Let's face it, games have a critical place in modern society. We play at home on our favorite gaming consoles. We play online games. We play free games online. We even download game apps to play on the go via our phones and tablets. When you add up the costs of all those games, you'll be surprised at how much money you actually spend on gaming.

How do you know if you're spending too much? Take a look at the figures and see how you compare.

A Billion Dollar Industry

Via Flickr by Images_of_Money

If you spend more money on games than movies, you're not alone! In 2009, Americans spent $10.5 billion on video and computer games, accounting for about half of the game sales worldwide. Gamers come in all ages, but the average age of the most frequent shopper is 39. Both men and women contribute to this growing entertainment industry and nearly 70% of US households play games on a console system, a mobile device, or a computer. Moreover, the average person spends about $400 on games each year.

Where is all of that money going?

Console Games

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With an average price tag of $50 for new releases, video games for systems like Wii and XBox account for most of the money spent on games - about $10 billion in 2009. The average person only buys 3 or 4 new games per year, but many are spending less by buying their games used. A used game can cost less than $10, depending on the title, but may cost $40 or more.

If you're a console gamer, consider these tips to save:

  • Buy used. Most stores guarantee their used games. You can usually find used copies of new titles shortly after their release.

  • Trade. Game stores that offer used titles usually also accept trade ins. Get rid of a few old games to fund the cost of your new ones.

  • Join a game club. These shops also offer incentive programs for frequent shoppers. You may have to pay for the membership, but the discounts, coupons, and other perks are worth it.

Computer Games

Via Flickr by Sebastian Anthony

There are several options for gamers who prefer playing on their PC or laptop. Many titles made for consoles are also made for computers. Software games are the most expensive, typically ranging from $20 or less to as much as $75. Online games are a cheaper option and offer a variety of titles. Free Flash games can keep some gamers entertained for hours, but downloadable titles often feature better graphics and more enjoyment. You can buy a new game every month and still spend far less than you would on console games - typically less than $100 per year!

The best way to save on computer games is to join a game website. Many offer free accounts to play free solitaire card games and other free online games, but a paid membership is generally about $7 per month and includes one new downloadable game along with other bonuses.

Via Flickr by JD Hancock

Interactive gaming is quickly becoming the world's number one form of entertainment. Whether you're spending several hundred dollars a year on console games or sticking to free online games and apps for your iPhone, gaming gives us all a positive way to spend our time and money.

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Tags: Editorial , Video Games , Top