UK survey reveals massive gaming growth

Games now take up more time than reading magazines and newspapers for many; mobile, social platforms boom.

Gaming is now more popular than print media, according to the latest UK National Gamers Survey. In an average week in the UK, males now play games for just under five hours, compared to reading newspapers and magazines for under four. Seventy-three percent of the UK population now plays games, according to the pan-European survey that looked at the responses of more than 2,000 people in the UK.

The percentage of the UK population that plays games.

This can partially be attributed to the large rise in casual gaming. Games portals such as Shockwave.com and PopCap.com are now visited by 41 percent of men and 47 percent of women. The survey, based on 2,226 respondents in the UK, reflects the massive growth in casual gaming platforms. Former Playfirst CEO John Welch announced at GDC '08 that "we will have succeeded when 'casual games' goes away as a category and 'hardcore games' is the niche." A Forbes report from the same year reported that Europeans prefer "short, so-called casual games" to the likes of core titles such as Halo.

The percentage of time spent playing games by the UK population.

Social gaming on the Internet on sites such as Facebook and MySpace has now reached 11 percent, significantly growing in popularity, though lagging behind the US where the figure reportedly stands at 24 percent. It is also proving particularly popular with women, with social gaming being the only platform where females outnumber the males. In terms of raw numbers, more women play Brain Training games than any other genre, though they're outnumbered by men in that category.

Mobile gaming has also seen a sharp increase in use, doubling to 20 percent in the past year, thanks to the success of new platforms such as Apple's iPhone and Google's Android. Apple itself described the iPhone as a "superior" platform to both the Nintendo DS and Sony's PSP.

The percentage of the UK population that plays mobile games.

Those new platforms and portals have seen gaming gain a significant amount of traction with the older generation--42 percent of respondents over 50 spent more time gaming than reading magazines. The younger generation seems even more set on gaming, with boys aged 8 to 12 spending more time playing games than browsing the Internet.

The Wii, often regarded as the console for casual games, helped Nintendo reach record sales of $16.2 billion (£10 billion) in 2008. Though recent financials have been less than impressive, the company still posted a profit of $442 million, much better than rival Sony, who posted a loss of $390 million (£224 million), and Microsoft, who posted a loss of $130 million (£81 million).

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38 comments
senorbusyman
senorbusyman

you gotta thank Bungie and there Halo Franchise for bringing up the gaming industry back!!!

IrishBulldog93
IrishBulldog93

wow a loss of 390 million and 130 million they say it as tough its nothing !! with the current financial climate you would think company's would be more cautious on what games they develop !! fair play to Nintendo !! just show you don't need a hardcore fan base to make money !! now look . . Xbox and PlayStation want in on motion sensing and casual gaming !!!!

BoltonTech
BoltonTech

With the increase in casual game popularity, and with platforms such as the iPhone and Andriod gaining a strong foothold I think the traditional game types (of which Halo is one) need to consider a bit of a revamp. One recent game that appealed to hardcore gamers that saw a positive change was Left 4 Dead. A complete Left 4 Dead game can be played in less that 2 hours and that includes a climactic end sequence. It is also very social and is focussed around strong cooperative game play. The fact that the episodes are very cinematic and the feel is very much like that of a movie also makes it very attractive. I believe that the more hard-core games need to move toward a more rich theatrical, story and participation based system. Keep the action moving and give the player an opportunity to complete the story in 2 hours. Then to keep the player coming back, add additional episodes or use dynamic game engines that are able to change up the action in a game so that each time the game is played it is different.

kavadias1981
kavadias1981

Video games are fun and all but there is so much more out there that is richer and more rewarding.

fps_d0minat0r
fps_d0minat0r

@ F4tC0bra yh but most people keep the radio on when driving........thats a ton of hours right there. this survey might be unfair........like i play 5 hours a day in holidays but when im at university i dont play because i dont have a tv and im not bringing my ps3 so i can fail. so how would i work out my average hours? im sure people didnt sit there making calculations.

