If you have ever matched jelly beans and gumdrops on your mobile device, chances are, you are not alone.
According to the 2014 Essential Facts About the Computer and Video Game Industry report, which the Entertainment Software Association released last week, 181.3 million Americans play video games. That is more than the number of Americans who own cats in this country.
Video games are ubiquitous and enjoyed by people of all ages. They allow people across town or in another state or country to have fun and interact in an immersive and engaging way. Here are five reasons why video games lead in American entertainment:
1. Games are extremely popular. U.S. consumers spent $21.53 billion on game content, hardware, and accessories in 2013 -- an amount greater than the GDP of nearly 100 countries, and greater than physical and digital music sales, and cinema box office sales combined.
2. Games are not just for kids. The generation that played Atari's Pong has grown up, started families, and now includes their children and parents in the fun. The average game player is 31 years old, and 39 percent of game players -- the largest age segment -- are 36 or older.
3. Gamers play everywhere -- during their commutes, in line for coffee, and in waiting rooms. 44 percent of gamers play on smartphones, and 33 percent play on wireless devices. Casual and social game play on mobile devices and online increased in popularity by 55 percent from 2012 to 2013.
4. Games foster interaction and connectivity, and unite friends, families and neighbors. Today, 62 percent of gamers play games with others, either in-person or online, demonstrating the strong social appeal of shared entertainment experiences.
5. Games help parents and children spend time together. 42 percent of parents play video games with their children weekly, and 88 percent of all parents who play with their kids report games are fun for the entire family. In addition, 56 percent of parents say video games are a positive part of their child's life.
Video games have evolved into a mass medium that helps people communicate, connect, and share knowledge and experiences. Games are an integral part of our daily lives, impacting areas beyond entertainment and redefining the way educators teach, doctors provide healthcare and businesses operate. As the popularity of play grows, video games will bring more communities together and incite creative solutions to major challenges, shaping our society for the better.