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ESA Leadership Desk: Why Video Games Matter More Than Ever

By Stanley Pierre-Louis, Chief Executive Officer, Entertainment Software Association

At a time when our world is facing so much uncertainty, video games are bringing us together more than ever.  In fact, it’s fair to say that video games are having a moment right now—a unique and extraordinary time by any measure. As we adapt to working, learning and being at home, people around the world are sharing how much they value being able to play video games together with family, friends and the larger community.

Parents, educators, journalists and players of all ages are sharing deeply personal stories about why video games matter on many different human levels, far beyond the simple, intrinsic value of play itself. These stories are happening almost every day and bring unexpected and interesting perspectives. This should not surprise us, yet we are feeling an important shift within the industry.

We know people in every demographic play video games.  For example, 46% of players in the United States are women, and just as many people under 18 play as those over 50.  But we’ve never seen the coalescing around video games and people who play games—at one time—as we are seeing right now. The cultural significance of this moment is important to recognize, though we may not fully understand its significance until much later.

As the head of the U.S. video game industry’s trade association, I am humbled and inspired by these stories.  I am also proud of what our member companies are doing to support efforts to end the pandemic—everything from sending health and safety messages to users to directing contributions to relief efforts around the globe.  We are even seeing global organizations, like the World Health Organization, recognize the important role of our community to help stop the spread of COVID-19.  That’s a significant development and something we welcome as we look to educate and advocate for the video game industry and people who play video games.

We have gathered a lot of the activity by our industry and others to fight the pandemic on our COVID-19 resource hub and will keep you updated there and on our social media channels.  We also invite you to share your stories and perspectives on your social channels or via Game Generation .

Let’s keep doing what we know works—stay home, practice social distancing, wash hands, attend to our minds and bodies, and stay connected with our family and friends.  And consider sharing your own stories so that we can understand each other better and appreciate this new paradigm where video game play matters like never before.

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