Why do I like to play video games

A life without video games is unthinkable for every third user

  • Since Corona, gamers have been spending more money and playing more often - fitness games are booming
  • Most of them play on a daily basis, especially on their smartphones
  • Seniors love casual games, young people love first-person shooters

Berlin, August 20, 2020 - They play more, they play longer and, above all, they spend more money on it. The users of computer and video games have significantly intensified their gaming behavior since the outbreak of the corona pandemic and the associated restrictions. More than one in two (55 percent) of them say they have been playing more since then - an average of seven hours a week in addition to the previous amount. At the same time, many are willing to spend more money on computer and video games. While the average monthly expenditure before Corona was 15 euros, it is now 60 percent higher, with an average of 24 euros. These are the results of a representative study on behalf of the Bitkom digital association among 1,195 people aged 16 and over in Germany, which was carried out in the run-up to the Gamescom computer games fair.

In the case of younger people, the increase in expenditure is particularly large: from 22 euros per month to 34 euros. The 30 to 49 year olds currently spend 19 euros per month on gaming; before the outbreak of the corona pandemic it was 11 euros. For 50 to 64 year olds, the increase is 5 euros: from 12 euros before Corona to 17 euros since Corona. For the 65 plus generation, the monthly expenses have increased from 6 to 10 euros. Overall, every second user (49 percent) says that without video and computer games, "the ceiling would have fallen on their head" during the Corona crisis. Every third gamer (31 percent) helped play online games together to keep in touch with friends and acquaintances during the crisis.

Every second person plays video and computer games

With the smartphone on the way to work, with the laptop with friends or at the console at home - gaming is not a nerd or niche phenomenon, but has arrived in the middle of society: Almost every second (46 percent) plays video or video games at least occasionally Computer games. This number has increased again compared to previous years: in 2019 it was 43 percent, in 2018 it was 42 percent. Currently, three quarters (75 percent) of the under 30s play video and computer games - and two thirds (66 percent) of the 30 to 49 year olds. One in three of the 50 to 64 year olds plays (33 percent), 13 percent of the seniors over 65 years of age. At the same time, gaming is equally popular with men (49 percent) and women (44 percent). “Gaming has become firmly established in society. This development will continue in 2020 ”, says Bitkom board member Olaf May.

For many gamers, it's about more than just a hobby: 37 percent can no longer imagine a life without video and computer games. For men, at 40 percent, this assessment is somewhat more pronounced than for women (34 percent) - and for 16 to 29-year-old gamers (45 percent) it is significantly stronger than for over 65-year-old video game players (19 percent) . 61 percent also say that video and computer games help them switch off from everyday life. Almost every second gamer (45 percent) sees the games as a social cultural asset such as books, films or music.

The smartphone is ahead: gaming is becoming more mobile

Gaming is mobile and flexible: Almost all players (98 percent) already use at least one portable device to play. 81 percent use a smartphone to play games, 77 percent use a laptop and 62 percent use a tablet. More than one in two (56 percent) plays with a console that can also or exclusively be used on the move. Only behind that are purely stationary devices such as stationary game consoles (54 percent) or the desktop PC, which only 44 percent use for games - this value has fallen significantly in the past five years (2015: 69 percent). “Mobile gaming is not a random trend, but a consistent development. Larger displays and more powerful devices make the mobile gaming experience more and more attractive. Technologies such as 5G will further promote location-independent gaming with the ability to react in real time, ”says Olaf May. Virtual reality glasses are also increasingly establishing themselves among gamers, with one in four (26 percent) already using them.

Two thirds play more than two hours a day on their smartphones

Not only is the smartphone the most widespread, it is also used for gaming for the longest time. Two thirds (65 percent) play with it every day, one in five (21 percent) even for more than two hours a day. Among those under 30, 27 percent play more than 2 hours a day using their smartphones. At 62 percent, desktop PC gamers play almost as often every day - around one in six (16 percent) for more than two hours. The latter applies to every fifth (20 percent) of 16 to 29 year old desktop PC gamers. The number of those who play this intensely is lower for the other devices: 39 percent of those who play with a stationary console do so every day - and one in ten (11 percent) for more than two hours. More than one in four (27 percent) use virtual reality glasses every day, but only 7 percent for more than two hours.

More gamers are spending money on their hobby

The willingness to pay for gaming increased again last year. Almost 7 out of 10 users of computer or video games (69 percent) have spent money on them in the past twelve months - a year ago it was 64 percent and 54 percent in 2017. Subscription models account for a growing proportion of spending : A total of 55 percent have taken out at least one gaming subscription. The majority of them (31 percent) pay subscription fees for individual online games, such as World of Warcraft. One in five (19 percent) pays subscription fees for individual console providers, such as Play Station Plus, Xbox Live Gold or Nintendo Switch Online. 17 percent have a subscription with which they can download games via an online platform, including Apple Arcade, Prime Gaming or Xbox Game Pass. Subscriptions to platforms on which games can be streamed, such as Google Stadia or Playstation Now, are not yet so widespread: only 4 percent have taken out such a subscription.

Seniors love casual games, young people love first-person shooters

And finally, the corona pandemic has another effect on the gaming industry. Fitness and exercise games such as Zumba, Wii Fit or Ring Fit Adventure recorded the strongest increase among the different types of games: Every second (52 percent) is currently staying fit, compared with 39 percent last year, which was 13 percentage points less. Women (55 percent) use these so-called exergames somewhat more often than men (49 percent). Olaf May: “The usage behavior is reflected in the increasing sales of wearables. The strong growth in fitness and movement games is an indicator of how people are integrating gamification approaches and corresponding technology into more and more areas of life. "

Most of the time, however, casual games are played. 73 percent rely on these casual games for in between, especially on the smartphone: Candy Crush, Angry Birds or Solitaire are among the most famous. Although these games are used by all age groups, seniors are particularly keen: 93 percent of those over 65 play casual games at least occasionally, but also three quarters (75 percent) of those under 30. It is different with the action games or first-person shooters, which are in second place among the most played games: 67 percent play these games in total. In the case of 16 to 29 year-olds, however, it is 81 percent - and for those over 65 only 30 percent. There is also a clear gender difference here: three quarters (74 percent) of men play Call of Duty or Battlefield - and 59 percent of women. There is no greater difference in any game category. Augmented reality games such as Minecraft Earth or Harry Potter Wizards Unite, in which users add a virtual world to the real world via smartphone, are now played by one in five.

Methodological note: The information is based on a survey that Bitkom Research carried out on behalf of the Bitkom digital association in June 2020. 1,195 people aged 16 and over in Germany were interviewed by telephone, 554 of them were gamers. The survey is representative.