F4tC0bra
F4tC0bra

i find it surprising that more people listen to the radio than play games.. :P

cooljosh3
cooljosh3

video games are awesome. i play it every day.

themadclown
themadclown

i play every night before sleep!!! it is the best addiction ever create by the man!!! WHO IS WITH ME!!!??

scorpgul
scorpgul

I work full time and I play my ps3 everyday lol

xblane
xblane

kiddies, please remember that 5 hrs a week for someone who works full time and has a family etc is a fair chunk of time

Mr_Versipellis
Mr_Versipellis

Casual gaming worries me.... One day, hardcore games might not be profitable enough to make....

cyborg100000
cyborg100000

Cheap console, family friendly, ideal for a kids Xmas gift (PS3/Xbox usually too expensive), mass appeal to females & old people = mega profit.

grant4500neo
grant4500neo

only thing surprising is how Nintenso is still making that much of a profit

FF_fan2004
FF_fan2004

Until the developing world can finally become developed, gaming won't reach to "classic" level as okassar has pointed out. Gaming of that calibre would be considered a luxury.

Dante2710
Dante2710

haha, i dunno how 5 hours a week is impressive.

okassar
okassar

Am I supposed to be surprised by this article,cuz I'm really not. Gaming will keep growing EXPONENTIALLY until it's solidified in world culture,which it hasn't yet,it hasn't reached the "classic" level that music took thousands of years to achieve.

Pokemon18986
Pokemon18986

Cant believe only five hours!!!! I play that much in one day on the weekend.

FF_fan2004
FF_fan2004

I have an Xbox 360, and I'm ashamed to say this but I've played more often than I like to...

IrishBulldog93
IrishBulldog93

FACT :90% OF XBOX360 BOUGHT R PLAYED REGULARLY 90% OF PS3 BOUGHT R PLAYED REGULARLY 70% OF WII BOUGHT R PLAYED REGULARLY just shows you how bad the wii is haha and how many 5 year old got it for Christmas played it for Christmas and den sold it the next Christmas(or tried to sell it )

FF_fan2004
FF_fan2004

I've heard this phrase: "There are lies, damn lies and statistics."

BatThink
BatThink

not another statistical servey! 99.9% of gamers say stuff the statistical serveys!

FF_fan2004
FF_fan2004

Uh yeah StuDevo. I was actually being completely sarcastic with that comment by the way.

StuDevo
StuDevo

@FF_fan2004 The only figure lagging behind the US in the UK was the casual gaming on facebook and myspace. Which isnt really gaming. Maybe you need to read the article again

Ewangotkool
Ewangotkool

Well gaming is addicting especially in my case. lol

FF_fan2004
FF_fan2004

I wouldn't be surprised if women outnumber men in social gaming. Lambrini girls just want to have fun! No seriously, games like sports resort, buzz, singstar etc are brilliant for casual gaming before you go out to town clubbing and parties. After quite a few shots of vodka, it's a lot more fun to play these games as a social thing. I should know, a few of my friends and flatmates have all done it.

Darkman2007
Darkman2007

@FF_fan2004 ive seen numerous cases of people buying the Wii because its the new "cool" gadget for them, heck, even my dad who doesnt care about games was asking about it. but I doubt most of these people will buy a Wii 2 (or whatever it might be called), traditional gamers would buy a next gen system because its part of the gamer mentality. non gamers would say "ive already got a nintendo" and move onto the next "cool" thing.

FF_fan2004
FF_fan2004

After reading it again, I'm not surprised that UK is lagging behind US. a) US is bigger than UK b) US has more population distribution than UK c) You can't really just survey that many people in the UK and say that "here it is, there are more gamers in UK". I won't bash the US gamers as I'm going to go PC on this.

FF_fan2004
FF_fan2004

@Darkman2007 I quite agree with you. A few customers told me that they had the Wii just for the Wii sports and Wii fitness. And they're not into games at all.

Darkman2007
Darkman2007

who says its just in the UK, if this survey was taken in any developed country, it would show similar results, its due to the Wii being bought by masses of previous non gamers. regardless of the type of games, they are still games, and the people playing them, might consider themselves gamers (wether you agree of not is irrelevent to them). hence the huge rise in the number of "gamers" all over the world

Beastcake
Beastcake

The PSP owns the IPhone; game-wise.

simonsworld
simonsworld

i thought that to weak graphs, and yea aint gaming bigger than movie industry in terms of sales projected etc,that and kids getting lazier by the decade, thats a fact to, where like obese fat americans, soon enough hence goverment issued a under 18's obesity plan end of 2008.

Oxymandias
Oxymandias

Go Apple.. Wonder if their next AppleTV might be a games console as well? Oink