The UK gaming landscape is undergoing a transformation in 2023. Britons are spending less time playing video games, with the exception of young adolescents, 13-15 year olds who spend more than eleven hours a week gaming. At the same time, we are seeing a rise in virtual reality, with growing interest in VR headsets.
The year marks a slight decline in overall time spent gaming, a trend that may reflect post-pandemic or more lenient conditions, Ofcom’s Online Nation study said. On average, UK players spent 7 hours and 11 minutes per week playing during the second quarter of 2023, compared to 8 hours and 16 minutes during the same period a year earlier.
16-24 year olds spend an average of 7h48 per week playing games, a drop compared to the previous year (8h57). In 2022, 25-34 year olds played 8h39 each week compared to 6h51 in 2023. Adolescents, 13-15 year olds, continue to spend the most time playing, i.e. 11h40 minutes per week.
Men are the biggest consumers since they play on average 8 hours and 32 minutes per week compared to 5 hours and 40 minutes per week for women.
While adolescents remain the most avid gamers, a general decline in time spent gaming is observed, particularly among young adults and adults. This development could signal a change in leisure and entertainment consumption habits in the UK.
A craze for VR
The rise of digital game consoles, adopted by 23% of households, demonstrates the transition towards an era of dematerialization, demonstrated the Ofcom Online Nation study. Even more impressive is the popularity of virtual reality, with 34% of gamers using VR headsets, with PlayStation VR leading the way, highlighting a thirst for immersive and interactive experiences.
Market dynamics are also reflected in gaming applications. “Candy Crush Saga” remains in the lead, followed closely by newcomer “Royal Match.” Among children, “Roblox” stands out, capturing the imagination of 8-12 year olds with its interactive and creative worlds.
However, what is most striking is the player demographics. A detailed analysis reveals that women dominate the gaming app space, with 9 of the 10 most popular apps attracting a majority female audience. For example, 71% of Candy Crush Soda Saga visitors in May 2023 were women, a surprising trend that challenges gender stereotypes in gaming.
When it comes to subscriptions to gaming services, men seem more likely to subscribe, at 12% compared to 8% for women. Young adults (16-34 years old) are also more likely to have at least one subscription, reflecting a propensity to embrace new forms of game consumption.