide gaming industry will possibly reach $70.1 billion.[needs update][2]

In statistics collected by The ESA for the year 2013, a reported 58% of Americans play video games and the average American household now owns at least one dedicated game console, PC or smartphone.[3] The households that own these items play games most commonly on their Console or PC. 36% of U.S. gamers play on their smart phones.[3] 43% of Video game consumers believe games give them the most value for their money compared to other common forms of entertainment such as movies, or music.[3] In 2011, the average American gamer spent an average of 13 hours per week playing video games.[4] In 2013, almost half of Americans who were gaming more than they did in 2010 spent less time playing board games, watching TV, going to the movies, and watching movies at home.[3] When Americans game, 62% do so with others online or in person yet the other person is more likely to be a friend than a significant other or family member.[3] The most common reason parents play video games with their children is as a fun family activity, or because they are asked to. 52% of parents believe video games are a positive part of their child's life and 71% of parents with children under 18 see gaming as beneficial to mental stimulation or education.[3]

YouTube Encyclopedic

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  • ✪ PC Gaming vs Console Gaming - Which Is Better?
  • ✪ "Using a Controller Isn't PC Gaming" Says Console Peasant
  • ✪ Is Your Brain Too Old For Video Games?
  • ✪ "PC Gaming Is Dead" According To This Console Peasant
  • ✪ "PC Gaming Is NOT WORTH IT" Says SoliDrev The Biased Console Fanboy


Video games have come a long way since the likes of Atari’s “Pong”, a kind of two-dimensional table-tennis game that at the time seemed like an incredible innovation. In the next decade of the 1980s, video games really took off, with titles such as Pac-Man and Donkey Kong becoming household names. These could be played at home on a personal computer, or played on a dedicated games console. In the 70s and 80s such consoles didn’t attract the audiences they have today, although 1977’s Atari 2600 and 1983’s Nintendo Entertainment System were proof for the industry that indeed these machines could be a mainstay in any house. But some people it seems won’t touch a games console. Why is that? That’s what we’ll find out today, in this episode of the Infographics Show, PC Gamers vs Console Gamers. First of all, we are not saying it’s a matter of if you prefer one to the other and don’t crossover from time to time, but it does seem that gamers to an extent have a preference. Let’s take a look at some statistics. The global video games market in 2018 is said to be worth in the region of 82.44 billion dollars. It’s expected to go over 90 billion by the time 2020 comes around. This was according to the website Statistica. A Global Games Market Report shared different results, stating that the entire global games market by 2020 would reach $143.5 billion. The mobile games market alone in 2017 was said to be worth just over $50 billion. As for the PC market and the console market, they were almost neck and neck, with expected revenues for the former being $32.3 billion and the latter $33.3 billion. Such high growth in the industry was mainly down to the Chinese, U.S. and Japanese markets. According to the same report, which was widely cited, it seems PC gaming – including a small part of people playing in the browser – and console gaming will stay neck and neck in terms of market share for the next few years to come. It’s anyone’s guess exactly how many gamers there are in the world. Are we counting someone who bought a console and hardly ever played it, or someone who is glued to their PC day and night. For that reason, it’s difficult to say how many gamers there are out there. We can find some industry statistics that tell us in 2016 there were 1.8 billion active gamers in the world. The 2017 Global Games Market Report tells us that it was 2.2 billion active gamers that year, with the lion’s share of players using mobile and tablet. Again, statistics differ, but it’s thought that more people play games on a PC than a dedicated console. It’s said to be around 62% of gamers use a PC, while 56% use a console. This is not a split. It just means 62% of gamers in the world play on a PC, and some of those will also play games on a console. But why do more people prefer PC-gaming? Well, there are a whole host of reasons we can find. We’ll give you a short rundown: The main reason, and it seems this is the reason why most hardcore gamers prefer the PC, is the power of the machine. Your PC packs a punch in terms of hardware, and this means better graphics and smoother playing. This, however, comes at a cost, and is likely the reason many players are content with what their console provides. Still, you can save some money playing on the PC, too, as you might have to pay extra when using a console to play multiplayer games. It all adds up. Another main reason people prefer the PC, and another way you can save money after paying for your powerful and expensive machine, is by getting your hands on cheaper games. The Steam platform, for instance, regularly has sales that are much more enticing than console game sales. Not only that, but you have a much wider selection of games to buy. The one feather in the console hat here is that some games for, say Playstation, are exclusive to the console so you can’t get them for PC. These games are often very popular. We might also add here that there are PC-only games, too. There are also a bunch of other reasons, such as you can control games on the PC in all kinds of ways. For some games it might be easier to play with a mouse, and if it’s not then just connect your controller. At the same time, when you have a PC you might be able to modify the game, which could mean enhancing graphics or adding special content. Now, let’s look at these super-powerful consoles out there. Yes, we know they are being called the best ever made, but you know full well that not long from now another best ever made will appear on the market and your old console will end up online for sale. That’s not the same with your PC, because it’s easy to upgrade and won’t cost you an arm and a leg. Your PC has staying power. So, in the end all that money you saved buying a console may not be such a good thing when you take all this into account. Over time, especially if you are a dedicated gamer, spending big on a PC might not be such a bad idea. But now let’s take a look at some forums and see what you thought about this. Browsing through various threads where this question was asked, it seems players mirrored much of what we have just said. Most people prefer PC for the freedom of control you have, backwards compatibility, better graphics, modifications, and some say the fact their PC is just more accessible. As for the few that chose console, they said the exclusives for their machine were things they just couldn’t live without. A few other respondents we found said they just liked the simplicity of a console. Another respondent that didn’t really add to the debate, but we like his answer, said, “Started on consoles, grew up on consoles, now getting older on consoles, will die on consoles.” Actually, we could find quite a few people that said they started on consoles but have since moved to PC…and that they would never go back. In fact, it doesn’t matter where you look, it seems PC gaming aficionados give pretty much the same reasons. Perhaps one of the more original points someone made was that he said the PC online gaming community was more mature and less annoying than the often younger players that use consoles. Another person added that the PC community was thriving, welcoming and kind. Just to turn that around, one supporter of console gaming said on PC there are way too many “elitists”. There is actually a big debate out there as to who is the more skilled and mature gamer, with PC gamers seeming to say they take that prize. Some people divide gamers between elites and peasants, but that seems more of a joke. Still, some gamers take it seriously. The best thing we can do now is turn this over to you and get your thoughts on the matter. Which do you prefer? PC games or console games? Let us know in the comments. Also, be sure to check out our other video called Minecraft vs Roblox! Thanks for watching, and, as always, don’t forget to like, share, and subscribe. See you next time!



