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Video Game Addiction Statistics

Video games offer a new medium for artistic expression and immersive experiences. However, as gaming becomes more popular in the United States and abroad, addiction concerns grow. By understanding how addiction affects different demographics, we can improve diagnosis and treatment.

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Statistics About Video Game Addiction

Video games are undoubtedly a new medium where artistry can flourish, and gamers can immerse themselves in incredible worlds. As video games become a major source of entertainment in the U.S., the concerns around addiction to video games only grow.

However, it can also bring catastrophic addiction in certain people. By better understanding how video game addiction affects certain demographics like age, gender, and ethnicity, we can improve our methods of diagnosing and treating problematic gaming behavior.

How Common Is Video Game Addiction?

Video game addiction is said to affect between 1.7% and 10% of the American population, according to the most recent research.

Addiction to video games or internet gaming disorder isn’t extremely common, but research around excessive gaming is constantly improving.

The video game industry is still relatively new compared to other industries known for behavioral addiction, such as gambling or shopping. Because of this, video games have long been a controversial topic among parents, educators, and lawmakers.

Research is somewhat divided on the overall effects of video games, with some studies showing that video games may even improve cognitive skills and spatial reasoning. In terms of video game abuse, however, research indicates certain people could be at risk for addictive behaviors and mental health issues.

Video Game Addiction Statistics by Age Group

Any person of any age can develop a video game addiction. However, certain age groups are more at risk than others.

According to current research:

  • The majority of addicted gamers are adolescents and young adults within the age bracket of 18 to 34 years old.
  • The average age of a gaming addict is 24 years of age.
  • Around 8.5% of children and teenagers under 18 around the world may be addicted to gaming.

Video Game Addiction Statistics by Gender

Despite the early male-dominated video game communities, men and women have a pretty even split in playing video games. However, the research differs when it comes to gender distribution within video game addiction.

Research indicates that men or people assigned male at birth are more likely to develop video game addiction than women or those assigned female at birth.

  • According to a 2015 Pew Research study, 50% of all gamers are male, while 48% are female.
  • A recent study from Norway found that, out of 3,389 subjects with video game addiction, 37.3% were female and 62.7% were male.
  • Research from the Stanford University School of Medicine indicates that video games may activate brain reward regions in men more than women.

Video Game Addiction Statistics by Race

In regards to race and video game players, caucasian gamers make up the majority of U.S. gamers. Statista reports that 67% of all gamers are caucasian, 15% are Hispanic, 12% are African American, and 5% are Asian.

Unfortunately, there is no U.S. research on video game addiction by ethnicity.

However, there have been many studies focused on the troubling rise of video game addiction in Asia. Specifically, Japan, China, and South Korea have seen huge rises in abuse among Asian video gamers.

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Video Game Addiction Statistics Worldwide

Video game addiction isn’t just a problem in America. Other countries in North America, Europe, Asia, and the Middle East also note the rise in problematic gaming.

  • A Canadian CAMH (The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health) study from 2017 reported that almost 12% of all Ontario University students in Canada exhibit signs of video game addiction.
  • A study by the Department of Psychological Medicine at the Nepean Hospital in Sydney reported that up to 10% of all Australian gamers were addicted to video games.
  • According to research from the United Kingdom, over 36 million Britons play video games regularly. Experts in the UK estimate between 700,000 and 1 million UK gamers have a video game addiction.
  • Research from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) indicates that up to 50% of people spent more time gaming during the lockdowns.
  • Approximately 1-2% of gamers in Germany are reportedly addicted to video games.
  • In South Korea, approximately 10% of the population is estimated to be addicted to video games.
  • Around 6-10% of gamers in China are considered addicted to video games.
  • In Japan, an estimated 4-5% of the population is reported to experience video game addiction.

Video Game Addiction and Mental Health Issues

Video game addiction has been linked to many mental health problems. The current belief is that individuals who struggle with impulsivity, anxiety, loneliness, and hyperactivity may be more likely to develop an addiction to video games.

The most common co-morbidities associated with video game addiction include:

Not all individuals with one or more of these mental health conditions will develop a video game addiction. However, many addicts begin using video games to cope with symptoms of mental illness and may struggle to moderate the amount of time spent playing.

In addition, many of these mental illnesses feature struggles with the production of dopamine.

Dopamine is a brain chemical responsible for feelings of pleasure and is released while playing video games. When the brain becomes dependent on video games to produce dopamine, addiction can occur.

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What Are the Most Addictive Video Games?

Although any video game could become the subject of an addict’s obsession, some types of games are more likely to lead to addiction than others. Online games like MMORPGs and some mobile games have been identified as especially addictive for young people.

However, each genre requires different amounts of gaming time due to the game’s play structure.

For example, spending ten hours a week in an MMO is relatively common and does not automatically mean an addiction is present. It’s more useful to look at the behavior rather than the time spent in the game.

Online Gaming

Online games are usually separated into several categories but are characterized by gameplay via an Internet connection with other people. Online games, especially MMORPGs, are known to be especially addictive due to their sprawling worlds and endless quests and content to consume.

Wildly popular online games like Fortnite, Call of Duty, World of Warcraft, Minecraft, Roblox, and League of Legends fall under these major categories.

The most common types of online games include:

  • MMO (massively multiplayer online games): MMOs feature huge virtual worlds where players cooperate or compete against each other.
  • MMORPG (massively multiplayer online role-playing games): a subgenre of MMOs, MMORPGs allow players to role-play as their own characters in huge virtual worlds where they cooperate or compete against each other.
  • MOBA (multiplayer online battle arenas): MOBAs involve two teams of online players competing against each other, with every player controlling a character with a set of unique abilities.
  • Battle Royale: online multiplayer games where players fight one another to see who stands last.
  • First-Person Shooters (FPS): games focused on gun fighting and other weapon-based combat seen from a first-person perspective.
  • Online Casino Games: online games where players place wagers on casino games such as blackjack and roulette, sometimes against a computer or other real people.

