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New Study Reveals The Main Reasons People Want To Play Games

Why do you play games?


GameSpot parent company Fandom has released its fourth annual Inside Gaming report, and one of the key takeaways is that personal expression within games is increasingly important to players. The Inside Gaming report is based on data from Fandom's 350 million monthly unique visitors, 45 million pages of content, and 250,000 wikis.

The report found that the main reason people play games is to unwind and relieve stress (54%), but a close second was "creation, imagination, and self-expression" (46%). This is up 10% from 2023, demonstrating a growing trend. Within games, the top five in-game customization players seek out to express themselves include character personalization (76%), Gamertags and usernames (48%), communication (35%), signatures and emblems (31%), and emotions and gestures (30%).

Why do you play games?
Why do you play games?

The report also found that there is a significant gap between how people express themselves in real life versus online. 80% of respondents said their "gamer personality" is different than their real-life personality. And then 64% said it's easier to be themselves online rather than in person.

The Inside Gaming report went on to say that 60% of people believe self-expression in gaming is more important than ever before, with the study specifically calling out titles like Fortnite, Minecraft, and Roblox for offering extensive options to personalize their characters. Anyone who has played those games knows very well the depth and scope of what kinds of items, skins, and other in-game wares players can acquire to deck their character out as they see fit.

Additionally, the report touched on how 64% of respondents said gaming communities represent "vital safe spaces" where they feel free to express themselves, unlike how they might be able to in real life.

"From character customization to cosplay and content creation, video games have empowered gamers to explore, express and enhance their identity--nearly two thirds of gamers claim it’s easier to be themselves with a controller in their hands," Fandom CMO Stephanie Fried said. "With the growing significance of gaming as a means for self-expression and personal evolution, it's crucial for brands to connect to these motivators to help players bring their gaming personas to life in the real world."

For more, check out the full study.

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