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Research: Gaming winning more of entertainment time

October 13, 2021

Data from Hub Entertainment Research show that gaming consoles play a central role in the entertainment lives of many consumers.

Highlights from Hub’s Game Consoles 2021: Respawned and Leveled Up study:

1) Game consoles are occupying more time. A third (36 per cent) of respondents play console games, about the same as in 2019 (33 per cent). But the engagement among those who do play is much higher.

  • More than half of all console gamers (51 per cent) play every day, up from just 39 per cent two years ago
  • 42 per cent of console gamers who play at least once a week (weekly gamers) say they are playing their console more this year than last, vs. only 32 per cent who said the same thing in 2019
  • Game sessions are about 20 per cent longer: in 2021 weekly console gamers estimate their average session is about 110 minutes, up from about 90 minutes in 2019

2) Ownership of multiple game consoles is up. The share of all 13-74s who play console games is about the same in 2021 (36 per cent) as in 2019 (33 per cent). But the density of ownership is significantly higher.  In 2019, only a quarter of console gamers owned both a PlayStation and an Xbox. But in 2021, more than a third (34 per cent) of respondents say they own both.

3) The pandemic drove game purchases online.

  • 39 per cent of weekly console gamers say they buy digital copies of console games at least a few times per month (up from just 25 per cent in 2019)
  • A similar 38 per cent regularly download DLC [downloadable content] or expansion packs for games they already own (up from 22 per cent in 2019)
  • And half (53 per cent) of console gamers said they spent more on gaming this year than last, vs. slightly more than a third who said the same thing in 2019

4) Covid also made gaming critical to maintaining relationships. In 2021, more respondents mentioned communication or connection with friends as a reason for gaming than in 2019. In fact, almost half of weekly console gamers (45 per cent) have at least one in-game friend that they’ve never met in real life.

5) The impact of in-game advertising has grown along with engagement. Seven in 10 (70 per cent) regular console gamers play titles with branded in-game content (up from 61 per cent in 2019). Among those exposed to in-game advertising,

  • Almost half (44 per cent) said they prefer in-game advertising to regular commercials
  • And in game ads are not just tolerable – three quarters (72 per cent) say that branded DLC actually makes the game more fun to play

“Video games represent serious competition for the time and attention of many Americans, and young men in particular,” said David Tice, senior consultant to Hub and co-author of the study. “Offering desired integrations into games, and in some cases unique exposures such as VR, gives marketers a real opportunity to ‘power up’ when they try to reach young consumers.”

“The amount of entertainment content continues to grow, but there are still only 24 hours in a day,” added Jon Giegengack, Founder and Principal at Hub. “Gaming is winning a larger share of that disposable time on the strength of the games themselves. But even more so on the central role gaming has taken in social interaction and communication – habits formed during the pandemic, but that will persist long after.”



Categories: Articles, Consumer Behaviour, Content, Games, Markets, Research

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