The Changing Face of Gaming

While baseball, basketball, soccer, and football aren’t going anywhere, video games are commanding more time from Americans of all ages and ethnicities, fueling exponential growth in the sector, according to a November research report issued by Annalect.

[download file=”https://www.annalect.com/wp-content/uploads/Annalect-Research-Gaming-2014.pdf” title=”Annalect Research: Gaming 2014″]

Traditionally, gaming may still conjure up images of the nerdy teenager on his computer or young men obsessed with their gaming consoles. Today, gamers span all ages, genders, and ethnicities and play on multiple platforms.

The face of gaming now is quite diverse:

  • 59% of U.S adults play video games.
  • After age 35, women are more likely to play games than men.
  • A third of Internet users older than age 55 play games.
  • Three out of four of women18-34 play games. Among men the same age, nearly nine out of ten play.
  • Across the board, gamers are far more likely to use the latest technology than non-gamers—smart phones, tablets, Internet-connected TVs and gaming consoles.

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While games have gone mainstream, how, where and what kind of games people engage with is different among age brackets and ethnicities, according to the report.

Here are a few examples:

  • Young men prefer to play games on consoles.
  • Women favor mobile devices.
  • Hispanics play games across the widest variety of genres.
  • Asian-Americans are most likely to play games on PCs.
  • African-Americans show an interest in games with unlockable content and advanced graphics.

People play on multiple platforms, but mobile is king—driving the exponential growth in the gaming sector and placing gaming among the largest forms of media consumption, according to gaming statistics from industry experts cited in the report. Some interesting facts include:

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  • In 2013, consumers spent $7.1 billion on mobile games.
  • By 2015, approximately half the U.S. population will play games on their mobile devices.
  • Gaming is the most popular activity on mobile devices, with more hours logged playing games than browsing the web or checking social media.

But it’s not just consumers who love games, particularly mobile ones. Marketers are discovering that they offer an excellent way to reach targeted audiences with relevant content.

“The unique format of mobile games empowers advertisers to side-step roadblocks common to other digital media including banner blindness or low viewability rates,” the report said. “Even better, it offers them an outlet to speak with gamers when they are in an engaged, heightened emotional state, and to act as a ‘hero’ by offering rewards like extra lives to generate good-will.”

But perhaps nothing shows how far gaming has come than the popularity of live viewing tournaments for e-sports. The influence and popularity of these events is growing, for example:

  • Some sponsored tournaments offer huge cash prizes that exceed the amounts up for grabs at sporting events like Wimbledon or the Kentucky Derby.
  • Colleges are beginning to provide scholarships to power their video game teams, according to a Dec. 8 report in The New York Times. At the nation’s biggest colleges, 10,000 students now play in the video game league, double both the amount who played last year and the number of men playing Division I basketball.
  • Twitch.tv, a website which broadcasts the tournaments, accounts for more peak Internet traffic than some of the most popular websites and online services in the world, including Facebook, Pandora, Tumblr and Hulu.

With sales expected to exceed 32 billion by 2017, the video game sector shows huge potential for growth in the coming years, and savvy marketers are positioning themselves to be a part of it.

Annalect Tools and Insights Research Group:
Driving analysis, insights and strategic thinking through tools, audience trends and customized quantitative and qualitative primary research.

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