Increase in Use by Women and Children Offers Digital Games Industry the Opportunity to Improve Kids’ Health & Education, says The Children’s Partnership

Santa Monica, CA—On June 7th, The Children’s Partnership released Game Companies & Social Responsibility: The Time is Now, the result of a yearlong study of the $25.1 billion digital game industry and its current—and potential—participation in social responsibility efforts. Released during the Electronic Entertainment Expo, the report provides a focused look at the demographics of gamers, trends in social gaming and virtual goods, and the potential of cause partnerships to benefit child health and education.

“Women and children constitute the majority of social gamers today and an even greater share of the future market,” said Wendy Lazarus, Founder and Co-President of The Children’s Partnership and lead author of the report. “At a time when US children are suffering more than at any time since the Great Depression, game companies can—and should—be at the forefront of a high-impact form of philanthropy that benefits their bottom line while also improving children’s health and success in school,” said Lazarus.

Drawing on existing data sources and original new research, key findings include:
• The average social gamer in America is a 39-year-old woman.
• Women are the primary decision makers in their family on charitable giving; they value companies that support causes and support youth-related causes.
• Child poverty in the US (a family of three earning less that $19,090 annually) is at the highest rate in 20 years; one in 45 children is now homeless.

Game companies are well positioned to improve children’s health and education through cause partnerships. The Children’s Partnership’s research identified roughly 50 cause partnerships associated with digital games to date, and that number is increasing. These examples, many highlighted in the report, tend to be small and time-limited. The report found, however, that sustained cause partnerships could make a meaningful difference.
• Between 2009 and 2011, there was a 100% increase in the sale of virtual goods in games, with virtual goods purchases totaling $2.3 billion in 2011 in the US alone.
• $100 per month provides complete health care to a child; $125 per month could provide after-school enrichment for a child.
The report introduces VirtuallyGood4Kids™, an initiative that incorporates child-themed virtual goods in games to produce funds for kids’ causes.
“At a time when government and philanthropic dollars are especially tight, the games industry can distinguish itself through partnerships that help get kids off to a healthy start in life,” said Kathlyn Mead, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of The California Endowment. “This report provides a road map, with actionable ideas, to bring real world benefit to kids through game play,” Mead said. See Game Companies & Social Responsibility: The Time is Now—The Case for Engagement and VirtuallyGood4Kids™, available at

The Children’s Partnership is a project of Tides.