Why do gamers game?

Rishad Dsouza
November 24, 2021, 3:51 PM GMT+0

Video gaming is a growing industry in the UK, with retail revenue from video game software having doubled from £2.1 billion in 2011 to £4.2 billion in 2020. We tap into YouGov Profiles data from Great Britain to understand the key factors drawing consumers to play video games.

Among Brits who play video games, two-thirds (67%) say they do it to relax and wind down. Half of them view it as a way to pass time (52%).

The ability to immerse oneself in a parallel world is also a big factor that draws consumers to gaming. Two in five gamers say they play to “escape from reality for a while” (39%). In a similar vein, a fifth (19%) of gamers take up gaming as a way of doing something they can’t in real life. For one in seven people (15%), the ability to create a world of their own is one of the reasons they’re drawn to their console, phone, tablet or computer.

About a fifth of them say that the ability to complete challenges and puzzles is one of the reasons that draws them to video games (22%). An identical share of people say they play video games to challenge themselves.

There are noteworthy variances in some of the reasons between members of different age groups. For instance, a fifth of those aged 18-34 say they play to have an emotional connection to a story. That reason is cited by only 12% of those aged between 35-44 and plummets further to just 4% of gamers aged over 55.

Gamers aged over 55 are far more motivated by the challenging aspects of video gaming. For instance, more than a third (35%) of them say they play to complete challenges and puzzles, which is a reason cited by only a quarter (24%) of those in the other age groups.

Some similarly striking differences emerge when comparing men gamers with women gamers. Men (10%) are twice as likely to play video games ‘to be part of a team’ (vs 5% of women). One in five men (21%) say they play video games to do something they can’t in real life. Only one in eight women (12%) echo that sentiment as a reason for playing video games.

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Methodology: YouGov Profiles is based on continuously collected data and rolling surveys, rather than from a single limited questionnaire. Profiles data is nationally representative and weighted by age, gender, education, region, and race. Learn more about Profiles.