According to data from Statista, U.S. gamers reported they spent over 20 hours per week on the following types of online games:

  • 21% on MMORPGs (massively multiplayer online role-playing games)
  • 21% on MOBAs (multiplayer online battle arenas)
  • 19% on MMOs (massively multiplayer online games)

Mobile Gaming

People usually picture games like Candy Crush and Angry Birds when they think of mobile games. These games can certainly be addicting in their own right. However, many top mobile games are smartphone versions of PC games, allowing gamers to continue playing even when away from the computer.

Some of the most popular mobile games include:

  • Roblox
  • Among Us
  • Call of Duty: Mobile
  • Genshin Impact
  • Pokemon Go
  • Royal Match
  • Gardenscapes
  • Minecraft
  • Candy Crush Saga
  • Runescape
  • PUBG

Solo Gaming

Solo gaming refers to any game not played with other people online or in person, usually on a PC or console. These games typically require the player to control one character throughout the game, interacting with the game itself instead of other players.

While solo gaming is typically not considered especially addictive, some gamers can still become addicted to these games. Some solo games have multiplayer options, but most of the game is played solo by one player.

Popular games played in solo gaming include:

  • Legend of Zelda series
  • Mario Brothers series
  • The Witcher series
  • Assassin’s Creed series
  • God of War series
  • Dark Souls series
  • Pokemon series
  • Fallout series
  • Stardew Valley
  • Cyberpunk 2077
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Treating Video Game Addiction

Video game addiction is typically treated through therapy and, if necessary, through medication. Cognitive behavioral therapy is the most common form of therapy used in the treatment of video game addiction.

For some addicts, medications like anti-depressants or anti-anxiety medications may help with certain symptoms or with treating co-morbid disorders like anxiety, depression, ADHD, and OCD. Treatment is typically outpatient; inpatient treatment is rarely needed for video game addiction.

Video Game Addiction and the COVID-19 Pandemic

In some cases, video game usage was a great comfort for people during the COVID-19 pandemic and the increased anxiety around public health.

Many online games found their number of gamers increasing during lockdown as people took their real-life friendships online to follow lockdown rules.

Many studies found that the prevalence of gaming disorder increased, which was estimated to be between 2.3 and 29.4%, and the global prevalence of Internet Gaming Disorder (IGD) was 1.96% before the pandemic.

Find Help for Video Game Addiction

Considering how mainstream gaming is, it can be difficult to spot a video game addiction, let alone know what to do about it. If you or a loved one has been experiencing negative consequences due to video game abuse, treatment options are available.

Speak with your doctor about your situation and see what treatment options might be best for you. You can also check out SAMHSA’s online treatment locator or call 1-800-662-4357 (HELP) to learn what addiction treatment options are in your area.

FAQ's About Video Game Addiction Statistics

What is the addiction rate for video games?

Video game addiction is suspected to be largely unreported due to how normalized gaming is in the U.S. However, according to the most current research, between 1.7% and 10% of the American population has a video game addiction.

What type of video game is most addictive?

MMOs (massively multiplayer online games), especially the subgenre MMORPGs (massively multiplayer online role-playing games), are known for being especially addictive due to their vast virtual worlds and endless quests to complete.

The controversy surrounding the MMORPG World of Warcraft (WoW) in the early 2000s is a great example of how addictive these games can be to the right person.

Many WoW addicts reported feeling unable to stop engaging in the gameworld, thus letting the real world fall by the wayside.

What are the most common symptoms of video game addiction?

The most common symptoms of video game addiction include:

  • Feeling an uncontrollable urge to play video games
  • Experiencing withdrawal symptoms when not gaming
  • Issues with friends and loved ones of video game usage
  • Declining hygiene and personal grooming
  • Dropping grades or performance at work or school
  • Hiding evidence of or lying about gaming sessions

Is video game addiction rare?

Video game addiction appears to be uncommon, although research and advancements in diagnostic techniques are constantly improving. Today, it’s estimated that between 1.7% and 10% of the American population has a video game addiction.

Because video game addiction appears to start in adolescence, we will likely see rates of the condition rise as today’s kids and teens age into adulthood with problematic gaming behaviors.

How many hours a week does the average gamer play?

According to research from MIDiA, the average American gamer plays just over one hour daily, with an average of 7.6 hours per week.

Compared to other countries, the U.S. reports the longest gaming time, with Germany reporting the shortest time.

Kent S. Hoffman, D.O. is a founder of Addiction HelpReviewed by:Kent S. Hoffman, D.O.

Chief Medical Officer & Co-Founder

  • Fact-Checked
  • Editor

Kent S. Hoffman, D.O. has been an expert in addiction medicine for more than 15 years. In addition to managing a successful family medical practice, Dr. Hoffman is board certified in addiction medicine by the American Osteopathic Academy of Addiction Medicine (AOAAM). Dr. Hoffman has successfully treated hundreds of patients battling addiction. Dr. Hoffman is the Co-Founder and Chief Medical Officer of AddictionHelp.com and ensures the website’s medical content and messaging quality.

Jessica Miller is the Content Manager of Addiction HelpWritten by:

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Jessica Miller is the Editorial Director of Addiction Help. Jessica graduated from the University of South Florida (USF) with an English degree and combines her writing expertise and passion for helping others to deliver reliable information to those impacted by addiction. Informed by her personal journey to recovery and support of loved ones in sobriety, Jessica's empathetic and authentic approach resonates deeply with the Addiction Help community.

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