U.S. children want video games for the holidays | The ESA


The top item on the holiday wish lists of American children between the ages of 10 and 17 is video game-related presents, the ESA said.

A recent survey conducted by the Entertainment Software Association (ESA) showed that 72% of children are seeking video game gifts, closely followed by requests for money or gift cards (70%), clothing and accessories (66%), and electronics or tech items like phones and smartwatches (62%).

However, fewer individuals are looking for physical toys and games, tickets and experiences, arts and crafts, or books, according to the survey findings.

72% of kids want video games for the holidays.

The data revealed that both girls (59%) and boys (86%) intend to request video game-related gifts this season. The top five specific items on their wish lists include game subscriptions (39%), game consoles (38%), game gear and accessories (32%), in-game currency (29%), and physical video games (22%).

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Meanwhile, approximately one in three (32%) adults expressed plans to purchase video game gifts for themselves or others this holiday, increasing to 57% among parents. These adults allocating funds for video game-related presents intend to spend an average of $485 on these gifts.

Adults are planning a lot of spending on games in the holidays.

“More than 212 million Americans play video games regularly, so it comes as no surprise that games are
at the top of this year’s wish lists,” said Stan Pierre-Louis, CEO of the ESA, in a statement. “Whether a family is getting a new console, updating their controllers and headsets or adding to their library with new games and expansion packs, we know video games are a great tool for families to play together and connect during the holiday season and beyond.”

57% of parents plan to give games as gifts for the holidays.

With a focus on ensuring a safe and enjoyable gaming experience, the ESA outlined three fundamental steps for parents before purchasing video game-related items for their children:

  1. Check ESRB Ratings: Parents are urged to review the Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) ratings to determine the appropriateness of games for their children based on age, content descriptors, and interactive elements. This information is visible on both physical game boxes and digital storefronts.
  2. Utilize Parental Controls: Families can use parental controls available on gaming devices to manage gameplay experiences, including filtering games by ESRB age rating, controlling spending, and regulating communication with other players.
  3. Foster Conversations on Responsible Online Behavior: Establishing household rules, discussing appropriate behavior online, and setting clear boundaries on game time and spending are crucial. Parents are encouraged to activate parental controls to block inappropriate online communications and guide their children on interacting with strangers online.

The ESA aims to promote ongoing conversations and awareness around video game engagement within households, offering guidance through resources like the Family Gaming Guide and the ESRB blog. Additionally, the ESA website showcases industry initiatives aimed at safeguarding the gaming community.

Teenage girl enjoying games at home with grandma.

The survey was conducted by Ipsos between September 20 and October 6, 2023. Ipsos interviewed a nationally representative sample of 500 adults aged 18 to 65 and 501 children aged 10 to 17 from various U.S. regions. The statistical margin of error for both adults and children surveyed is approximately plus or minus 5.4 percentage points.

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