Three out of every four, or 244 million, people in the U.S. play video games, an increase of 32 million people since 2018, according to The NPD Group’s newly released 2020 Gamer Segmentation Report. Multidevice usage has also increased, the research finds, with 65% of gamers using more than one device vs. 59% in 2018.
Time spent gaming
Gamers average 14 hours per week playing video games, according to the report, up from the 12 hours per week in 2018 when NPD issued its last gamer segmentation report. Thirty-nine percent of U.S. gamers are Light Players who play less than five hours per week, a decline of 8% from 2018. Moderate Players, gamers who play between five and 15 hours per week, make up 32% of the gaming community in the U.S., a 2% increase over 2018. Heavy Players play more than 15 hours per week and make up 20% of U.S. gamers, a 6% increase over 2018.
Multple platform and device usage
As of May 2020, the majority of U.S. consumers play games on at least one platform. This reflects a total market growth of 7% relative to 2018, and net increases across all the platforms examined. Usage is notably up for multipurpose devices such as smartphone, tablets, and PCs, as these are likely to be the most readily accessible with many households already having the devices for other purposes.
Gaming during COVID-19
This increased engagement is a combination of natural market growth, as well as more concentrated engagement resulting from the COVID-19 quarantines. Six percent of active gamers report that they started using a new device to play games in response to COVID-19, and it was most likely to be a multipurpose device they already owned such as a smartphone, tablet, or PC.
Time spent gaming is up during the pandemic, with 35% of gamers reporting that their current play time during COVID-19 is higher than their play time from earlier in the year. In terms of platform preferences, 94% reported an increase in engagement on platforms they were already using to play games prior to COVID-19, while 6% indicated that they specifically began to use a new device around that timeframe.
“Video games are one of the primary ways friends and family are staying connected through a difficult time,” says Mat Piscatella, U.S. video games industry analyst, The NPD Group. “The growth in both the number of players across all gaming segments, as well as time spent gaming or watching gaming-related content, reflects the variety and depth of gaming experiences available regardless of device preferences, gaming interests or budget.”