digital nation - life on the virtual frontier

When Virtual Life Is Better

When it comes to compulsive gamers, we need to ask the tough questions about real life. James Paul Gee is a leading proponent of developing video games for education and a professor of literacy studies at Arizona State University. His most recent book is Good Video Games and Good Learning.

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The Game Industry

Video gaming in the U.S. is simply huge, both as an activity and an industry. A whopping 97% of American teens aged 12 to 17 play video games using the Internet, personal computers, consoles or hand-held devices, and half of them do so every day. Adults do it too. In 2008, the average age of gamers was 35. And collectively, gamers in the U.S. fueled $11.7 billion in computer and video game sales in 2008.

  • In the first six months of 2008, the top-selling console was the Wii, with 3.5 million units sold. PlayStation 3 was in second place, with 1.6 million sold, and Xbox 360 third with 1.34 million
  • In 2008, U.S. computer and video game software sales grew 22.9 percent to $11.7 billion – more than quadrupling game software sales since 1996.
  • This year, Nielsen reported the hottest video gaming June on record -- with console usage up 21 percent from last year, with users clocking in an average of 768 minutes per month. And that's just console games.
  • World of Warcraft was the most played game in the U.S. in 2008 -- 671 minutes per week


  • The ESA's 2008 Sales, Demographic and Usage Data: Essential Facts about the Computer and Video Game Industry [PDF]
  • Nielsen's lists of top PC, mobile, and game platforms of 2008

posted February 2, 2010

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