The average age of a U.S. gamer is 35, the average number of years a U.S. gamer has been playing games is 13, and only 29% of the gamer population is under 18 years old. The American gamer population is 59% male and 41% female. Of those females, women 18 and older account for a greater portion of the population than males younger than 18.[3] The average female video game player is 37 years old, while the average male video game player is 33.[5][6]

Market statistics

The bestselling console video game genres of 2012 were Action, Shooters, and Sports.The PC gaming market's bestselling genres were Role-playing, Strategy, and Casual. For online games the most popular genres are Puzzle/trivia, action/strategy, and casual/social games.[3] While there are many American video game developers that have been producing games for years, Japanese games and companies have regularly been listed in the annual lists of best sellers.[7] The U.S. computer and video game dollar sales growth of 2012 was 14.8 billion dollars, showing a drop of 1.6 billion from the year before. The Unit sales growth featured a similar drop with the report of 188 million units sold from 245.9 in 2011. U.S gaming consumers spent a total of $20.77 billion on the game industry alone and currently hard copies of video games are still dominating in sales compared to digital copies .[3]



The beginning of video games can be traced to the year 1940, when American nuclear physicist Edward Condon designed a computer capable of playing the traditional game Nim. This device would have tens of thousands of people play it even though the computer won 90% of the time. Seven years later an American television pioneer, Thomas T. Goldsmith, Jr., patented an oscilloscope displayed device that challenged players to fire a gun at a target.[8]


At the start of the 1950s another American, Claude Shannon, wrote basic guidelines on programming a chess-playing computer.[8] Although OXO was created in England by the year 1952, the findings and inventions of the Americans described helped make it possible.[9] The U.S. military dove into the computer age with the creation of a game titled Hutspiel. Considered a war game, Hutspiel depicted NATO and Soviet commanders waging war. The IBM 701 computer received programs like Blackjack and Checkers. A later IBM model featured a chess program that was capable of evaluating four ply ahead. The '50s also included the largely forgotten tennis game created by Willy Higinbotham that anticipated the famous game Pong.[8]


