New Study Reveals Games Have Gone Mainstream

— AOL(R) Games Reveals Video Games Are a Family Affair; Approximately Four Out of Five (79%) Say They Have Played Video Games with Their Families — Video Games Are Not Just For Kids and Teens Anymore; 39% of Adults (18-55) Have Played Games On Their Computer, Console or Cell Phone — A Quarter of Gamers (12-55) Admit To Playing All Night Long; About A Third of Teen Gamers Would Prefer To Have A Video or Online Video Game If Stuck An A Deserted Island

Move over movie night and make room for video games. According to a new scientific survey commissioned by AOL(R) Games, video games have evolved in the popularity to rival other traditional family-fun activities. The survey found that approximately four out of five (79%) “gamers” ages 12 – 55 have played video games with their families. Correspondingly, the survey also found that nearly half (46%) of all U.S. consumers, ages 12-55, have played an online, video or cell/PDA game.

“Given the growing interest in online gaming and video game content we see at AOL Games, these large numbers certainly were expected and confirm our belief that gaming on all platforms is becoming a bigger part of people’s lives,” said Ralph Rivera, Vice President and General Manager of AOL Games. “This interest has gone beyond just playing games to accessing reviews, hints and cheats and is a big reason why we created our own series of original video games initiatives and other exclusive programming.”

The study, a nationwide telephone survey of more than 1,005 Americans between the ages of 12 – 55 uncovered additional surprising results about consumer’s attitudes and behavior regarding video games.

Games – They’re Not Just For Teens Anymore

Games, which have traditionally been a teenage pastime, have infiltrated the adult world. The survey found that almost two in five (39%) adults, ages 18-55, have played games either on their computer, console or cell phone/PDA. Furthermore, about one-in-ten (10%) of those adults admit that they have become addicted and more than a quarter (27%) who play games said they have played games all night until the sun came up. The survey also found that about one-third (34%) of 12-55 year olds that play online games have purchased a computer game in the last six months and out of all gamers, 18% of them have purchased an online or video game mainly because it features a movie character such as Spider-Man or James Bond. While Americans are engaging in video games more than ever, the survey also uncovered critical attitudes regarding the amount of sex and violence in games. About half (47%) of Americans (age 12-55) say there is too much violence in online gaming while slightly less (40%) say there is too much sexual content. More than half (57%) think that violence in video games contributes to an increased amount of violence in our country. Furthermore, about two-thirds (66%) would go as far as saying that the government should ban the selling of violent or sexually explicit video games to those under the age of 18. The survey also uncovered that many would prefer to bring their favorite video/online games with them if marooned on a desert island for a week. In fact, when people were asked if they had to choose between an iPod(R) or MP3 player, TiVo(R), DVD player, cell phone/PDA, Internet/online games or video games for entertainment on the island, more teens responded that they would rather have their online or video games (34%) than their iPod device (26%). Interestingly, those ages 45-55 years say they would most prefer online games (30%) if stuck on a desert island over other electronic devices such as DVD players, iPods and TiVo devices. The survey also found that playing online games is changing people’s lifestyle — in some cases by replacing their daily activities, including sleeping and eating. Those gamers surveyed admitted to having missed a favorite TV show (33%) to play an online or video game, skipping a meal (19%) and even playing games all night until the sun came up (25%). Have online and video games become a homework procrastination aid? The survey found that teens spend an average of three hours playing online games and four hours playing video games – equal to the average amount of time they spend studying per week (7 hours). The survey found that online card games are hotter than ever. This category is the most popular on the Web and is preferred by 66% of all online game players. Another interesting fact uncovered in the online gaming space is that many online gamers have moved beyond casual games. Almost one in five (18%) of online gamers have played a Massive Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game (MMORPG) such as The Matrix Online or Everquest and about one-third (31%) have heard of these games. The survey also found that thanks to advances in mobile games, gaming during work and school is on the rise, with 13% of those surveyed, ages 12 – 55, saying they play games on their cell phone or PDA. About one-third (32%) of teenagers who play cell phone games report playing them at school, while one in five adults (20%) who play games on their cell phone or PDA do so at work. In addition, among cell or PDA game players age 12 -55, about one-third, (33%), have purchased a game for their cell phone or PDA. This AOL Games Poll was conducted by telephone April 21-May 1, 2005 among a random sample of 1,005 (801 adults age 18-55 and 204 teenagers age 12-17 throughout America. The margin of error for the entire sample is approximately +/-3 percentage points. The margin of error is higher for subgroups. Surveys are subject to other error sources as well, including sampling coverage error, recording error, and respondent error. Schulman, Ronca, & Bucuvalas (SRBI) Public Affairs designed the survey and conducted all interviewing. *12-55 year olds polled AOL Games provides access to unique and exclusive high-speed and narrowband programming features for online, PC and console gamers, and provides online games to approximately 10 million AOL members a month, who average more than three hours each month in AOL Games. America Online, Inc. is a wholly owned subsidiary of Time Warner Inc. Based in Dulles, Virginia, America Online is the world’s leader in interactive services, Web brands, Internet technologies and ecommerce services. America Online, Inc. Lori Dolginoff, 212-652-6363 or Billy Kenny, 646-805-2025

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