Date: 03.10.2011

Posted by: Kirsty

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82% of the eight to 65 year old online population are defined as game players

Gaming is more ‘engaging’ than other media 


Nearly 33 million people in the UK are playing video games, according to new research conducted by the Internet Advertising Bureau UK’s (IAB) Game Steering Group (GSG).


New multi-purpose devices such as tablets, smartphones and internet-enabled consoles, bolstered by the rise of social networking games, are driving a huge shift in consumer behaviour. The research demonstrates that although current games media spend is disproportionately low[1] for the opportunity and levels of engagement, there is considerable scope for brands to build a stronger presence across all games media.


The report, called ‘Gaming Britain: A Country United by Digital Play’, was carried out in association with research agency Kantar Media, which conducted a nationally representative sample of 4,000 respondents – 3,000 adults (16 to 65 year olds) and 1,000 children between eight and 15 years old.


The study demolishes the outdated image of the male teenager – transfixed alone for hours – as the typical player. Instead, it identifies seven distinct ‘types’ of player encompassing all ages from sixth formers through to pensioners. These include: Networkers; Individualists; Interactors; Gaming Elite; Casual Players; PC Opportunists and New Gen Players[2]. These profiles are defined by preferred devices, types of games played, levels and length of engagement, and social interaction during game play.


The report shows that gaming’s appeal transcends age, gender and social groups. For example, 70% of 16 to 65 years olds frequently (within the previous month) use a gaming device. Those in the 25 to 45 year old age bracket are identified as having the most number of players (44%) compared with 45 to 65 year olds (33%) and 16 to 24 year olds (23%). Gender split is also surprisingly balanced with 51% of men and 49% of women identifying themselves as game players.


One of the most salient points highlighted by the study is the fact gaming is a high engagement, low distraction activity. In fact, it is at least twice as engaging as other media.


Gaming has also become increasingly social with communication and interaction in and around gaming events cited as a major factor. Console gaming, helped by the popularity of devices like the Xbox Kinect and PlayStation Move, is identified as a family entertainment activity, involving people of all ages. Healthy competition is deemed a big driver to interaction, as more and more players have the opportunity to compete against each other both in person and online.


Newer devices such as iPads also help attract new players, but that doesn’t discount more ‘traditional’ gaming outlets. Tablet and mobile games, such as Angry Birds, are more widespread among younger audiences, but PC games, like Solitaire, are popular with older generations.

Amongst the sample of players polled, in terms of types of game, puzzles and quizzes are the most popular, followed by social networking games. Sports, touch screen, fitness, first person shooter, racing, music and adventure games also feature in the top 10.


The report also illustrates that gaming devices such as the PS3 and Xbox 360, are becoming a media hub for many different activities. 41% of console owners browse the internet on their devices, 39% watch TV on them and 35% use consoles for social networking.


Jack Wallington, the IAB’s head of industry programmes, said: “The Gaming Britain report proves that playing video games is a mainstream activity enjoyed by over half of the UK population. Demonstrating incredibly high levels of engagement compared to other media. It’s a premium opportunity for brands to reach consumers when they are at their most focussed.


Gaming’s widespread popularity, the proliferation of new platforms, and more precise segmentation, will ultimately help brands sift through the many opportunities presented by games media. The multitude of companies now working in this space, such as those on the Games Steering Group, will be able to guide brands to make the most of this opportunity in a way that is sensitive to the consumer’s experience.”


The IAB’s Games Steering Group is a committee made up the leading UK industry players, including  Electronic Arts (EA), Gamehouse (formerly RealGames), GameSpot UK, IGA  Worldwide, IGN Entertainment, In Play Media, Microsoft, Sony Computer Entertainment Europe (SCEE) and We R Interactive.


***Subheading***Stats in Short:


·         32.9 million people across the UK play games

·         82% of the eight to 65 year old online population are defined as game players: 51% male to 49% female

·         25 to 45 year olds are identified as having the most number of players (44%) compared with 45 to 65 year olds (33%) and 16 to 24 year olds (23%) with the least amount.

·         70% of 16 to 65 years old game players regularly use a gaming device, 72% play socially – on and offline

·         49% of all respondents play puzzles and quiz games – the most popular type of game

·         30% of respondents favour social networking games – the second most popular type of game

·         84% of eight to 15 year old game players play frequently, 96% play socially

·         63% of game players disagreed with the statement “Gaming is only for young people”

·         81% of games console players have played with friends or family in person

·         54% of social networking players have played with friends or family online or over a network

·         41% of internet browser game players have played with unknown people online or across a network

·         41% of console owners browse the internet on their devices compared with 20% of handheld console users

·         39% of console owners watch TV on their devices compared with 13% of handheld console users

·         35% of console owners use their devices for social networking compared with 18% of handheld console users

·         31% of game players said it was impossible to do anything else while gaming– compared with 14% for browsing the internet, 10% watching TV and 2% listening to the radio (filtered to players who use these media).


About the IAB’s Game Steering Group

The Games Steering Group (GSG) consists of the industry’s biggest players Electronic Arts (EA), Gamehouse (formerly RealGames), GameSpot UK, IGA Worldwide, IGN Entertainment, In Play Media, Microsoft, Sony Computer Entertainment Europe (SCEE) and We R Interactive. Leading experts from these companies have joined forces to form the UK’s only committee dedicated to helping advertisers engage with consumers through advertising in and around games media.

The GSG has a full programme of activities to give the games industry a united voice to grow the medium and establish formal best practice. You can access all of the GSG’s material by visiting The group’s collective remit supports the breadth of formats represented within the industry, including advertising within console games; online social / casual games (such as those in social networks and advergames), mobile and on games publications (for example advertising to games audiences on relevant websites). 

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