The Rise of Gaming Disorder: Video Game Addiction Statistics

Video games have become a ubiquitous form of entertainment, particularly among young people. While gaming can offer benefits like social connection, problem-solving skills development, and even stress relief, excessive or problematic video game use can become a serious issue.  

Gaming disorder is a recognized behavioral addiction that can cause significant psychological, physical, and social consequences.

Let’s delve into the top statistics on the prevalence of gaming addiction, potential risk factors, and the impact it can have on mental and social well-being. 

Top 2024 video game statistics

  • Over 2.6 billion people worldwide are active video gamers.
  • Estimates suggest anywhere between 3 to 23% of gamers exhibit signs of addictive behavior, translating to potentially 60 million or more people struggling globally.
  • Over 8% of young gamers between the ages of 8 and 18 show signs of addiction.
  • Research suggests video game addiction is more common among adolescents and males.
  • One study found that nearly 1 in 5 young people play video games for 3 or more hours every day.
  • Nearly half of those who play video games for over 6 hours a day say that they aren’t able to stop when they should.

How common is video game addiction?

Over half of all Americans play video games at least occasionally, but not all of them are addicted to it. 

Gaming addiction can be difficult to accurately measure because it’s not yet included in the DSM (although it is included in the International Classification of Disorders). The most current studies put the prevalence of gaming disorder between 3% and 23%.

According to one analysis, gaming disorder is as common as obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) or some types of drug addictions, but not as common as shopping addiction. It is more common than gambling addiction.

Gaming statistics by demographics

Let’s take a look at how gaming and video game addiction is affected by different demographics.

Gamers by gender

Although most people assume that video gaming is more common in men than in women, data from the Pew Research Center shows that, in reality, men and women play video games at nearly identical rates. 50% of men and 48% of women report playing video games.

However, males are over twice as likely to be addicted to gaming as females. 8.5% of male gamers and 3% of female gamers show signs of addictive behavior.

Gamers by race and nationality

According to some reports, gaming is more prevalent among non-Hispanic whites.

  • 67% of global gamers are white.
  • 15% are Hispanic
  • 12% are African
  • 5% are Asian

However, one review found that gamers born in Asia, Africa, Central America, and South America were more likely to be addicted to gaming. These gamers were nearly 5 times as likely to show signs of addiction as gamers from Norway.

Gamers by age

People younger than the age of 34 are far more likely to both play video games and be addicted to them. 

  • Two-thirds of young adults (aged 18 to 29) say they play video games, and over 20% of them say that the term “gamer” describes them well. A third of young men in this age bracket say the term “gamer” describes them.
  • 16-to-30 year-olds are significantly more likely to be “problem gamers” (have gaming disorder) than older gamers. Specifically, young adult gamers are over 4 times more likely to show signs of gaming addiction as older adult gamers.
  • Over 8% of children under the age of 18 may have video game addiction.
  • The rates of gaming addiction in teens has increased by 4% since 2007.  
  • Children and teens have spent more hours per day playing video games since the Covid-19 pandemic.
  • 1 in 5 Japanese youth play over 3 hours of video games per day.

Gaming addiction & mental health statistics

  • Youth who play over 2 hours of violent video games a day tend to report significantly higher depression symptoms.
  • People with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) are more likely to show signs of gaming addiction. The more severe the ADHD symptoms, the more severe the gaming addiction. However, we don’t know which disorder causes which.
  • Problematic gaming and gaming addiction have been linked to poorer quality sleep. 
  • Those who play games pathologically are twice as likely to be diagnosed with attention problems.
  • Gaming addiction has been linked to lower self-esteem, increased anxiety and depression, lower academic scores, and lower life satisfaction.

For those concerned about potential video game addiction, consider taking this brief test to assess your or a loved one’s gaming habits: Video Game Addiction Test.

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