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E3 News: Survey Finds Americans Playing More Games, Watching Movies & TV Less

Participants and attendees at E3 are obviously in the right game as a new survey reveals that computer and videogames are capturing increasing amounts of Americans' leisure time at the expense of television and movies.

The data from the Entertainment Software Assoc. (ESA) annual consumer survey shows 52% of gamers who are spending more time playing games report watching less television and, as a result, 47% go to movies less, and 41% watch movies at home less often.

"What we're seeing is that consumers are choosing video and computer games as their choice of entertainment for the 21st century," said Douglas Lowenstein, president of the ESA, the industry trade group representing video and computer game publishers. "Computer and videogames have made tremendous advances over the past decade, both creatively and technologically, drawing more people into immersive and complex virtual worlds," said Lowenstein. "The next 10 years will be even brighter for the industry as the technology and artistry of games continues to establish new levels of excellence and sophistication, and the audience grows even broader and more diverse."

The data was March 12, 2004, at the opening of E3Expo 2004, the 10th anniversary of the world's premiere interactive entertainment trade event. To mark the occasion, the ESA also asked gamers what they consider to be the three biggest advancements made by the game industry in the past 10 years. About 91% said the increased quality of game graphics represents the biggest advancement. Other responses included: the increase in the variety of content (37%); the introduction of multiplayer game playing (27%); and the introduction of better storylines and more character development into games (28%).

With 53%of all game players reporting they will be playing games as much or more 10 years ago as they do today, ESA also asked respondents to pick the three most important goals for the industry in the coming decade. Not surprisingly, the number one goal (87%) was to reduce the price of games. Other goals included: offering additional levels, characters and other content in games (53%); creating more games for women (42%); relying less on licensed content and more on original stories (36%); offering more games for purchase via download (21%); and making more games playable online (17%).

Additional survey highlights include:

* Console Player Demographics: 75% of console game players are male and 25% are female. 46% are under 18 years old, 35% are 18 to 35, 11% are 36-45 years old and 8% are 46+.

* Computer Player Demographics: 61% of computer game players are male, while 39% are female. 36% are under 18 years old, 26% are 18 to 35, 14% are 36-45 years old, and 25% are 46+.

* Buyer Demographics: The average age of a game buyer is 36.

* Growth in Online Games: 43% of game players say they play games online one or more hours per week, up from 37% last year and 31% in 2002. 40% of online game players are women.

* Types of Online Games Played Most Often: Game players say that they most often play: puzzle/board/trivia/card games (54.7%); action/sports games (21.1%); Shockwave/Flash games (13.1%); and persistent multiplayer universe (7.8%).

* Parents' Opinions of Games: 61% of parents believe games are a positive part of their children's lives.

* Parental Involvement: Parents are present 87% of the time that games are purchased or rented, and 92% of parents say they monitor the content of the games their children are playing. (Parents with children under 18 who also own a game console or computer used to play games.)

The ESA also released its annual guide to 2004 industry sales, demographics and usage data, ESSENTIAL FACTS ABOUT THE COMPUTER AND VIDEO GAME INDUSTRY, at E3Expo. The booklet, which contains additional information from the ESA's consumer survey, can be found at www.theESA.com. The ESA's annual consumer survey was conducted by Ipsos-Insight. The study is the most in-depth and targeted survey of its kind, gathering data from almost 1,400 nationally representative households that have been identified as owning either or both a videogame console or a personal computer used to run entertainment software.

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 % of the $7 billion in entertainment software sales in the U.S. in 2003, and billions more in export sales of American-made entertainment software.Contacts

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