Video Games by the Numbers

Video game usage is increasing dramatically–for play, for learning and for competition. If you are one of the 64 percent of American households that has at least one person who plays video games regularly (minimum three hours per week), then you can attest to the impact of video games.

Realistic graphics and irresistible story lines found in today’s most popular video games draw players in and engage them in ways other mediums simply can’t match. It’s a growing industry from academia to business. 

The ESA’s 2018 Essential Facts About the Computer and Video Game Industry report is chock full of interesting data covering everything from market demographics to the size and scope of the industry.

  • More than 150 million Americans play video games and 60 percent of Americans play video games daily.
  • There are an average of 2 gamers in each game-playing U.S. household and 64 percent of U.S. households own a device that they use to play video games.
  • Most parents (70 percent) say video games are a positive part of their child’s life.
  • The total consumer spend on the video game industry was $36 billion in 2017.
  • The top three factors that influence video game purchases are 1) quality of the graphics, 2) price and 3) an interesting story line or premise.

Not only are video games being used as teaching and learning tools on college campuses, the study of video game production is gaining traction too. Thanks to a growing number of video game degree programs, students are turning their passions for gaming into lucrative and meaningful careers. Game-based programs in higher education account for a total of 7,675 undergraduate students in the U.S. and abroad.

Video games are driving the collegiate eSports phenomenon too, giving students the opportunity to replicate schools’ competitive sports teams set in a digital gaming world. Eighty-one colleges currently participate in the National Association of Collegiate eSports, and all but two offer scholarships to eSport athletes.

These video game numbers paint an impressive growth trajectory that shows no immediate signs of slowing.  As the video game market continues to advance, just how high might these numbers climb?

Triseum’s ARTé: Mecenas Earns Prominent Game Academy Award at CAFA’s ‘Play Beyond the Game’ Exhibit in China

BEIJING and College Station, TX – September 19, 2018 – A new exhibit, Play Beyond the Game, is underway at the Central Academy of Fine Arts (CAFA) Museum in Beijing, where an international crowd recently gathered for the opening to explore the culture, art, science and technology featured in video games. Presenting at the exhibit was National Academy of Science advisor and Triseum CEO, André Thomas, who also accepted a prestigious Game Academy Award for Triseum’s educational immersive art history game, ARTé: Mecenas®.

“It was an honor to be in the company of such imaginative and forward thinkers, and we are grateful for the award recognition from CAFA,” said Thomas. “The event was a tremendous celebration of gaming, providing an opportunity to see how digital technology and artistic creativity are merging in video games, as well as helping define and advance the future of game-based learning.”

Triseum’s participation in the exhibit added to its recent exposure in the Chinese gaming market. In June, Triseum announced a partnership with Tencent, a leading provider of Internet value-added services in China, to expand access to Triseum’s calculus game, Variant: Limits®. Tencent is publishing the game, which is being called the Calculus Adventure in the Chinese market, to bring entertainment quality learning games to players across China. Additionally, Thomas was invited to speak this week at the World Conference on Science Literacy in Beijing, which gathered more than a thousand people from government agencies, science organizations and businesses, universities, and research institutions. Thomas presented Variant: Limits at the event and talked about the importance of calculus engagement in STEM programs.

“China is playing a significant role in the growth of serious games on a global scale. We are excited to be a part of this revolution with some of the country’s top gaming insiders and thought leaders, expanding our footprint and growth strategy in China,” added Thomas.

In a recent article, Zhang Zikang, the museum’s curator, noted that video games are not simply forms of entertainment, but also an inseparable part of life today. He stressed that in the future, games that are not centered around entertainment, such as education games, will play an even more important role in people’s lives.

Presenting to a packed house at the CAFA exhibit opening, Thomas shared his insight in game design and development from his decades of work in the space, and specifically the importance of combining both active game play and engaging story lines with measurable learning goals in a game-based learning environment. Triseum’s educational video games, which have been developed in collaboration with the LIVE Lab in the Department of Visualization in College of Architecture at Texas A&M University, mirror the sophistication and imagination of some of the most popular entertainment video games on the market, while staying true to their roots in academic rigor, research and outcomes.

In collaboration with China’s Culture and Entertainment Industry Association, Play Beyond the Game offers a journey of discovery and adventure where visitors can connect with game producers, play both live and unreleased games, and share their own creative ideas when it comes to social and cultural aspects of video games. The exhibit discusses the combination of games with other fields such as art, education and medicine, aiming to explore the functional value and cultural significance of games as well as the development direction of digital entertainment education in China.

About CAFA
The Central Academy of Fine Arts, located in Beijing, is an academy where culture, history and art are flourishing, and where students and educators enjoys the best art resources in the world. CAFA, as a leading institution for modern art education in China, provides a rich land for those who wish to learn, experience and engage in creativity. It has nurtured quite a lot of pre-eminent artists over the past ninety years.

Game-Based Learning: What do Students and Faculty Have to Say?

For those of us who are at Triseum and the LIVE Lab at Texas A&M, we can attest to the countless hours of research, collaboration and testing that go into our game development processes. And while all of the results and interactions during development lead us to believe we are producing impactful games, the ultimate testament to the effectiveness of our games comes from those on the front lines–the instructors and students who are interacting with our games as part of the teaching and learning experience. We recently had a chance to sit down with some of our users and their feedback was inspiring. The opportunity for game-based learning and faculty is very promising and this is what faculty have to say.

ARTé: Mecenas encourages art history exploration and application:


“I think that the direct benefit that students received was learning without realizing they were learning.”
-Kelly Donahue-Wallace, Art History Professor, University of North Texas

“We started off introducing [the game] in classes in lieu of quizzes and also other assignments, and [students] really appreciated having that at the end of each week as opposed to other assignments they found to be less engaging and exciting. They really enjoyed it and seemed to apply the material better in class.”
-James Hutson, Associate Professor Art & Design, Lindenwood University

“It stuck in a different way and not in a ‘regurgitate on a test’ way.”
-Cynthia Meersman, Art History Student, Texas A&M University

Variant: Limits gives students a fresh new perspective on calculus:

“People in general are willing to bang their heads in a game where they generally roll their eyes and groan in a classroom. It’s stretching the students and challenging them to realize where the concepts can show up.”
-Rob Eby, Professor of Mathematics, Blinn College

“Homework doesn’t give you a second chance, but in the game, if you put in one wrong [answer] and change it, you can actually see the change in the game.”
-Alexander Rosen, Chemistry Student, Texas A&M University

“I’ve taken courses for limits and calculus and pre-calculus math, and I learned more from this game than I ever did in those. I saw in the lectures how they did it and then doing it in the video game really immersed me in it and allowed me to learn and think about it in lots of different ways.”
-Ethan Ritchie, Physics Student, Texas A&M University

“Because I was playing a game it helped me retain the information. I wasn’t just sitting in a lecture, I was actually engaging and looking at the game and finding out the information for myself. It definitely stuck with me more, definitely – I remember playing a game, I don’t remember the lecture of limits.”
– Jack Norman, Software Engineering Student, University of Texas

Hearing first-hand how our games are being used in the classroom and how they are helping boost engagement validates game-based learning and the incredible impact it is having on the education experience. Bring on the game-based learning revolution!