Video game playing rose to a new level, with UK consumers’ time playing up 4 percent over last year.
The desire to stay connected and entertained while stuck at home during the pandemic has driven online gaming popularity – more than a third of UK gamers (37 percent) have made new friends through online gaming in the last year. In fact, gamers in the UK are now playing video games an average of seven hours 10 minutes each week according to the “State of Online Gaming 2021,” a report commissioned by Limelight Networks, Inc. (Nasdaq: LLNW), on global gaming preferences and habits.
New data shows that the increases in gaming over the last year are driven by gamers’ desire for social connections. Over a third of UK gamers (37 percent) say they’ve made new friends through online games in the past year and 15 percent say the ability to interact with other players is extremely important. Opportunities for interactivity and social engagement are likely drivers for video game adoption with the majority (51 percent) of UK gamers saying they started playing online video games in the past year.
Additional findings from the report include:
- Performance drives demand for next-generation consoles. Three quarters (74 percent) of global gamers are interested in purchasing a new console, due to updated technology (32 percent) and faster game play (31 percent). Gamers in China are most likely to consider upgrading their console (92 percent).
- Gamers demand fast gaming experiences. Fast performance is extremely important to 35 percent of UK gamers, the lowest response among all countries surveyed. In addition, 87 percent of UK gamers say the process of downloading games is frustrating.
- Binge-gaming reached an all-time high. The average global gamer has played video games consecutively for five hours and six minutes, which is a eight percent increase from last year. Sessions in the UK were 4 percent higher than the global average, at five hours and 18 minutes per week. Young gamers ages 18 to 25 have binge-gamed for the longest at an average of nearly six hours.
- Video games have become a spectator sport. Over half (56 percent) of global gamers say they’ve started to watch others play video games in the past year. The proportion of UK gamers watching others play video games online on a weekly basis reached a tipping point in the past year, increasing from 49 percent to 53 percent.
- Playing video games is the top entertainment choice for many. Nearly half of UK gamers (44 percent) say they prefer to play video games versus watching a movie or TV show.
“Video gaming has evolved into a social platform. Gamers want interactive, high performance, disruption-free experiences that allow them to connect with others and play longer,” said Nigel Burmeister, Vice President at Limelight Networks. “This evolution is putting pressure on gaming companies to match this demand and requires technology investments like edge computing to deliver high-quality gaming environments to users across the globe.”
The “State of Online Gaming 2021” report is based on responses from 4,000 consumers in China, Germany, India, Indonesia, South Korea, the United Kingdom, the United States and Vietnam, ages 18 and older who play video games. This included 500 respondents in the UK.