AOL Survey: 46% of Consumers Have Played Video Games

LOS ANGELES -- Almost half of U.S. consumers between the ages of 12 and 55 have played an online, video, cell phone or PDA game, a surveyed released Monday and commissioned by the online giant America Online shows. The news comes as the 2005 Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) gets underway in Los Angeles this week. With new gaming consoles on the horizon from Sony, Nintendo and Microsoft, the US$10 billion a year videogame industry is hoping its product finally achieves mainstream appeal.

Of the 47% surveyed between the ages of 12-to-55 who said they have played games, 79% affirmed that they have played video games with their families, a mark AOL sees as indicative of games not only going mainstream but also becoming entertainment for the whole family.

When looking at the 18-to-55-year-old age range, 39% of U.S. consumers have played a game on a computer, console or cell phone, the survey found, indicating that digital entertainment is starting to shed its "just for kids" stigma and become popular with adults.

AOLis survey also looked into the behaviors and attitudes of respondents. Among the 18-to-55-year-olds, 10% of them admitted to being "addicted" to playing games (no word on how many are hooked on World of Warcraft) and 27 percent acknowledged at least one all-night session playing their favorites. Thirty-three percent said theyive missed a favorite TV show to play a game while 19% skipped a meal.

The teens admitted to spending seven hours a week playing games, as much time as they said they spend studying. 32% of those who play games on cell phones said theyive done so at school while 20% of the adults admitted theyive played cell phone or PDA games at work. Among the entire survey pool, 33% of those who play cell phone or PDA games said they have purchased one.

Looking at the attitudes of the larger 12-to-55-year-old group, 47% think there is too much violence in games while 40% felt there is too much sexual content. Fifty-seven percent believe that violent games lead to increased violence in the United States and 66% would like the government to ban the sale of violent or sexually explicit games to anyone under the age of 18.

AOLis game unit conducted the poll between April 21 and May 1, using a random sample of 801 adults and 204 teenagers drawn from across North America. The company said they margin of error is plus or minus 3%, with a higher margin when looking at subgroups.