The military continued to take part in video gaming in the 1960s when, shortly after the Cuban Missile Crisis The Defense Department created a war game known as STAGE (Simulation of Total Atomic Global Exchange). STAGE was created to be political propaganda that showcased how the U.S. would be victorious in a Thermonuclear war with the Soviet Union.[8] The idea of video games that were usable on televisions was conceived by the engineer Ralph Baer and with the help of a team, Baer completed two successful TV games in this decade. The first interactive media computer game, Spacewar eventually had the future founders of Atari create an arcade game of it titled Computer Space that became the first video arcade game ever released.[8][10]


The 1970s included the birth of the video game console. The first console released was titled Magnavox Odyssey and the foundation of Atari occurred around the same time, marking the start of Pong's development. Upon Pong's completion it become the hottest selling Christmas product of 1975. The evolution of the console was incredibly rapid. A few years after their invention, consoles received microprocessors and programmable ROM cartridge based games, allowing users the ability to change games by simply switching cartridges. Important consoles released at this time were the Telstar, Fairchild Channel F., and Atari 2600. Arcade games also received advances with the game Space Invaders, which allowed high scores to be tracked and displayed. A year later the game Asteroids built on the idea and gave high scorers the ability to enter initials by their scores.[8][10]


The technological advances of the late '70s led to the introduction of the Intellivision in 1980, which featured better video game graphics but a higher price tag. In two years, the Commodore 64 changed the market by not only being the most powerful console of the time but also the cheapest. With the lowered prices, popularity of the video game industry continued to grow and the first video game magazine, Electronic Games, was printed. This decade featured the start of 3D games and the release of the Nintendo Entertainment System, Master System, Game Boy, Sega Genesis, Atari 7800, and the lesser known TurboGrafx-16, which featured games stored on compact discs. This time period was almost considered the second generation of console video gaming in the United States but a massive recession hit the industry from 1983 to 1985. This recession was called the North American video game crash of 1983.[8][10]


The early '90s saw the introduction of the Super NES, Sony PlayStation, Nintendo 64, Tamagotchi, and Dreamcast, whose sales brought the damaged video game industry back to life. During this decade, the PlayStation was considered the most popular console when its 20 millionth unit sold. In 1993, the video game industries' first debate began and its focus was on violence found in video games. This debate fueled Senator Joseph Lieberman's desire to ban all violent games and from this investigation the Entertainment Software Rating Board was created in 1994; giving all games a printed suggested age rating on their packaging.[8][10][11]


The 2000s brought PlayStation even more popularity when its second console had such a high American consumer demand that it actually affected the console's availability to be purchased during the first few shipments. Microsoft and Nintendo also saw this popularity with the release of their own next generation consoles. Consoles up until this point were controlled by handheld devices called game controllers that featured an assortment of buttons and joysticks.[10] In 2006 a revolutionary system to control games with actual body movements would appear.[8] The popularity and advancement of the video game industry continues to grow in the United States to this day.[8][10]


Within the 2010s, a larger shift towards casual and mobile gaming on smartphones and tablets became significant, in part due to a wider demographic of video game players drawing in more female and older players.[12] Continuing from the previous decade, a large number of independently-developed video games emerged as games on par with those from major publishers, made easier to promote and distribute through digital storefronts on personal computers, consoles, and mobile store markets. All three major console manufacturers released next generation consoles: Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Wii U, and Nintendo Switch.


Education training

Video game designers are required to have a variety of skills and innate abilities that feature a vast amount of training in computer graphics, animation and software design. On top of these skills a successful designer needs a powerful imagination and knowledge of the various consoles' operating systems. Programming and hardware essentials are a must, considering games are sophisticated computer software. To get into the field many colleges offer classes, certificates, and degrees in computer programming, computer engineering, software development, computer animation, and computer graphics. Internships or apprenticeships are important to get hands on experience. If possible an aspiring American game designer should conduct freelance work. There is even the possibility of designing a game independently, using a wide array of available software. Building an independent game can be risky yet the finished product gives employers insight on what the designer is capable of; just like a portfolio.[13]

Job market

The U.S. video game industry continues to function as a vital source of employment. Currently, video game companies directly and indirectly employ more than 120,000 people in 34 states. The average compensation for direct employees is $90,000, resulting in total national compensation of $2.9 billion.[14]

The current job market for game design in the US is extremely competitive, however it is soon expected to have a 32% increase in software publishing jobs, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.[15] An American game designer salary depends on where the designer works, who they work for, and what kind of designer they are. A good starting place on finding average salaries is International Game Developers Association's entry level salary report that lists $50,000 to $80,000 annually; averaging $57.600. A closer comparison to what a US Game developing job could potentially start at is the Learn Direct's report of $37,000 yearly.[13]


As with most forms of entertainment, video games and video gaming is rife with controversies in the United States. Such controversies primarily target the presence of violence which dominated many early video games and continues to be a major component of many games today.

