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Study: Gaming population leans more male and less racially diverse

The U.S. gaming population is slightly more male and less racially diverse than the country as a whole, but it's also growing, according to new data released Tuesday by the industry's leading trade group.

Why it matters: The annual Entertainment Software Association survey addressed the question of who plays games in America with an answer that gradually — with notable exceptions — is becoming "most people."

  • The survey of 4,000 Americans age 18 and up considers gaming broadly, looking at players and gaming of all types, from kids to seniors, people playing on tablets, consoles and PCs. (Read the full report.)
  • The ESA says the poll was conducted with a margin of error of 1.55%.

More gamers: The ESA pegs the overall gaming population in the U.S. at 227 million, up from 214 million last year.

  • The average age of the American gamer is 31 (80% over 18).

Gamers are still mostly men: 45% of gamers identify as female, 55% as male, according to the ESA, which appears to have only offered binary choices.

  • That compares to 51% of Americans identifying as female, according to U.S. Census estimates for 2019, the most recent year available.

People of color also appear to be under-represented: 73% of ESA respondents said they are white, 9% Hispanic, 8% Black, and 6% Asian.

  • The Census estimates for America overall are 19% Hispanic, 13% Black and 6% Asian.
  • The difference can be attributed to myriad factors, including gatekeeping, representation, and the class divides that keep gaming, a fairly expensive pastime, out of the hands of many.
  • Just the presence of that breakdown, a first for the ESA's annual reports, is a breakthrough. Of the addition, ESA chief Stanley Pierre-Louis told Axios, "Our report seeks to recognize and quantify the level of engagement by diverse consumers."

The impact of COVID seems most apparent in the ESA's numbers about gaming with others:

  • 77% of gamers play with others every week, up from 65% the year prior.
  • 74% of parents play with gamers with their children, up from 55% the year prior.

The bottom line: The ESA's findings show a more diverse player base that at least nudges against the stereotype of the gamer as a young white man.

  • "The video game industry is deeply invested in continuing to expand our player base by making games more accessible and reflective of all," Pierre-Louis said, "as evidenced by various diversity efforts across the industry."

What to watch at the Olympics today: Gymnastics, golf, 3x3 basketball, swimming

5 events to watch today...

  • 🤸‍♀️ Men’s gymnastics: Team USA’s Sam Mikulak and Brody Malone compete in the individual all-around final. Coverage starts at 6:15 a.m. on Peacock (watch the replay at 8 p.m. ET on NBC)
  • 🏀 3x3 Basketball: The women’s gold medal game between the U.S. and Russia starts at 8:55 a.m. ET on USA Network. Russia and Latvia will play in the men’s final at 9:25 a.m. ET.
  • 🏌️ Men’s golf: Round one tees off at 6:30 p.m. ET on the Golf Channel or stream on
  • 🏊 Swimming: Men’s 800m freestyle, 200m breaststroke and 100m freestyle finals and women’s 200m butterfly final. Coverage starts at 9:30 p.m. on NBC.
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National parks "drowning in tourists"

Data: National Park Service; note: Gateway National Recreation Area is excluded due to missing data in 2021. Chart: Connor Rothschild/Axios

National Parks across the U.S. are overflowing with a post-pandemic crush of tourists, leading to increased issues with congestion, traffic jams, user experience, strain on staff and increased damage to the parks.

Why it matters: Some are seeing such a record number they're being forced to limit, and even close, access to certain areas to avoid the danger of eroding the land. The result, ultimately, could change the way Americans interact with the parks going forward.

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Facebook's next chapter: Build the "metaverse"

Facebook's "next chapter," Mark Zuckerberg says, is to be prime builder of "the metaverse" — an open, broadly distributed, 3D dimension online where, he says, we will all conduct much of our work and personal lives.

The big picture: Zuckerberg admits Facebook will only be one of many companies building this next-generation model of today's internet — but he also intends Facebook to lead the pack.

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CDC asks the vaccinated to help save the unvaccinated from themselves

The Biden administration is essentially asking vaccinated Americans to help save the unvaccinated from themselves.

The big picture: America's "pandemic of the unvaccinated" has gotten bad enough that vaccine mandates are starting to catch on, and masks are coming back — in some cases, even for the vaccinated.

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Least persuadable unvaccinated Americans are largely white and Republican

Data: Axios-Ipsos Poll; Chart: Sara Wise/Axios

The most hardcore opponents of coronavirus vaccination — the group who say they'll never get one — tend to be older, whiter and more Republican than the unvaccinated Americans who are still persuadable, according to an analysis of our Axios/Ipsos Coronavirus Index.

Why it matters: As the Delta variant triggers more COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths, mostly among the unvaccinated, the Biden administration and even some high-profile GOP political and media figures are trying to figure out how to nudge the country's vaccination rate higher.

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Female Olympians push back against double standard in uniforms

Female Olympians in Tokyo are rejecting the uniforms that have long defined their sports, highlighting a double standard that exists how women dress in competition vs. men.

Driving the news: During their qualifying round Sunday, Germany's women's gymnastics team wore full-length unitards, eschewing the conventional leg-barring leotards worn by most female gymnasts.

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Simone Biles won't defend Olympic title at gymnastics all-around final in Tokyo

U.S. gymnastics great Simone Biles won't defend her Olympic title in the upcoming all-around final as she continues to focus on her mental health, USA Gymnastics announced Wednesday.

After further medical evaluation, Simone Biles has withdrawn from the final individual all-around competition. We wholeheartedly support Simone’s decision and applaud her bravery in prioritizing her well-being. Her courage shows, yet again, why she is a role model for so many.

— USA Gymnastics (@USAGym) July 28, 2021

Editor's note: This a breaking news story. Please check back for updates.

DOJ declines to defend Mo Brooks in Eric Swalwell's Capitol riot lawsuit

The Department of Justice declined late Tuesday to represent Rep. Mo Brooks in a civil lawsuit against the Georgia congressman concerning the Capitol riot.

Why it matters: Brooks had argued he should have immunity in the suit, filed by Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.) against him, former President Trump, his son Donald Trump Jr. and lawyer Rudy Giuliani over the insurrection. He said he was acting as a government employee when he spoke at a rally before the insurrection.

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