Global: The cultural importance of video games

Graeme BruceBusiness Data Journalist
October 22, 2021, 6:26 PM UTC

It’s a statistic that demonstrates the dominance of video games in society today: More than two in five consumers aged 18-24 from around the world say video games are as culturally important if not more important than music. 

That’s according to a global survey conducted by YouGov in 17 global markets that gauges the cultural significance of video games in 2021.  

The survey also found this younger cohort believes the importance of video games in pop culture is greater than it was before the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. This suggests our increased affinity for video games in the era of isolation will have a lasting and sustained impact on media consumption around the world. 

As video games continue to bend existing genres and create new ones, three out of five of these young consumers feel there’s something in the video game universe for everyone. 

According to the survey, nowhere are these feelings more prevalent than in urban Mexico and the United Arab Emirates. In Mexico 68% of adults in general say video games are more culturally important than before the pandemic and 57% say there’s something in the video game universe for everyone. Close to two in five Mexican adults also feel video games are as important to culture as music (39%). 

In the UAE, half of adults say video games are more important than they were pre-pandemic (52%), 44% say they are as important as music to pop culture and 55% say there’s something for everyone in the video game universe. 

These attitudes are not as widely held in the US or Europe but are still somewhat prevalent. A quarter of Americans say video games are more important now than they were two years ago (27%) and are as important as music to pop culture (24%). Two in five say there’s something for everyone in the current video game market. 

Similar figures emerge out of Europe. A third of Europeans say the importance of video games has increased during the COVID era (33%), a quarter say gaming is as culturally important as music – if not more (25%), and more than two in five say there’s something for everyone (45%). 

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Methodology: The data is based on the interviews of adults aged 18 and over in 17 markets with sample sizes varying between 1,012 and 9,108 for each market. All interviews were conducted online in September 2021. Data from each market uses a nationally representative sample apart from Mexico and India, which use urban representative samples, and Indonesia and Hong Kong, which use online representative samples.