A notable event regarding violence in video games appeared from 1997–1999, during which the state of Arizona attempted to make the selling of violent material to minors illegal. Even though it was never approved, Wal-Mart banned over fifty video games and The Columbine School shooting of 1999 changed the ideas of the debate. Instead of the argument being fixated on morality a new theory was created that tied violent video games to the desensitization and increased aggression of American children.[11][16] This debate paired with Columbine caused the Sega game company to stop the release of a light gun with the Dreamcast.[10]

In 2010 the Court case Schwarzenegger V. Entertainment Merchants Association (now titled Brown v. Entertainment Merchants Association) struck down a recent California law that banned the sale of certain violent video games to children without parental supervision. The Court ruled that video games were protected under the First Amendment of the Constitution, just like other forms of media. Arizona and California are not the only states that have attempted to pass laws on violent video games and these laws have been tested repeatedly in federal courts over the past decade and all have been struck down.[11][17]

Currently 85% of American parents are aware of the ESRB rating system and many are finding parental controls on video game consoles useful.[3]

See also


  1. ^ Stephen E. Siwek. "Video Games in the 21st Century: The 2012 Report" (PDF). Retrieved December 1, 2012.
  2. ^ Patrick Rishe (April 18, 2012). "Trends in the Multi-Billion Dollar Video Game Industry: Q/A with Gaming Champ Fatal1ty". Forbes. Retrieved December 1, 2012.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j 2013 Essential Facts about the Computer and Video Game Industry Archived February 17, 2014, at the Wayback Machine. N.p.: Entertainment Software Association, 2013. Entertainment Software Association. Web. October 9, 2013.
  4. ^ "Time spent gaming on the rise - NPD". GameSpot. Archived from the original on October 23, 2010. Retrieved May 3, 2011.
  5. ^ "Wayback Machine" (PDF). January 12, 2018. Retrieved April 11, 2018.
  6. ^ Frank, Allegra (April 29, 2016). "Take a look at the average American gamer in new survey findings". Polygon. Retrieved April 11, 2018.
  7. ^ "Video games that get lost in translation - Technology & science - Games | NBC News". MSNBC. April 28, 2004. Retrieved December 1, 2012.
  8. ^ a b c d e f g h i j "Video Game History Timeline." ICHEG. International Center for the History of Electronic Games, n.d. Web. October 10, 2013.
  9. ^ Cohen, D. S. 'OXO Aka Noughts and Crosses - The First Video Game"," ""n.d. Web. October 15, 2013. Retrieved on November 5, 2013
  10. ^ a b c d e f g Kudler, Amanda. "Timeline: Video Games."," "Infoplease", 2007. Retrieved on November 3, 2013.
  11. ^ a b c "Video Games On Trial: Part Four -- In Summation, Looking Towards November 2". G4. Retrieved May 3, 2011.
  12. ^ Leonov, Ievgen (December 29, 2014). "Mobile and Social Gaming Industry: 2014 Highlights". Gamasutra. Retrieved October 5, 2015.
  13. ^ a b Crosby, Tim. "How Becoming a Video Game Designer Works"," "HowStuffWorks", n.d. Retrieved on November 5, 2013
  14. ^ . "Economic Impact", "ESA", 2010, Retrieved on November 3, 2013.
  15. ^ ""Software Developers: Job Outlook"." "U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics", July 18, 2012, Retrieved on November 3, 2013.
  16. ^ Cornelius, Doug (November 4, 2010). "Violent Video Games and the Supreme Court". Wired. Retrieved May 3, 2011.
  17. ^ Kennedy, Kyle. "A Look At the Renewed National Debate On Violent Video Games." Ledger Media Group, July 20, 2013. Web. October 10, 2013.
This page was last edited on 13 April 2019, at 00:24
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